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Jefferson Bethke talks through some dumb lyrics in today's pop culture. Just remember: garbage in, garbage out.

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Maybe it was just one line that kept repeating over and over. There are so many styles of music for us to enjoy, written by many talented musicians. Music can be uplifting when we’ve had a hard day, it can fuel us through a workout, and it can be the backdrop to some of our favorite memories.  But it can also be a problem if we listen to the wrong kinds of music.

What Is the Message?

It’s easy to get hooked by the beat or melody of a popular song without stopping to think about what the lyrics are actually saying. Lyrics can have a wonderful message that can encourage us to be better. Sometimes they are just random nonsense that doesn’t mean anything.  Sometimes their meanings are negative.

Have you ever heard the saying “You are what you eat?” It means that if you put fruits and vegetables into your body, you’re going to be healthy and strong. If you live on a diet of potato chips and soda, your body isn’t going to perform the way God intended it to. One saying is, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

[Related: You Are What You Eat]

It is the same with music. What we listen to can become a part of who we are. If we listen to music with a positive message, not only will we feel good, we’ll have the right ideas about our world and the people in it. Sadly, too many songs have messages that are inappropriate and contrary to the teachings of God. Too often songs can objectify women, or promote selfishness or violence. When we listen to those types of songs, we run the risk of starting to believe those messages, or becoming numb to how truly bad they are.

Fix Your Thoughts

The Apostle Paul gives us some excellent advice in the book of Philippians about the types of things we should think about.

Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

How can we fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, and right?  By feeding our minds with things that are God-honoring.

[Related: Worship Music (Playlist)]

The next time you catch yourself singing along to lyrics that don’t truly represent your values, stop and replace them with the lyrics to one of your favorite positive or worship songs.

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Who is your favorite musician or group? Who was your favorite last year?
  3. Do you have a favorite worship song?  Why is that song important to you?
  4. If you had to have one lyric stuck in your head over and over what would it be? Why?
  5. Do you usually listen to the words in a song, or do you just listen to the beat? Does it matter? Explain.
  6. Read Matthew 15:17-19. Some people have said, “You are what you eat,” or “Garbage in, garbage out.” Do you agree with this? How does this apply to Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 15? How does it apply to the music we listen to?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
Written content for this topic by Jamie Casperson.