Our family has been waiting for this day. This is the day that Lecrae’s new album becomes available for purchase. I love his music because the lyrics are clean compared to secular hip hop. I love the music because I grew up listening to hip hop and became immersed in hip hop culture in my late teens and early 20’s. After God saved me in my early 30’s, I still listened to hip hop daily. Within a few short months of my conversion, God began to reveal to me that my choice in music was not edifying or encouraging to my growth as a Christian woman whose new desires were to be like Christ. As a matter of fact, hip hop and my workouts at the gym were so intimately connected I convinced myself that I could not “get into the groove” of working out if I did not have my headphones blasting hip hop music in my ears. When I went on long runs I would need hip hop to keep me going as well.
When God began convicting me of my choice of music, my work out’s were in jeopardy and for someone you used to previously worship the gym and working out, it was scary to think that I would have to stop working out because I was faced with the dilemma “what will I listen to?”
Let me just clarify that no one told me I had to change my music choices, but within a few short months after God had literally rocked my world and adopted me into His family, I began REALLY hearing the lyrics despite how great the beats were and just could not justify why I needed to continue to listen to music that glorified drugs, promiscuity, death, sin, violence etc.
It was as though the Holy Spirit magnified the lyrics and faded the music for me so I would PAY ATTENTION to the words, where I previously only paid attention to the music of certain songs because they had great workout beats.
In my new desire to read the Bible, I would come across scripture that says something like this-
whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philipians 4:8)
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
I was faced with a choice.
I realized that my choice in music was not honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and undoubtedly not worthy of praise. If my new desire as a new Christ follower was to set my mind on things above, namely Christ, how was I to reconcile my choice of music with Christ.
I was faced with a choice.
There were countless verses in God’s Word that pointed out that sexual immorality was wrong and should be avoided and needed to be put to death in the life of a believer.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Colossians 3 tells us
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry
It goes on to say
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The hip hop music I was listening to told me the complete opposite of these words in Colossians. I came to the realization that I was listening to music that was promoting sexual immorality, revenge, promoting malice towards one another, encouraging idolatry of material possessions etc. I realized I was filling my head with messages that were opposite of God’s Word. COMPLETE OPPOSITE!
I had a choice to make.
Here is the thing though….and it needs to be stressed. God, through the working of His Holy Spirit in my life, convicted me with an awareness that my choice in music was not edifying to my new walk as a believer.
I did not start going to church, then a pastor told me my music choices were wrong and I had to change them.
I did not hear a sermon telling me secular music was from the devil and we should abstain from it at all costs. (sadly, though, there are pastors and Christians telling new believers this very thing)
I did not choose to stop listening to non-edifying music because I wanted God’s approval or believed that God would approve of me more if I did.
God saved me FIRST…….when I was in the throes of listening daily to secular hip hop.
THEN…THEN….THEN…He changed my desires and gave me new eyes, new ears and most importantly a new heart…..for Him. The funny thing about new desires, is that our old desires begin to repel us. For me, I found myself physically feeling ill of stomach when I listened to my former loved hip hop music. It literally made me sick to listen to the words and I would shake my head in disbelief that I used to love it.
I did not know it then, but I know it now- I can look back and see the Spirit of God working on me, changing me, molding me.
I could have continued to listen to my once loved music and used the “its not hurting anyone” excuse to justify it. Which would have been true by the way. Listening to secular hip hop, or any other genre of music does not hurt anyone.
I could have continued to listen to my preferred choice in music and could have just said to myself that my music choices don’t affect my standing with God, which is true by the way, it doesn’t. God saved me while I still loved my very secular hip hop music, craved it for my daily work outs and still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Or worse…I could have shared my struggles with some Christians and they would have peer-pressured me into thinking that I should not purposely try to be a “non-relevant boring square Christian who now looks like a uncultured stick in the mud”. Their perception. Not mine.
Unfortunately many Christians believe the lie that we need to be “cool”, “hip” and “trendy” in order for people to want to be Christians. They would have encouraged me to believe that I needed to look like the culture around me in order to share my testimony effectively and get people to consider trusting in Christ.
Funny thing about that theory is that God saved me from a self glorifying life that looked to the trends of the world in order to validate to myself that I “fit in”. Why on earth would I embrace the things that God saved me from to reach people still enslaved to the former things I used to be enslaved to?
I used to live a life depicted in secular hip hop music. Granted I never killed anyone but I used to take life’s cues and relationship advice from secular hip hop music.
On Lecrae’s previous album Rehab, he wrote a song that was the antithesis of secular hip hop. It happens to be one of my favorites. Title – God is Enough
You know you sick of lookin’, you sick of chasin’
I think you know the truth, you just don’t wanna face it
Your life is empty, though you havin’ fun
You never satisfied, you never get enough
You go from thrill-seekin’ to pill-poppin’
From heavy drinkin’ to club-hoppin’
You just can’t stop it, like you’re a slave
And you chasin’ nothin’ all the way into the grave
All the stuff that’s on TV
Education, cars, and clothes
Fashion lights and jewelry
(Focused on the wrong stuff)
Now I got my eyes on you
And now I know that
God is enough!
As Christ followers, we need to trust that God will help us be the person He saved us to be.
Not part His…part world, so that we can appear “relevant”.
For me, that means I can still enjoy hip hop and jam out with my kids as we homeschool, raise chickens using non-gmo feed, sew my own clothes instead of buying name brand labels, read my Bible daily, study theology, lead and protect my kids from being enslaved to the junk of the world – if that makes me an anomaly, so be it.
So…all that to say…Lecrae has a new album coming out today and I want to give away an Itunes copy of his new album. I am thankful that God has used Lecrae to redeem a genre of music that did nothing to honor and glorify the things that are honorable- like faithfulness to one spouse, marriage, family, reaching others for Christ, good theology and most importantly God the Father and His Son Christ Jesus.
A recent article said this about Lecrae’s lyrics –
In his new song, Nothin, from his new album, Anomaly, he describes secular hip hop perfectly. Check out the words to the song. If anyone has listened to secular hip hop for any length of time, it really is the same negative stuff over and over again.
I am thankful now that I get listen to great beats and jam out in the car with my kids (on the way to church even) and not have to worry about lyrics that glorify sin. I don’t know about other kids, but my kids can hear lyrics one time and automatically the lyrics become engraved in their memory. FOREVER!
I am thankful that my favorite genre of music is available for my kids to listen to and occasionally allow them to bust out a few moves without the questionable lyrics that used to come along with it. My 13 year old daughter loves hip hop so much that she just started taking hip hop dance classes at a studio that only uses clean Christian hip hop. My 8 year old son thinks he is the king of “moves”.
YAY for Christian hip-hop!
To enter to win, just share this blog post with anyone who might be interested in winning the album too, then let me know you shared it.
thats it. easy peasy!!!
I will pick a winner soon so the more you share, the more chances you get to win.