7 Ways Music Promotes Spiritual Health
As I sit down to write this article, I feel nearly overwhelmed by two challenges: first, I’m struck by the sheer breadth of musical expression.
As of this writing, experts recognize at least 283 known music genres. Between 75,000 and 100,000 new songs are recorded and released every year in the US alone. Added to that, when we consider the rich history of music that we continue to draw from, dating back centuries, the vast number and variety of songs boggle the mind.
Second, when we speak of spiritual health, all kinds of things—some weird, some noble—flood our minds. So, for purposes of this article, I will use a biblical understanding of spiritual health.
Spiritual health refers to an ever-deepening relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. This burgeoning relationship results in a life that increasingly reflects Christ’s character expressed towards others.
That fact that music promotes our spiritual health is indisputable. Consider the fact that the largest “book” in the Bible is the Psalms. The Psalms consist of 150 songs and poems composed specifically for worship and development of our relationship with God.
Psalm 33 begins, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
When King David commissioned the building of the temple in Jerusalem, he assigned 4,000 musicians to lead worshipers in song.
And the Apostle Paul urges us, “Be filled with [God’s] Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Clearly, music nurtures our spiritual health.
In What Ways does Music Promote our Spiritual Health?
1. Music engages us at the deepest level of our beings, both reaching into and exuding from our very soul.
If music is played, immediately the heart of the music enters the heart…or your heart enters into the music. There are many who have experienced this:
- “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach.
- King David wrote in Psalm 108, “My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.”
- Hans Christian Andersen expressed it this way, “Where words fail, music speaks.”
2. Music puts our hearts in tune with God.
Psalm 101 expresses this, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise I will be careful to lead a blameless life.” Music aids us in expressing our deepest desires and fellowship with God.
3. Music synchronizes us with other worshipers of God.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
4. Music, as part of our worship, glorifies and pleases the Lord.
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” The Lord delights in hearing our songs of praise and worship to him.
5. The lyrics in our worship music enable us to rehearse God’s goodness and love.
At the inauguration of the temple in Jerusalem, “the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’” Many of the Psalms and modern worship songs express what God has done in our lives.
5. The lyrics in our songs of worship serve to deeply ingrain and remind us of truth.
Consider the powerful words of this modern hymn, In Christ Alone, and the truths they proclaim:
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
7. Music provides the worshiper of God a vehicle for poetic and heartfelt expression we would not otherwise possess.
Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
In all those ways and more, music assists us in promoting our spiritual health as we worship God and seek to please him.
Of course, not all music facilitates spiritual health. But a song need not be a hymn to move us in God’s direction. Just as there are so many genres of music, music fulfills numerous purposes. Some of the other objectives of music include: rallying troops for battle, love songs, ballads, songs that are simply fun to sing, marketing jingles, national anthems, etc.
In addition to the seven ways that music promotes our spiritual health, select music that speaks to you and that you enjoy. Don’t get sidetracked by music someone else loves. It’s okay if classic hymns “don’t do it for you.”
Hillsong, a large church in Sydney, Australia has a gift for writing meaningful worship songs and has produced more than 40 albums since 1992. Many of their songs are sung in a wide variety of churches the world over. Two of their most popular songs are Power of Your Love and Shout to the Lord.Also, I would be remiss not to mention Wholetones. We might call Wholetones a whole new genre of music. After 18 years of research, Michael Tyrrell has created the Wholetones: The Healing Frequency Project. This collection of newly-created musical arrangements is specifically designed to aid in healing and restoration of body, mind and spirit.
Wholetones consists of “Seven unique songs recorded in seven unique frequencies on seven CDs resulting in 2.5 hours of beautiful, transformational music.” These musical pieces are purely instrumental without voice accompaniment. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!
Bottom line, let music take you to new heights in promoting your spiritual health!
 Music Genre List, “The Most Comprehensive List of Genres of Music Available on the Internet,” 2014, http://www.musicgenreslist.com/.
 Glenn Peoples, “Business Matters: 75,000 Albums Released in U.S. in 2010 – Down 22% from 2009,” Billboard Biz, February 18, 2011, http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1179201/business-matters-75000-albums-released-in-us-in-2010-down-22-from-2009.
 Psalm 33:1-3, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 1 Chronicles 23:5, NIV.
 Ephesians 5:18-20, NIV.
 Psalm 108:1, NIV.
 Psalm 101:1-2, NIV.
 Colossians 3:15-16, NIV.
 Psalm 92:1-2, NIV.
 2 Chronicles 5:13, NIV.
 Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, “In Christ Alone,” Kingsway Thankyou Music, 2001.