“Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill you and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:17-20 New Living Translation
I would imagine concerts have been performed since music began! For nearly every type of music there is a concert to attend. If you have never been to a live concert, you don’t know what you’re missing! Whether it’s the Sing-along Messiah in a Cathedral, a Contemporary Christian Concert, a Country Music Concert, a Rock Concert, or a Comedy Concert, even a pre-school or kindergarten concert, there is something about the live experience it isn’t possible to receive any other way!
The first Contemporary Christian concert our church youth group attended was in Lompoc. The headliner was PFR and the opening act was (drum roll please…) Jars of Clay! I would bet, unless you have been a fan of Contemporary Christian music from the beginning, you likely don’t know PFR, but a majority of people have heard of Jars of Clay. Isn’t it interesting how music changes the lives of those who become involved in it? An opening act becomes the main attraction and the former highlighted performance fades away.
In his book “The Great Divorce,” C.S. Lewis takes us on an allegorical tale from Purgatory to Heaven. One of the characters, an artist, is concerned about his reputation on Earth. When he is informed he has already been forgotten, it is something more than he can tolerate! In his fit of anger he trades Heaven for a return to Purgatory with plans to rectify the heinous oversight on the part of the art world! In reading the exchange, the thought that anyone would be willing to let go of Heaven for anything else, let alone Purgatory, sounds quite silly. Yet, that’s exactly what Jesus did for humanity. Granted, the attitude and situation weren’t necessarily what I was referring to, but that does not make it any less true! Most of us would agree exchanging our place in Heaven for any other is ridiculous.
The question we each must face is this, what would we allow to interfere with our place in Heaven, with our Creator, with the life we were created to experience? What is it that means so much you’re willing to sacrifice all God’s Grace offers in this life and the next? The wisdom offered here by Paul is to seek to understand what it is God wants you to do. How do you accomplish the discovery of what God has purposed for you as one of His disciples? One of the gifts we receive from the grace of God is wisdom. Another gift is to leave that wisdom in Him, seeking to have Him exercise it in my life. While thinking of King Solomon and his wisdom, I have come to believe any wisdom accessed without direct reliance on God is foolishness, as witnessed by the choices made by Solomon, the wisest man on Earth!
One of the issues that plague many in varying forms is depression, brought on by agonizing triggers in our lives and histories. For some persons this causes pain most others cannot understand, and often leads to conflict because of this lack of understanding. When the pain becomes too great some individuals will cut themselves. They hope by inflicting outer pain the inner pain will somehow go away! Many hope to find relief from their pain through alcohol, or other methods of self medicating with something they believe will deaden their distress.
Interestingly enough, when it comes to life on this world the only answer is God. And in that answer comes the promise of the Holy Spirit who fills us, and with our permission will bring much needed comfort and control. An added benefit is the euphoria, joy that comes with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Now, before anyone wants to jump to conclusions, I don’t believe the anointing of the Holy Spirit always brings a “Spiritual High”! However, it can’t be denied that there is an emotional impact described as better than the effects of wine! ”Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill you and control you.” I believe these words are a definition of self-control, a fruit of the Spirit.
When our lives begin the process of Holy Spirit control, the Grace process begins compelling us to sing, rejoice, to find the inner music that comes from God. We have the gift of music to exercise in our hearts, lifting our souls, combating depression, and bringing a much needed attitude adjustment. I’m looking forward the ultimate live experience, the Concert of the Age!
One of my favorite songs from Contemporary Christian music artists Phillips, Craig and Dean is The Concert of the Age. It is linked here for your enjoyment.