Christian living

Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?

Maybe you clicked on this article out of curiosity. On the other hand, maybe you’re reading this expecting to disagree with me. Whatever you came here for, thanks for joining me.

I love music. Music makes working easier and relaxing more enjoyable. I love to put on my headphones and turn up a favorite playlist.

Because it is so important and common, music can be a controversial subject. Some people are passionate about their favorite genres, artists, and songs, and they don’t want legalistic rules to worry them. I can relate to them. There is also a group that solely listens to Christian music. I can relate to these people too.

Btw: I use the word “secular” in this article to describe any music that is not Christian music.

I can relate to both groups because I’ve been in both. When I was young, I only listened to Christian music, thinking that listening to secular music was sinful. Then I actually heard some secular music and found that it wasn’t all bad. I continued exploring music and eventually heard some songs that I loved (but some that also fueled sin in my mind). I knew some of it was unhealthy, but I didn’t want to stop listening to my favorite songs. Finally, I found a balance a couple weeks ago: listening to secular and Christian music after evaluating how different songs were affecting me and sifting through them based on several questions.

I believe music is a gift from God, and I see the power of music when it changes my emotions and actions. I also believe we must follow God in every area of our lives, including our music choices.

I have no list of do’s and don’ts. I’m not going to tell you what to listen to, what swear words to avoid, or what genres to skip. What you listen to is a personal decision, and I want to help you to evaluate your own music . I want to give you a way to sift through songs and honor God while not getting stuck on a set of rules.

Step back and re-think the music coming through your earbuds. Think of your favorite playlists and ask yourself the 5 questions below. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to use all 5. I hope they help you pick an amazing playlist!

1. How does this make me feel?

Music has power to make you feel a certain way. Does your music make you mad? Does your music make you depressed? Sometimes when I‘m upset or sad, I choose music that matches my emotions. Think about whether you really want these emotions before you encourage them. Along with that, does your music make you feel too “dirty” to pray? If so, you should seriously rethink your music.

2. How does this make me think?

Is your music fueling dirty thoughts? Some songs fuel lust, hate, or jealousy, but God calls Christians to think of things that are true, good, and beautiful.

3. Is this fueling sin?

This may seem extreme to some of you, but I believe music has power to change the way we feel, think, and act. Ask yourself: does your music make it harder to obey God?

4. Does it disrespect God?

I’m not saying every song needs perfect theology, but we should avoid songs that directly disrespect God. I’ve seen the most disrespect in music when the song treats God as a boyfriend or misrepresents God’s character (“God is a Woman” etc.). Is your music misrepresenting God?

5. Is this desensitizing me to sin?

This question especially applies to the sensuality we hear so often in secular music. If sexual lyrics are constantly in our earbuds, it is MUCH harder to think pure thoughts. I also use this question to evaluate language. Is there so much swearing in the song that your head is filled with it and you’re desensitized to it?

When we put on our headphones, we don’t just let in a good beat. The music we listen to affects the way we feel, think, and act. Music is powerful, and we need to follow God even when we decide what songs to listen to.

If you realize that you need to remove some songs, do some more exploring and look for new songs to replace them. Don’t just get rid of unhealthy songs. Look for upbeat, fun songs that you LOVE to take their place.

Enjoy your music while keeping your eyes open (or ears open) to what you’re listening to.

Let’s Talk!

What do you think about Christians and secular music? Do you agree or disagree with me? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Note to my readers:

You might have noticed I’ve been posting twice a week for a few months. After looking at my summer plans, I decided to scale back a bit by posting once a week so I can have time for podcasting, theReb, and other summer activities. Thanks so much for sticking with me on my blogging journey!

Looking for some music suggestions? Check out my summer playlist and playlist of songs to dance to.

46 thoughts on “Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?”

  1. Rachel,

    This is a great post. I think many Christians tend to think that any song that isn’t about God is somehow out of bounds, when really, that’s not the case. A lot of secular music is fine. Is listening to “Somewhere over the rainbow” a sin? What about “twist and shout?” I know these are older songs, but your point still stands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s definitely an interesting thought. And I agree with your conclusion that music has power. However, I have not seen anything in the Bible about Satan directing music. 🤔 I like to be really careful to not assume the Bible says things (as I’m sure you are). Could you point me to the place the Bible says that?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m listening to secular music as I write this, so you can guess my view. After all, Solomon himself wrote over a thousand songs, most of which didn’t make it into the Bible (probably because most of them were probably secular)… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I personally don’t listen to secular music (okay, when I’m shopping, I do since I can avoid the store’s music). This was interesting to read.

    Kiara told me a few months ago you linked her blog in one of your posts. I never found that post. Could you direct me to that post? Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Great post! I definitely love all types of music. Unfortunately terrible lyrics stick in the mind so I agree that you need to be careful. Love the checklist. Very helpful! Another thing to consider is how the spirit leads you. Normally, He lets you know real fast whether or not it’s okay. We just tend to not have on our listening ears all the time, and then we become a bit deaf to his leading when we just want what we want. The carnal nature we all have inside is very strong. Thank God for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First: I thank God for giving me the the privilege of landing on this blog today. Then I want to say a big thank you to everyone who took time to not only read but share so much insight for us all. Last but absolutely not the least, Rachel, my dear one, you did such a soul happy post that I know will be a fond memory each time we listen to music. Brilliant job and i can’t wait for more of you. Be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That means a lot. ❤ I just checked out your blog- great job! I think we have a lot in common. Hmm… my favorite Christian song is probably currently “Jump” by Switch, but it changes pretty often!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Do you think it’s okay for Christians to listen to songs that are by a Christian artist, but the song isn’t about Jesus? Also, thank you for posting this!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re welcome! I personally think that it is fine to listen to music not specifically about Jesus, as long as it doesn’t disrespect God etc.. You should pray/talk to your parents if you’re unsure. ❤️ Have a wonderful day, Moriah!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. This is a really good question, Moriah! I generally don’t, because I feel if a song doesn’t glorify God, it’s pointless to listen to. I believe music either comes from the light (God’s Kingdom) or it comes from the dark. So yeah, I used to excuse basically secular songs because they’re by Christian artists but later decided that wasn’t the best route for me. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I completely agree with you on this. I think sometimes we allow ourselves some liberties when it comes to secular media, because if we’re discerning it’ll be okay. But the more you listen to the not-terrible songs, the easier it is to be pulled into worse music, and like you said, it de-sensitizes you! This post also inspired me to talk with my mom about this, because I was wondering about certain pop songs that don’t really have a meaning or message, just kind of nonsense, but with a catchy rhythm or beat. She explained that those songs get stuck in our heads, and, whether they’re bad or not, do you really want nonsense lyrics floating around in your mind when you can fill it with truth-filled music instead?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. What a great way to evaluate your music choices! Personally, I listen to a lot of secular and Christian music. I even know of some Christian artists who make secular music (which helps them be a witness to non-Christians listening). One thing that really helps to filter out songs with dirty language is by turning on a mode (its on Spotify) that will not play explicit songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, Rachel! I like the perspective you took with this post. I agree with you; when it comes to secular music, it depends on what the lyrics are saying. Generally, when it comes to secular music, I don’t listen to many with lyrics, but mostly instrumentals. Sometimes, my sister and I like to listen to the soundtrack from movies, but because of the movies we watch, the songs are upbeat, happy, and still pure. Though this tends to be a controversial topic, there is a fine line that all Christians know what too far is.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is so good, Rachel! I have a conviction about listening to secular music so I personally don’t, but I love the way you evaluate each song to decide if it’s wholesome to listen to or not. Amazing post!

    Liked by 3 people

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