I used to worship the devil.
Not on purpose.
I read my Bible most nights and prayed to God. I attended church sometimes and even assisted in churches at times. I gave God credit for saving me from sin, for making me, and for giving me the gifts and talents I had. I thought for sure I hated evil, including and especially Satan and all of his hosts. I loved stories in the Bible where Jesus would rescue people from legions of evil forces and cast them into the wilderness. I did my best to keep the Commandments and do good deeds. I at least tried to be like Jesus and would wear my W.W.J.D. bracelets and cross necklaces and was very proud of the cross on my wall.
And yet, I had no idea who God was.
The problem began when I read in 1 Corinthians about the spiritual gifts God would give His children. I was obsessed with this passage. After all, I’d grown up watching shows and movies about superheroes, witches, and other “gifted” people. I’d taken to shows about psychics and the paranormal – ghosts, hauntings, and the like. Somewhere in this, I thought I had received some special gifts from God that I was meant to use to help people. In the next several posts, I’m going to begin unveiling some of these “gifts,” where they came from, and what they did to me, but most importantly how God has redeemed me from the darkness I was in. But for now, I am going to focus on the thing that I believe triggered the darkness and drew it closest to me.
If you know anything about me, you know I have always loved to write music and sing. I began singing before I can even remember it, but mostly kept it to myself until I was in middle school. I would practically run off the bus so I could come home and sing while I was alone. I prayed endlessly that God would give me a great voice so that I could use it to sing about Him. Then I would attempt to sing a couple songs off K-Love and proceed to singing random Broadway music. As I got older and practiced, my voice matured and I started to feel more confident in it. I felt like God had heard my prayers and now I was good enough to start doing something with this music.
However, it was also around then that I began to dive into the deep with very dark music that in no way reflected a faith message. I began thinking that to sing about God or to even write music or sing music that was uplifting or happy was cheesy. So, I stopped singing about God. I started practicing songs that had messages of vengeance, death, suicide, anger, and aggression. I thought the darker it is, the most powerful the message. I actually thought listening to such dark music made me happy – I loved it. That was talent.
Now, I’m not here to bash secular music or even music that has a darker sound. There are secular songs that are important and even some of the best Christian music out there has a darker sound – which to me, makes them more real and relatable. But the message of the song is what is most dangerous, and it was the love I had for it and the sudden desire to make music like it that began to hurt me.
The first handful of songs I wrote and sang were riddled with evil messages and destructive themes. I sang about watching the world end, wanting to die, what death would feel like, and was in no way ashamed to use graphic/gory language to make sure it was clear that I was real and wasn’t some cheesy attempt for a music artist.
Of course, in middle school and early high school, most of us have gone through some sort of weird phase. This was just a fraction of mine. The issue was I didn’t let it go right away and also, I had specifically told God I would only use my voice for Him. I fluctuated time to time, trying to get back on track but I was so in love with the darkness that it seeped into everything I wrote, drew, and sang. My imagination was a horror movie, yet I romanticized it. By doing so, I unknowingly romanticized evil and sin.
Even after I graduated high school, I felt the pull. I wanted to please God, but I always told myself I needed to reach people in dark places by being like them, and then I could tell them about Jesus. This was just a way to make myself feel better about what I was doing, and it was a lie.
My music proceeded in darkness. One of my “favorite” songs then began with me singing, “I’m dead” over and over again before I branched out and talked about how I needed to “find my spirit and make them fear it”. I went from just being sad, to wanting to terrify people with my music. The music I composed was eerie and gives me chills (in a bad way) just thinking about it. And yet the entire time, I still believed God gave me my voice and still remembered my promise.
In honesty, it took me until a couple years ago to start at least trying to write music that wasn’t dripping with death themes. And even then, it took me until about a year ago to realize that my voice belongs to God. He gave it to me to glorify Him, not to do whatever I pleased with it. My musical gifts were lying in ruin by the time I realized that I had used them against the One who gave them to me.
God showed me that the more I lay my voice and talents at His feet, the more He blesses them and uses them. When I am composing my vocal melodies and lyrics, I have to constantly say, “God inspire me with what is right. Show me how to bring you glory. Eliminate my own ideas.” I tell you, like a hurricane, God takes over my mind. I feel His Spirit as I sing words I hadn’t yet written and notes I didn’t know I could sing. I go back and listen and I know it is not me, but God using me as an instrument. There is life in the songs and in my voice that was absent in everything I ever tried to make on my own. He has surprised me by taking my love of music that gives you chills and using it to guide me as I compose music that gives you chills from the presence of God within them. He’s shown me how to take that darkness and use it to speak truth; how to be honest and vulnerable about evil without glorifying evil.
But God has shown me something else.
This story is not just about how I came to sing and make Christian music. It’s how the power of our voices impacts us. See, in church, when they sing worship music to God there are a couple things it does for them. It opens the hearts of the people and it calls upon the Spirit of God. That’s why most churches begin with music – they want to invite the presence of the Holy Spirit to come into the building and into their hearts.
Here’s the thing: I used to sing to the darkness. I sang about death, destruction, self-edification, and glorified the things that God hates. If singing Godly worship music invokes the Spirit of God, what does singing about evil things invoke?
The Spirit of Death. Satan and all of his hosts. Demonic forces were attracted to the subjects I sang – I called them out of their depths and invited them into my heart. It is no wonder I became consumed in depression, anxiety, self-deprecation, and a desire to isolate myself. It is no wonder I slowly but surely forgot who God was and what receiving a gift from Him truly meant. It is no wonder I began to twist the truths of the Bible and believe lies. I invited evil to tell me about who I was, who God was, and what was important.
God revealed this to me one morning after I had prayed for Him to lend me His spiritual eyes so I could discern the truth from lies in my past. Again, not all “secular” music is evil and invokes the devil. But if you have a God-given gift, protect it by laying it at His feet. It is the gifts God gives us that show us our path in this world and will have the greatest impact. Satan does not want you to know that. He does not want you to use your gifts for God. He wants you to use them to worship yourself and your pain and lead you into his darkness.
Lastly, whether you sing or don’t sing, remember that your words have a deep effect on you. You might think no one is listening, but the enemy is hanging on to every word you say. We shouldn’t live in fear of this, but in frank understanding that Satan is waiting for you to give him permission to enter your mind. That being said, Christ is our salvation and protection. When we worship Christ with our words, our voices, our hearts, soul, spirit, and mind – that has the power to cast out darkness. The enemy and all of his forces will flee from the name of Jesus Christ. So say it.