09 April, 2007

Love, Actually

Song of Solomon.

What comes to mind? The picture of a perfect union? A book in the Bible that was incredibly embarrassing when first you stumbled upon it in your adolescence?

"Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases."
This phrase is mentioned three times in this book about love as God designed it (here, here, and here). Each time, the phrase is adjured to "daughters." I think that message is pretty clear and direct, don't you?

Since today is the day that my church chooses to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I've been thinking about the love that drove Jesus to the cross, then empowered him to regain life. That's some intense love. I've experienced his love in many practical ways today. Grace to wake up early and serve my church joyfully. Nourishment that was pleasing to my eyes and palate. Family members who provoke my growth. Friends who enjoy my presence. However, on the way home from (yet) another time with friends, I saw a picture of the "love" that the world portrays as best. I failed miserably at controlling the radio in the car, so through music I realized the depravity of even well-intentioned men, and the disgusting perversity of those who relish their sinful ways.

Lately, I've been realizing how widespread sexual sin is among people who aren't in the least ready for marriage, specifically those who are still in school. Why have we divorced the idea that intimacy goes hand-in-hand with commitment, and that intense preparation precedes them both? Why is it so easy to desire relationships that I know I cannot commit to, or that I'm not ready for?

Well, duh. Satan knows our weak spots, and so constructs a culture for young adults that's swimming in debauchery, with a twisted view of what God created to be perfect. I've tried to avoid this in what pictures I willingly see, but I think I've allowed myself to listen to music that compromises the integrity of my thought. The music itself may present God's plan for love in a negative or positive light, but regardless, I shouldn't be listening to it. I am not in a relationship that would allow me to enjoy such music without tempting me to sin. So, I've come up with a few categories by which I will be judging the music I hear.

  • DISGUSTING: There is absolutely no redeeming value in music of this kind. Unfortunately, a lot of rap and hip-hop can be categorized here. It may be fun, but is anything but worthwhile (I'm not throwing these genres out the window, and they are by no means the only genres to produce such music. I'm forced to play off a stereotype to illustrate my point.)
  • WORTHWHILE, BUT NOT YET: Music that illustrates a facet or two of the love that God presents in Song of Solomon, but facets to which I should not look. Unfortunately, many of my favorite songs fall into this category. "Closing In" by Imogen Heap is a good example. Some day, I could see myself on a road trip with my husband, and it's late at night, and this song will start to play...and therein lies the problem. I can't be thinking about such situations! Time for that will come! I don't want to kill the anticipation of romance before it actually gets here. I have a playlist in iTunes titled "Not-Yet Love," and I intend to put such songs in that playlist and leave them there until it pleases God to awaken such emotions.
  • WRITTEN JUST FOR MY SITUATION: These songs are about love, but through some amazing design of God, don't tempt me to think of romance. Songs like "Carry You" by Rebecca St. James, or "You Are Mine" by Mute Math. Many of them, I've noticed, can be applied directly to my relationship with God, though I could see them as romantic songs when the time comes. Thank God for these songs. I love listening to them because of their encouraging nature. Through these songs, I can begin to recognize what God's design for love is, without falling into the trap of worldly lusts. I've grouped these in a playlist titled, simply, "Love."

I think this system may help me to keep my thoughts clean and my actions pure. Unfortunately, I can't choose what I hear all of the time, but having such a classification system will help me to recognize temptation and resist it.

Why am I telling you this? I'm hoping that my experiences might somehow encourage you. If you're married, enjoy the romance :-) If you aren't in a romantic relationship, perhaps you'll be encouraged to keep your mind pure. If you're considering such a relationship, I know plenty of songs with which you could woo your beloved :-P


"The Websters" said...

"Ah! I have a comment already?!"

yes! you knew it! haha. We've got memories too. We'll have to share them sometime in conversation ;-) I got a container of hardtack. yum-o.

I didnt even read this post yet, but I shall. This comment is only in reply of yours...

Clear Ambassador said...

Hah! Songs for wooing. Sounds like a killer album title :-P

Sounds like God's allowed you to accuratly assess part of your heart, and you've acted on what He's shown you. Good job! That's just the kind of ground that yields great fruit.