And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images. Isaiah 42:8
I remember the concerts I used to go to during the 70’s and early 80’s at the old Montreal Forum. They were all about sound and show. Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Queen and Supertramp. You could always be sure you would get quite a feast of sight and sound. Of course not much of our hearing would be left afterwards, but we were wowed. They were our idols and they exalted in being so. They loved the glory their fans would give them.
I see today many Christian bands and artists doing the same things. They have become prima donnas. I remember attending a music conference down in Pennsylvania one year. They had some pretty big name Christian artists coming in to do concerts and workshops. The problem was that the promoter had a hard time getting people out to this conference and had to settle to having it in a smaller facility. A few things from that conference stuck in my mind. One of them was seeing John Starnes in the parking lot talking with the promoter and telling him he was waving his fee for being there because of the situation. That impressed me as I know that John flies his own plane to each event. He told the promoter he believed what the promoter was doing was worthwhile and not to get discouraged. Another image was of this top Christian group that everyone wanted to see driving up in a huge tractor trailer with the name of the band emblazoned on the on the side. They took one look at the facilities and where they were to perform and freaked. They refused to do their show. They said without their stage show it they couldn’t perform. It was all about the show. When asked if they could scale it back a bit, they were insulted and left. We later saw that they had booked into the same hotel I was staying and were spending their time playing pool. The next day the Imperials showed up with and equally big stage show. For them it was no problem to scale back and perform and they were very gracious about it.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a good show. The problem arises is when the medium becomes more important than the message. When people focus more on the performer than on the message they are supposed to be conveying. It makes me really squeamish when I hear young girls screaming as they used to at Beatles concerts at Christian concerts. What bothers me even more is to see these performers soak it up instead of telling them that it is Christ they should be worshipping.
I also have trouble with many of the young female singers that have come on the Christian music scene. Many of their vocals are breathy and sensual. I find little difference between the way they sing and those that are in the world.
It is not easy. Many of the Christian labels are owned by secular companies which put pressure on them to sell CD’s. Contemporary Christian music has become a very lucrative market. It is very easy to become caught up in the glamour and attention you get. You need to be strongly grounded in the Word and your relationship with Christ to stand strong. So many of the singers out there started off singing in churches, but the pull of the world was too strong for them. Research for yourself where Brittany Spears, Whitney Housten, Beyonce Knowles, and Jessica Simpson got their starts. Where is their faith today and what kind of answer will they have to give to God for the way they used what He gave them?
In 1986 I made a recording called "All For Him". I enjoyed the attention I received. I loved hearing my music on the radio or seeing my name on posters or billboards. In reality it was not "All For Him" as much as it was "All For Me". Nowadays I’d rather run and hide then take any kind of glory from my Lord Jesus Christ.
Worship alone belongs to the Lord and we never should give that worship to something that is created. Not even the angels will accept worship and we were created just a little lower than them. Ask John what happened when he tried to kneel at an angels feet.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10
If you are a worship leader, a musician or a singer, remember He is the one who has given you your talents. He gave them to you to glorify Him. Never your self. Don’t let others exalt you. Always point to Christ. He alone is worthy of glory.