When I was young I had two great loves.. my Mom and music. I spent many of my pre-teen and teenage years immersed in music. My boombox (you young guys can Google that one), and my later enhanced sound system were playing tunes almost non-stop. When we left the house I had my Walkman (again, you Millennials can Google that later) with me.. and yes, my ears were surgically attached to my headphones.
While I remember hearing my mom listen to Boston, Chicago, Journey and the like, the genre that first captured my imagination was hip hop and rap. While I can’t now condone the lifestyle much of these artists promoted, I enjoyed the fat beats of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith), The Fat Boys and the legendary RUN DMC with classic collaborations like Walk This Way. My love of the music these artists produced influenced not only my worldview, but the clothes I wore. I donned the multi-colored (usually neon) high top sneakers, the vibrant graphic T’s, and yes, even parachute pants (those of you under 35 might not want to waste your time Googling that one). Later when I entered the alt rock and grunge scene I donned 6 inch bleached hair spikes and earrings.
It’s often said, ‘You are what you eat.’, but it’s equally true that ‘You are what you love’. One band formerly known as Earth Suit - now MUTEMATH - enshrined this reality beautifully in their song Osmosis Land. The song begins:
Every night and every single day
The sun will rise, the moon it will fade
And in our web idols were spun
Caught up in oblivion
So we come with the song, come with the sword
Come with the image of the Son
Come with the song, come with the sword
What we behold we become
‘What we behold we become’. Oh, how true. What we become immersed in - what our eyes and heart become fixated upon - is what has the greatest influence over who we become. The Scriptures aptly encourage us to, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, ESV). Who we are and who we become flows from our center - our hearts. It’s no wonder that the LORD is always after our hearts.. He desires our love and affection. That’s why this faith-walk has always been about relationship. Intimacy and trust are the track this relationship train run on.
Right from the start Our Father made it clear that what He desired with us was relationship. Adam and Eve were invited to trust their Father’s provision and protection by enjoying everything in the Garden.. but this one tree. It wasn’t for them, but they fixated on it instead of everything else and eventually broke trust with their Father, and therefore they broke relationship with Him. Within the Bible, Father God has clearly issued the invitation to renewed relationship, getting to heart of the matter by addressing the issue of our hearts. You see, outside of a trusting, whole-hearted embrace of Our Father, our hearts grow cold and calloused, entombed in a concrete-hard mix of pain, suspicion, scars and self-interest.
End Pt. 1. Pt. 2 will be available in the coming week.