If you were to ask me in the spring of 2010 if I'd want an iPod, I would have said no way. I'm “Baba Computer” and I like a real computer, something we a screen you can see. However, the Lord had other ideas for this old man. Through a string of events I ended up with an iPod Touch before leaving to return to Nigeria for the first time after having cancer. It had been nearly a decade. I had strong feeling that the Lord wanted me to have this newfangled toy, that He wanted to teach me something.
Sure enough, one day as I'm walking down the streets of Kagoro on my way to lead a training session, I put my ear-buds in and turn on some old music that I used to listen to when I was a young man in my twenties. The next thing I know I'm transported from Kagoro to somewhere else. It was not back home in the USA. No, it was into worshiping the Lord with the old music that had been so dear to me. It was as if I were walking on cloud nine.
I had always known music is powerful, but I really hadn't experienced this kind of thing before. I'd never had an iPod that brought back the old music and made it so clear and even loud in my ears that it drowned out everything else. I thought to myself, "No wonder the young people love these things. Oh, I so wish they all were listening to music that praised God!"
Music is powerful, and it can carry you before the throne of God or it can bring you to the depths of despair and destruction. In fact, some music drives people to such a frenzy that they will harm or even kill others. This new technology is such a wonderful tool. As Dr. Yohanna Byo once shared with me, the computer can be a tool for us to know God better or we can become slaves to the computer. I can't think of a more succinct way to put it.
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[Think also of] how powerful the worship of God is. In our lives there are many powerful influences – healthy ones like love of our family and friends, the joy of sex in a marriage, and the gratification of doing your work well, to name a few; and unhealthy ones like drugs, sex out of a marriage with one wife, and violence as examples. Yet, none of these compare to the real worship of God. Maybe that is part of the sense of what Jesus taught in Luke 14:26:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Of course, Jesus didn't mean for us to hate our family, but our love for him is to be so much greater that in comparison with our love for God our love for them seems so insignificant.
As a young person, that may not seem reasonable. I know for me, I was walking with the Lord many years before I realized this and started experiencing it in worship.1 It is true. If you continue to walk with the Lord, you will know it too, so that those times when the music in your iPod leads you to be walking so closely with the Lord no matter what is happening around you, will be great times of joy. Then you'll be able to thank God for the technology he has given you. Just keep in mind that God does not lift us up so much so we can constantly be listening to our iPod, but to fill us up so we can take the ear-buds out and reach out to the hurting ones of the world, serving them and cleansing their wounds and bringing them to the feet of Jesus that they may know him, too.