“Moderns have so commodified the Bible that we have forgotten that revelation brings us the very presence of God and not merely teachings about God. We have forgotten what it means to be afraid. We have so objectified the biblical text that we do not recognize our own position as object under the Word of God. Therefore, we believe that it is possible to promote truth about God without realizing that God’s truth and God’s presence are a package deal. We believe that the truth we are somehow promoting can be neatly packaged, arranged, and presented in a form that is easy to manipulate.” – Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns
“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”’ – Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.” – George Müller
Musicianship includes at least three aspects. They are technique, theory, and taste. A grasp of these three areas will provide the foundation necessary for anyone to become a well-rounded musician. You could have excellent technique, but poor taste and your ideas will be well executed and poorly received. You could excel in music theory yet have poor technique. You will then be unable to produce the sounds you can construct on paper. A well-rounded musician is growing in the areas of technique, theory, and taste.
Technique is mastery of the building blocks of a style. Technique has to do with your hands; it is a physical skill. It is the ability to play the music set before you. Musical technique is developed by practicing scales, riffs, strum patterns, or vocal exercises. Developing technique can be tedious work and so it is often neglected. Technique is developed through practice.
Theory means understanding how music works. Theory has to do with your head; it is a mental skill. It is the ability to recognize patterns, ratios, and sequences. Technique means you know how to get from one note, chord, or phrase to the next. Theory means you know why you are going to the next note, chord, or sequence. Knowledge of theory is developed through reading and instruction.
Taste means knowing what fits. Taste has to do with your heart; it is an emotional skill. It is the ability to recognize what is appropriate in a particular context. It has to do with dynamics, phrasing, and articulation. While technique and theory inform us as to what to play and why we play it, taste informs us what not to play. It is recognizing that silence can be the most important note I play. Taste is developed by listening attentively to music to recognize what the musicians are and are not doing.
Becoming a well rounded musician means developing in all three areas of technique, theory, and taste. Someone who is moderately developed in all three areas will ultimately be of greater use than someone who excels in just one or another area. Musicianship is not something you are either born with or you are not. It can be developed by focusing on developing technique, theory, and taste.
“The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves, and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death.” – BLAISE PASCAL
Greed is a corrosive force that saps the joy out of life. As greed increases its presence in our lives, our sensitivity to the spirit of God decreases. Greed is dangerous because it is more subtle and more pervasive than we often realize.
Greed comes in many forms. Jesus warned His disciples to guard against “every kind of greed” (Luke 12:15 NLT). Because many of us believe that greed has to do solely with money, we have let our guard down against some of greed’s less obvious yet equally destructive forms. Besides money, we are often greedy for time and relationships.
Greed causes us to feel like we never have enough time. When we are greedy for time we panic to get things done. We will be irritable and impatient with others. We will be dominated by fear. We will be afraid of not meeting deadlines or accomplishing our goals. There will be a feeling that life is passing you by.
When we crave to know people God has not intended for us it is essentially greed for relationship. This sort of greed causes us to seek the wrong kind of people. Perhaps we will seek people with more money or more influence than us to increase our sense of importance. A great deal of sexual sin is rooted in us not being content with who or where we are.
When all our wishes are considered needs it is a sure sign of financial greed. Greed for money causes us to be obsessed with material things. This causes us to be afraid will never have enough. We set unrealistic goals for ourselves and live with constant frustration.
How to get over greed
The good news is that greed and gratitude cannot long coexist. You can overcome any form of greed with expressed gratitude. When we feel rushed and tempted to panic, thank God that He is ordering your steps and that you will carry out everything He has planned for you. Instead of striving to get to know some rich or important person in a key network, we can thank God for the people He has placed in our lives. In times of frustration with our income or possessions we can thank God that He graciously provides all that we need.
Contentment and greed are opposites. As the Bible says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). The surest way we can move from greed to contentment is to express gratitude for what God has provided and for what He is doing in us today.
- I mentioned greed for time, relationships, and money. What other types of greed would you add to this list?
- What sort of greed do you most struggle with? How does it affect you?
- What specific expressions of gratitude could you exercise today?