When are we going to start believing what we’re singing?

21 07 2008
[Introductory note: I’ve spent too many years ashamed of my Christianity. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. After seven years of being a Christian (well twenty-one, if your definition of being a Christian is going to church and doing what you’re told), living in defeat, and wishing God would just make me perfect, bold, and fearless, in Spring / Summer 2007 I finally found what’s been holding me back so long. It’s going to be a long process to get where I need to be in my walk with God, but I’m ready (I hope / think) to do whatever it takes to get to that point. I’m sick of hiding my joy and gratitude. I’m going to tell the world (well, whoever reads this note, you know what I mean) about how great I believe my God is. I don’t care about consequences or what I may be labeled as, by Christians or non-Christians. “Whatever happens, happens.”]

I love the following three songs because I think they communicate really well how much God really loves us. I think the writers of these songs inadvertently express the witness that each of us has inside us of the true, unfailing, never-ceasing love of God. Pay special attention to the lyrics I’ve underlined.

Third Day- “Love Song”

Well I’ve heard it said, that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
Well, I never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of calvary

Chorus:
And just to be with you, I would do anything
There’s no price I would not pay, no.
And just to be with you, I would give everything
And I would give my life away, yeah__.

And I’ve heard it said that a man would swim the oceans
Just to be with the one he loves.
But all of those dreams, are an empty emotion.
It can never be done.
Well, I never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea.

Chorus:
And just to be with you, I would do anything
There’s no price I would not pay, no.
And just to be with you, I would give everything
And I would give my life away. Yeah___.

(Bridge)
And I know that you don’t understand
the fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sin.
And I know that you don’t realize
how much that I give you
And I promise, well I would do it all again.

Chorus:
And just to be with you, I’ve done everything
There’s no price I did not pay, no.
And just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave My life away, yeah___.
I gave My life away, yeah

And just to be with you.
Oh, just to be with you.
Oh, just to be with you.
Oh, just to be with you.

Jesus would give it all again if it were necessary. He will go to any length to bring all of His children home. That is what I read in this song by the modern evangelical Christian rock band, Third Day (which I’m quite fond of at times). How does this line up with what we are being taught by the majority of the modern church? What a simple, childlike faith is expressed in this song! If we truly believed this, what joy would fill our hearts! Alright, let’s move on to the next song before I get ahead of myself…

Third Day- “I’ve Always Loved You”

I don’t know how to explain it
But I know that words will hardly do
Miracles with signs and wonders
Aren’t enough for me to prove to you

Don’t you know I’ve always loved you
Even before there was time
Though you turn away
I’ll tell you still
Don’t you know I’ve always loved you
And I always will

Greater love has not a man
Than the one who gives his life to prove
That he would do anything
And that’s what I’m going to do for you

Another song by Third Day… this one is also told from God’s point of view. He’s always loved us… and He ALWAYS will. Oh, if only I’d known this seven / eight years ago! So many years of fear could have been avoided had I only believed in God’s love like a little child. But you know what? I’m glad I went through those years of my life. They’ve helped me to appreciate and understand His love all the more. What a perfect God! What a perfect plan! He will do anything to bring His beloved sons and daughters (for whom he died) home again to him.

Disciple- “After the World”

You break the glass, try to hide your face
Recorded lines that just will not erase
And buried in your loss of innocence
You wonder if you’ll find it again

Was I there for the worst of all your pain?
And was I there when your blue sky ran away?
Was I there when the rains were flooding you?
I hope you feel those were My tears falling down for you, falling down for you

I’m the One that you’ve been looking for
I’m the One that you’ve been waiting for
I’ve had My eyes on you ever since you were born
I will love you after the rain falls down
I will love you after the sun goes out
I’ll have My eyes on you after the world is no more

Did I arrange the light of your first day?
Did I create the rhythm your heart makes?
Could you believe when your candle starts to fade?
I want to be the One that you believe
Could take it all away, take your heart away

Isn’t My life a clear sign since I have crossed over this chasm
To fill the space between Me and you?
And I will do it all over again
Just look for Me, just wait for Me

The One you’ve been looking for
The One you’ve been waiting for
You won’t have to look anymore

I remember reading a review of the CD that this song came out on in Relevant Magazine. It said something like, “‘After the World’ is probably the greatest song this band has ever written.” I think I’m starting to agree with them. The song says in the first verse, “Was I there when the rains were flooding you?… those were My tears falling down for you.” Wait, what? God’s tears? He cries for us? I thought all He saw when He looked at the struggling, squirming sinners was a big sign on their heads marked “GUILTY”. Praise God, He CRIES for us, He empathizes with us, He has sympathy for us. He longs for us to be with Him, and even though all will work out for our (and His) good, our suffering means so much to Him that He feels our sorrow.

He will love us even after the END OF THE WORLD. How great is that? He doesn’t limit His love to the 70 or so years we have in these physical bodies. He loves us for WHO WE ARE, our spirits and our souls.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “bridge illustration” which is used as a witnessing tool for Christians to tell people about Christ’s love. There are two cliffs, one on either side. One is called spiritual sickness, or death, and the other is called spiritual health, or life. We are on the death side and God is on the life side, and the Cross of Christ serves as a bridge between the two sides, so that we can go to be with God.

The reason I mention all that is because this line from the song reminded me of it: “I have crossed over this chasm to fill the space between Me and you”. It then goes on to say that He will do it again. We don’t go to God to get saved. He comes to us! We can do nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, to get to God. That includes saying a magical prayer (believe me I’ve tried, hundreds of times), doing the right thing (again, hundreds of times), or abstaining from destructive sins (yeah, I’ve tried that one too, many times, doesn’t really work out too well when you try all by yourself). GOD CROSSES THE CHASM AND BRINGS US TO THE OTHER SIDE! But don’t we have any sort of choice, you ask? Yes, but you can only make that “choice” because God engineered your circumstances so that you can see Him for Who He is and accept Him. In other words, it happens in God’s time, not ours.

Another illustration I really like is this: A man has fallen into a pit. All these different religious people such as Muhammed, the Buddha, Vishnu, L. Ron Hubbard, Jim Jones (alright I’ll stop)… give the man advice on how to get out of the pit according to their religious beliefs. Of course, they give him this advice as they look down at him from above the pit, and then go on their merry way. The man tries to take some of their advice, but nothing works. Eventually he gives in to despair and just sits at the bottom of the pit in misery, waiting for death. After a while, he hears footsteps approaching, but he doesn’t even care enough to call out for help. He then looks up, expecting to see another person passing by who can’t help him. Instead, he sees what appears to be a very poor, rough-looking man at the top of the pit. He doesn’t say a word, but climbs in the pit, down to where the man is, and lifts him out of it. That rough-looking man was Jesus.

I’ve sort of drifted way off from the original purpose of my note, but I guess the main point is this: I am glad to have finally found out the true love of God and will seek to build my trust and love for Him everyday. I can’t wait to rejoice with exceeding great joy with ALL of my brothers and sisters for all He has done for us. Praise God for His unfailing love!

(originally written 4/17/08 )
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