#26 - "The Cut" by Jason Gray
NRT columnist Kevin Davis returns to start a new year of devotionals based on some of his favorite Christian songs.

ďThe CutĒ is one of my favorite songs on Jasonís debut major label album All The Lovely Losers and there is also a great new live recording on Jasonís album Acoustic Storytime.Ē

Jason says: ďWhen God takes His pruning blade to our lives, itís always out of love and to make room for new growth. Sometimes faith in this is the only anesthetic we have against the pain of this cut.Ē

I had the opportunity to speak with Jason about his song ďThe Cut,Ē and he first talked about his background of having a speech handicap and the scripture that the song is based on, Psalm 119:67-77 (NIV).

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

"I'm actually grateful now," Jason says, "that my speech handicap never afforded me the option of masking my weakness behind an illusion of competency. Whenever I opened my mouth, there it was for all to see. I couldn't fool others or myself. I think the best thing that can happen to us is to be 'found out' for all that we are, our religious and human pretenses stripped away to reveal our sin, pettiness, and weakness. Then we can devote our energies to better endeavors than the constant masquerade of sufficiency. The added benefit is that people are able to see how God's grace works in a real person's life. When we come clean about our brokenness, Christ becomes the star of our testimony and not us. Most of my Christian walk has dealt with affliction.Ē

Jason can really relate to Moses and Aaron. ďWe are great at making idols. My wife recently shared that in her walk, faith is like a house that kept her warm, sheltered her, helped her feel secure. She was comfortable there. Then God came, set it on fire and burned it down. She was in the house as it was burning down around her and as the walls fell around her, she could see the world that she couldnít see while she was holed up in that house. Sometimes we get a piece of that puzzle of who God is and sometimes we make an idol of that. And miss out on who God maybe wanting to reveal himself as now as we get older and mature in our walk. God is always the same, but he gives us a piece of himself at a time because itís all we can take so we often want to serve God as we wish him to be instead of who He is. So, Heíll come and destroy that idol and get rid of what we want God to be, destroy our view of whatís safe, our preferences. He is a jealous God, and that can be scary when he comes to destroy the false god Iíve made of him, and a good deal of my affliction comes from his love that refuses to let me serve a lesser version of Himself and my fear of letting go of that lesser version that in itís own way brought me comfort and security. God isnít a security blanket, Heís a storm.Ē

Hereís Jasonís story behind ďThe CutĒ:

ďI have a friend who visited a vineyard and in the spring they harvest the first grapes and throw them away. I was curious about this as it seemed wasteful. My friend explained that by throwing away the first grapes, the grapes that grow back are heartier, tastier, and better grapes. They want to cut the first fruit to get to the good stuff. It was a terrifying story, it made me think of the verse in John where Jesus talks about the vine and the branches and that any branches that donít bear fruit will be cut off and burned up. I thought my ďfruitĒ was safe. It made me wonder about many of the good things I do, going to church, tithing, giving to the poor. How many of the good things am I doing to get God to leave me alone? Look Lord, look at all this fruit, donít mess with my life. He loves us more than that, He wants to get to the good stuff. He looks at our lives with His pruning blade. God cuts, it hurts, it is difficult. Hopefully we can have courage and take strength in knowing that whatever God cuts, does not diminish us but makes us more...Ē

Here are the lyrics:

My heart is laid
Under Your blade
As you carve out Your image in me
You cut to the core
But still you want more
As you carefully, tenderly ravage me

And You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
Iím cold and Iím scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
They say the cut makes me whole

Mingling here
Your blood and my tears
As You whittle my kingdom away
But I see that you suffer, too
In making me new
For the blade of Love, it cuts both ways

And You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
Iím cold and Iím scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
They say the cut makes me whole

Hidden inside the grain
Beneath the pride and pain
Is the shape of the man
You meant me to be
Who with every cut now you try to set free

With everyday
You strip more away
And You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
Iím cold and Iím scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
The blade must take itís toll
So God give me strength to know
That the cut makes me whole

I am extremely moved by this song and the story behind the song. Just by talking with Jason, I was very blessed to share with him about his affliction, his heart for God, and how he has overcome his affliction by letting God bless him with his gift of music. Also, how this song challenges me to think about what I need God ďto cutĒ out of my life so that I can give Him the good stuff.

You can listen to the song here.

Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music as well as, movies, TV shows and multiple PodCasts. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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