BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#859 - "Learning" by Jason Gray
Jason Gray gives us new perspective on how to view failure in "Learning."
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #859 -
Posted: September 21, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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I'm always excited to hear new music from Jason Gray. The gifted songwriter's most recent full length album Where the Light Gets In features 13 new recordings, including "Glow in the Dark" and "Sparrows." That album earned a spot as one of my Top 10 Albums of 2016.

Ever since I first heard "Blessed Be" by Jason Gray from his album All the Lovely Losers, I was hooked by the emotional and biblical messages of his songs. In fact, that song was the 8th song I featured for my Behind the Song devotional article series which started back in March 2008. I've since featured many more of Jason's songs, and now this is our 15th devotional together, making Jason the most featured artist over the past eight years and 859 song devotionals.

If you like singer-songwriters who wear their hearts on their sleeves and sing about the truth of what it means to walk with God and work out their salvation with fear and trembling, then don't miss out on one of Christian music's most treasured artists. Jason has once again invited listeners into his story of faith as each song on Where the Light Gets In features Jason's unique brand of gourmet lyrical phrasing embedded with the truth of the Gospel for those "with ears to hear." You can hear those same qualities on his recently released Acoustic Sessions EP. I had the chance to speak with Jason about "Learning."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

A meaningful part of what I do is to figure out how to give people what I think they need in a way I think they want it, like chocolate-covered broccoli. This is one of those songs that came from recognizing that people really love empowerment anthems. We need to feel empowered, and there isn't anything wrong with that. However, my experience is that although those anthems are fun and I enjoy them, sometimes I feel like they come from a place of self-sufficiency: "I am awesome, I'm going to try harder, I can do this." That's okay, but it's a little divorced from certain realities, and I don't know if they help us in those times in our lives when we realize we aren't so awesome or self-sufficient, and we are too broken to try harder. 

I'm not sure about your history growing up, but in the church where I grew up, I got a lot of instruction about how to avoid failure. It was about discipline and accountability, those sorts of things. I was never instructed how to respond to failure and how to value and understand it as a necessary and holy part of growth. When I failed, a couple of things happened, especially in the church. There's a sense in which you can't allow yourself to know your own sin. What do you do with that? I'm supposed to be perfect and try harder. Those Scriptures are trying to help us fail faster and bring us to the realization that I can't be perfect as my Father in Heaven is perfect.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message): "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV): "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson they shall be as wool."

Romans 8:14-15 (NKJV): "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'"

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

What is the takeaway message?

I was instructed in how to avoid failure, but not how to value and be transformed by it. When we fail, we can have anxiety. That's an opportunity for the accuser to shame us, and we become paralyzed. What I believe the Gospel means is at that very point, transformation becomes available to us. When our lives fall apart and we fail, that's when we learn the most and become wiser and more compassionate and all the things we say we want to be. 

I wanted to write a song that acknowledged all of that and in a way reduce a person's anxiety when they fail. When you allow yourself to know your own heart, you know you are going to fail. I wanted to convey that in a song, and I wanted it to be packaged in a way where these ideas are an empowerment anthem about failure and the grace of God that transforms us in those moments. It makes it possible for us to realize what we are learning in that moment and take with us into the future in my own life and also into the lives of others to bring help and healing. That was my hope to do an empowerment song about failure that you can dance to.

Lyrics:
I know that fear is a liar
A thief breaking into my heart
He tries to steal all my fire
And shut me down before I even start

I know I can take it every day
If there's a way You will make it, I won't be afraid
'Cause I be like 

Yeah, whatever comes my way I'm not turning back
Yeah, I know Your love won't leave so I won't worry 'cause
If I fall, I win every time I get up again
Yeah, 'cause I can't lose if I keep learning
I'm learning, learning
I'm learning, learning

Let them shout from the bleachers
Every time I don't get it right
I know my failure is my teacher
And I'm still here in the fight

I know I can take it every day
If there's a way You will make it, I won't be afraid
'Cause I be like

Yeah, whatever comes my way I'm not turning back
Yeah, I know Your love won't leave so I won't worry 'cause
If I fall, I win every time I get up again
Yeah, 'cause I can't lose if I keep learning
I'm learning, learning
I'm learning, learning

I know I can take it every day
If there's a way You will make it, I won't be afraid
I know I can take it every day
If there's a way You will make it, I won't be afraid

Yeah, whatever comes my way I'm not turning back
Yeah, I know Your love won't leave so I won't worry 'cause
If I fall, I win every time I get up again
Yeah, 'cause I can't lose if I keep learning
I'm learning, learning
I'm learning, learning
I know I can take it every day
If there's a way You will make it, I won't be afraid


This song truly touches me in many ways. I know that many of us struggle with the idea that our past and present mistakes are unforgivable, yet the Bible tells us that isn't true. Read that great translation in The Message of Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus tells us: "Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." What an amazing comfort to know that when we struggle with our pain, pride and unloving natures, we can all lay it at the feet of Jesus. This is a great song to sing to our Lord and Savior as a personal prayer of thanks and praise. 

At times, we have issues with accepting how God sees us because of how we see ourselves. I studied the book Wild at Heart by John Eldridge with a couple of guys, and we all needed to uncover our wounds from our childhoods. In many cases, our wounds come from our fallen natures and sinful tendencies that scar our hearts. So many believers still struggle with the idea that we have to prove ourselves worthy before God. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians that we need to rejoice in our sufferings as they bring us closer to Christ. Christians are new creations on the inside. 

The Holy Spirit gives us new life, and we don't have to live anymore with our guilt, fears or worries. We are born again, and we need to live as children of God. Too often we get wrapped up in our circumstances and get down on ourselves with negative thoughts, allowing the Enemy to define self-worth. Jesus died on the Cross to set us free from the battle of our minds, from sin and death, and He wants us to have abundant life in Him. What a wonderful, encouraging truth.

We all have lies that we believe about ourselves. Also, we have an Enemy who doesn't like us. He does have a voice and he does speak to us, but the voice of God's Agape Love speaks louder. This song encourages us to see ourselves the way God sees us. What a great message of redemption: grace is unmerited favor, and it is a free gift. Remember that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Be free from those doubts about yourself and sing out: "Whatever comes my way I'm not turning back, I know Your love won't leave so I won't worry. 'Cause if I fall, I win every time I get up again, cause I can't lose if I keep learning." Amen to that!

Watch the lyric video below.
 



 

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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