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BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#584 - "Evidence" by Citizen Way
Ben Calhoun lets the love of Jesus speak for itself in Citizen Way's powerful new single.
 


Love is the Evidence is the debut album by Fair Trade Services' band Citizen Way. The four-piece band is comprised of two sets of siblings: Josh and Ben Calhoun and David and Ben Blascoe. The album contains catchy and worshipful songs with lyrics that point to the wonders of our God combined with sweeping melodies and infectious choruses that will be replayed in your mind over and over again. It was one of my top 10 albums of 2013
                          
After a string of hit singles including "Should've Been Me," "Nothing Ever (Could Separate Us)" and "How Sweet the Sound," the band's next single is the title track, "Evidence." Here are some definitions of the word evidence: "That which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof. Something that gives a sign or proof of the existence or truth of something, or that helps somebody to come to a particular conclusion." I had the chance to speak with Ben Calhoun about their catchy and convicting song "Evidence."
 
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

My friend Jeff Pardo and I wrote this song. We've written a lot of songs together. A few years ago, at that point in my life, none of my wife's family knew the Lord. She had a distant cousin who was a believer, and her mom recently came to Christ and has a relationship with Jesus, but the rest of her family thinks we're crazy. They grew up with a works-based background, and there are a lot of broken relationships. I love them. I love spending time with them, and I see fruit happening and things changing. Honestly, I think it is the work of the Holy Spirit.
 
The Bible says, "If I be lifted up, I will draw men unto Me." I'm not going to argue about why the Bible is true. My wife has a brother that is into new age thinking, and I just want to show him love and let the Holy Spirit draw him to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is better at it than I am anyhow.
 
That's where this song came from. Trying to literally have people in my wife's family see Jesus without having me preach about it. When I have the opportunity, I love talking about God's Word and what we know. They see us making Christian music now, and they ask us questions. It's an opportunity to be genuine and point them to Christ.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
 
Matthew 25:34-40 (NKJV): Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
 
1 John 3:16 (VOICE): We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.
 
2 Corinthians 13:3 (VOICE): You asked to see evidence that the power of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, is at work in me. Well, you will see it because He won't be weak in dealing with you. Instead, He will do great things in you.
 
John 3:11 (VOICE): I tell you the truth: we speak about the things we know, and we give evidence about the things we have seen, and you choose to reject the truth of our witness.
 
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV): Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
 
James 2:14-17 (NKJV): "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
 
What is the takeaway message?
 

Christianity isn't something I can argue to bring someone to Christ. It's not a flag on a field, it's not a sign in my yard. It's the real, tangible evidence of Jesus. He's way better at drawing people to Himself than I am. All I can do is be His messenger. I'll be the mailman, not the message.
 
That's what we're trying to get across in this song. Hands that are open, reaching out to broken hearts, the action of faith and what Jesus does for me every day is what I want people to know, especially my loved ones. That's the only way this world will ever know who Jesus is. Love is the evidence. Love is easy to be seen when it is genuine. That's how I'm trying to show Jesus to them in a tangible way.
 
That 1st John 3:16 passage is literal for me, because true love for my brothers and sisters is exactly what I'm singing about in this song. A lot of the songs on this album are inspired by that idea. These songs are very meaningful for me in that I wrote them out of very real times in my life. The evidence we have for true love is Jesus. He laid His life down for us. We wear a cross around our necks, and we need to think about what that represents and what happened. If we are living a life worthy of the Gospel, only by God's grace and nothing we can do, we want to present Jesus in a way that's attractive. You can't deny that evidence, and that's what we want to represent.
 
Lyrics:
It's not a flag on a field
It's not a sign in my yard
Not a cause that I join
Not a phrase on a coin
It's the change in my heart

Mercy and grace and compassion
They're only words without action

I need hands that are open
Reaching out to broken hearts
Cause that's the only way this world
Will ever know who You are
Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence

Might be the pain that you share
Might be the time that you spend
Or the war you don't fight
Backing down from your pride
After all in the end

Mercy and grace and compassion
They're only words without action

I need hands that are open
Reaching out to broken hearts
Cause that's the only way this world
Will ever know who You are
Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence

My life wasn't changed by an argument
That never would have been enough
My life was changed by the evidence of love

Your hands that were open
Reaching out to my broken heart

I need hands that are open
Reaching out to broken hearts
Cause that's the only way this world
Will ever know who You are
Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence

 
Love is the Evidence is a great collection of confessional and authentic expressions of faith. All of the songs are catchy, exciting and worshipful. What's most impressive is how these catchy songs will have you singing along at the top of your lungs after just a couple of listens.

After listening to the album, I am stirred with compassion to love people as Jesus loves us. That's the heart behind this album, and thank you Citizen Way for blessing us with your music and for singing the Truth of the Gospel for the Kingdom of God. As the song "Love is a Mess" declares, this album is "The Story of the Cross… the beauty of the Cross."
 
"Evidence" has excellent Kingdom-focused lyrics with a convicting takeaway message to start the New Year: "It's not a sign in my yard, not a cause that I've joined, not a phrase on a coin, it's the change in my heart."
 
That leads to the convicting lyrics we can all proclaim as believers in the sincere chorus: "I need hands that are open reaching out to broken hearts, cause that's the only way this world will ever know who You are. Love is the evidence." Start off the year right by singing along with and living out these words: "Mercy and grace and compassion, they're only words without action." Amen to that!
 
(Watch the lyric video here.)

 
 

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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