#751 - "Higher" by Unspoken
The lead singer of this fast-rising band talks about where Unspoken fixes their focus, no matter the circumstances.

Posted: August 30, 2016 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Unspoken has returned with Follow Through, following up on the success of their debut eponymous album Unspoken, which featured the hit songs "Who You Are," "Lift My Life Up," "Start a Fire," "Good Fight" and "Call it Grace." The debut was one of my Top 5 Albums of 2014, and Follow Through is a worthy follow-up.

New lead single "Higher" includes the worshipful refrain "I'm gonna lift You higher, higher, higher, God Almighty, You are worthy." It is refreshing how in this age of lyrical ambiguity, there is no question that this band is sold-out for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had the chance to speak with lead singer Chad Mattson about "Higher."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

The theme for the album and the Scripture that goes with the songs often comes as we write the songs. We put this song first on the album and released it as the first single, and I didn't at all expect it to be a single. This song sets the tone for the album, not only with some musical things, but also the theme of the song. 

This song was birthed from how a lot of us go through highs and lows in life, and that reminds us that it is not our circumstances that dictate God's goodness or His worthiness. God is worthy regardless at all times, because God is good. He is love. Regardless of what life throws our way, we need to continue to lift our praises to Him and lift His name. It is the journey that we've all started, and our hope that we finish strong. That is a big theme from this album, even though there isn't a song specifically about that. 

Something we talked about a lot, reading through Chronicles and Deuteronomy and the New Testament, is that we realized that we want to finish the race strong, and not just start it strong. Life happens, and things don't go our way, and sometimes we don't finish as strong as we started. This record was a great breath of fresh air to us reminding us to keep pushing and follow through on what we've started.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 68:18 (NKJV): "You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there."

Ephesians 4:8 (NKJV): "Therefore He says: 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.'"

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV): "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV): "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV): "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV): "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

What is the takeaway message?

The songs "Higher," "Soldier," "Follow Through" and "Wait on You" are songs that are helping us continue the passion and the fight we are in and to keep going strong. "Higher" sets the tone and connects with Philippians 4:13. You can be encouraged by that Scripture to do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I'm not going to be a professional basketball player at this point, because that's not who God has gifted me to be. We can take that Scripture and encourage people: in whatever moment you are in your life, whether hungry or well-fed, you can weather these circumstances and be content with little or with much, because I've got a bigger goal than me in mind. It's not just about me and my comfort and my agenda. 

With this song it's one of those things for us, because no matter what life brings, we want to lift His name higher. This album was a bit of a stress for us. We were writing it while we were touring and wanting to be home with our families, and the same thing with the recording process. We wanted to come out of the gate with our gratitude being expressed in these songs. The last record was about struggles, and this album has some of that, but this record is more reflective of the maturing believer who has gone through the struggles, and to lose our personal agendas, which is what all believers need to do. 

We've needed to remind ourselves over the years to keep soldiering on and to remember that if we are in this to serve God and give back to Him in gratitude for what He has done for us, then it doesn't matter what we are doing or what that looks like, let's do it with all of our might. That's the basis of "Higher." Regardless of our circumstances, God is worthy of praise. Even if we don't get anything else in this life, God has given us what we need: Himself, His love and His peace. As I get older, I realize that the things I really desire this world can't provide--only the Spirit of God can.

I gotta try to do right when life's doing me wrong
Gotta shake the dust off my feet and keep marchin' on
When trouble weighs me down, brings me to my knees
Lord, my needs are many, but that's a pretty
Yeah a pretty good place to be

Don't blame it on the preacher 'cuz the preacher done told
"The devil's got a target on my heart and my soul"
But let me tell you, brother, what the devil don't know
The lower I go, the more I'm gonna lift You

Higher, higher, higher
I'm gonna lift You higher, higher, higher
God Almighty, You are worthy
Higher, higher, higher

I may never get money, I may never have fame
But if I'm ever in the spotlight, I'll point it back your way
'Cuz standing at the top was never ever my goal
But if you put me on a mountain then I'll tell the whole world
Singing hallelujah 'til I hit the dirt, oh

I'm gonna lift You higher, higher, higher
I'm gonna lift You higher, higher, higher
God Almighty, You are worthy
Higher, higher, higher

Hallelujah, He is worthy
Hallelujah, He is good
Leave me in rags and ruins and I'll praise You through it
Clothe me in glory and riches, I'll praise You just the same
All that I have, all I've been given, all of my life's ambition
Is to worship, is to honor, is to bring You praise

I'm gonna lift You higher, higher, higher
I'm gonna lift You higher, higher, higher
God Almighty, You are worthy
Higher, higher, higher

God Almighty, You are worthy

With this excellent album, Unspoken is offering a great example of how you can write and sing lyrics that are unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reach the lost with transparent confessions of faith. Every thought and lyric in this song and this album is rooted in Scripture, which I admire. In singing this song, you can reflect on the promise of Psalm 68:18: "You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there" and the fulfillment in Ephesians 4:8: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

When you sing this song, the devotional thought we should all be thinking is whether we are submitting our lives to the Truth or just singing the words. God wants us to boldly approach the Throne of mercy and grace to receive and obtain what we need from Him. When we acknowledge our identity in Christ in this song, our burdens are removed. I can't get enough of the beautifully poetic and powerful expressions of faith in this song. What's awesome about this upbeat song is that it provides encouragement and personal motivation to fight the good fight of faith and finish the race of life strong.

God knows what we need, and He loves and cares for each of us deeply. When you put yourself under a microscope and examine whether you really believe all of the words of this great song, you'll find that it will challenge your faith and how closely you are walking with God. The song also addresses the spiritual fight that we all face daily. Satan gives us temptations, which God considers trials that we can overcome. "Higher" is a song, a prayer and a call for revival in our hearts. I am challenged to believe these words when I sing along and believe with all of my heart: "All that I have, all I've been given, all of my life's ambition, is to worship, is to honor, is to bring You praise." Amen to that!

Watch the music 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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