BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#932 - "Better For It" by Riley Clemmons
New artist Riley Clemmons speaks to Kevin Davis about the Biblical inspiration behind her single, "Better For It."
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #932 -
Posted: August 02, 2018 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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18 year-old Riley Clemmons' self-titled debut album includes the hit singles, "Broken Prayers," "Hold On" and "Better For It." With comparisons to contemporaries ranging from Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato to Natalie Grant and Britt Nicole, Clemmons' seemingly effortless, rich and pure vocal tone exhibits the passion and confidence of a seasoned artist. Riley's songwriting is real, honest, and vulnerable, and she is positive, determined and confident.

"Music has always been a way for me to find light and hope in the middle of darkness," shares Clemmons. "Lyrics and melodies unite people in such a beautifully unique way, showing us we're not that different from one another. I hope these songs help others to find hope, light, and unity, just as writing them helped me to find my faith through the lens of a new perspective." 

I've been married for 24 years and we have three young daughters, and her entire album really ministers to me and my family. Her songs are very upbeat and catchy and Riley is a surefire GMA Dove Award nominee for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocalist. Riley is a great role model for girls. This album is loaded with positive grace-filled messages of hope. Her songs address the pressures of life and Riley understands that true happiness and her identity only comes from her relationship with God.

I had the chance to speak with Riley about her upbeat song "Better For It."
 

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I specifically remember walking into the songwriting session for this song with a feeling of heaviness. I had recently gone through a transitional time in my life. I was starting school online, and there were relationships that were changing. I had gone through a period where I was really struggling with all of those issues and having a hard time finding my steady ground. I was questioning why God had put me in such a difficult place when I was trying to do His work. I was trying to share light and hope and felt so heavy. In writing this song I was able to see that time of challenge and transition made me stronger and I was better for it. Those challenges forced me to look for light and look for Jesus in a time when I was really down. That's the heart behind this song.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

1 Peter 5:10 (NIV): "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

James 1:16-18 (NIV): "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created."

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV): "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."

Romans 8:28 (VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."

Philippians 1:6 (NIV): "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:8-9 (NIV): "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ---the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

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

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?
Romans 8:28 is my favorite Bible verse. It has so much to do with the message of this song. That verse brings peace to me and it such a huge truth and a token of peace for my soul. The hard times we go through make us so much more equipped and make us stronger and force us to look for the source of all goodness and life and hope, which is God. I wanted to be honest and wanted these songs to speak the truth and really reveal where I was.

The beautiful thing about faith in Jesus is that He takes us at our worst and He also takes us at our best. It gives me a lot of peace to know that the One who created us takes delight in us even in our weakness. I want to bring as much glory to God as I could, and I have a huge heart for young women and know the challenges we are going through and want people to know that they are not alone. It's so important that people know that we have light and hope in Jesus. What matters to me is that these songs are unifying and when we fall short and feel weak, we serve a God who takes us that way. I don't think there's anything more unifying than that. My encouragement is to know that you are never alone and you have a God who loves you when you don't feel your best.

Lyrics:
I wouldn't say I would've chosen it
That time I hit the bottom
And it hurt a little bit
Funny how being down
Can make you look up
But now I'm better for it

All I could see
in the moment was
My heart and how it felt
Ripped open, I'll admit
I found You down low in the brokenness
And now I'm better for it

I count it all as joy
Even when I'm in the flame
Cause I know You always

Gimme, gimme, gimme grace when I need it
Hindsight 20/20, now I see that
You let me be where I've been
So I can be all that I am
You gimme, gimme, gimme faith to believe that
When it hurts, there's a
real good reason
You let me be where I've been
So I can be all that I am
Better for it

Yeah, I used to think
pain was a consequence
But now I kinda think it might
Be the perfect gift
You use to get me straight to You
And I'm better for it

I count it all as joy
Even when I'm in the flame
Cause I know You always

Gimme, gimme, gimme grace when I need it
Hindsight 20/20, now I see that
You let me be where I've been
So I can be all that I am
You gimme, gimme, gimme faith to believe that
When it hurts, there's a
real good reason
You let me be where I've been
So I can be all that I am
Better for it

Down low
Down in the broken
I found You
And I'm better for it

I'm better cause I'll never
Have to be the way I would be
Without You, without You
Leading me where You want me
I'm better cause I'll never
Have to be the way I would be
Without You, without You
Leading me where You want me

Gimme, gimme, gimme grace when I need it
Hindsight 20/20, now I see that
You let me be where I've been
So I can be all that I am
You gimme, gimme, gimme faith to believe that
When it hurts, there's a
real good reason
You let me be where I've been
So I can be all that I am
Better for it

Down low
Down in the broken
I found You
And I'm better for it
Down low
Down in the broken
I found You
And I'm better for it

Down low
Down in the broken
I found You
And I'm better for it
Down low
Down in the broken
I found You
And I'm better for it


Final Thoughts

God knows our brokenness inside and out, and because of what Jesus did on the Cross, He sees us as righteous. God sees us as He sees His Son. You can take comfort in these words from Philippians 3:8: "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things." After repeated listens, the truth of this song gets deeper into the recesses of your heart with the comforting messages of the Bible that God is love, and we love because He first loved us. When you are feeling down, remember these lyrics, "Funny how being down can make you look up, but now I'm better for it."

You can have joy and worship loudly about the love of God in your life. God promises us in His Word that His mercies are new every morning. Whatever struggle or depression you are facing you can know that God is with you, always. I can perfectly relate to every word Riley gorgeously sings in this song. The tendency as a believer is to focus on the blessings we've received from God and this song is a gut check of my faithfulness. If all of those things were removed from me, would I still understand that I'm blessed and cling to God for my security and hope?

Jesus commands us to trust God's Word completely, no matter our circumstances or personal distractions or concerns. God doesn't promise to spare us from pain, but we need to trust Him. You have to trust Him and wait on Him, wait for Him to orchestrate the plans for your life. We have nothing to bring to God, and maybe we expect something in return instead of recognizing that nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus. Faith is when we are empty of ourselves and filled with Him and His Holy Spirit. I can't get enough of the worshipful chorus, "When it hurts, there's a real good reason, You let me be where I've been, So I can be all that I am, Better for it."  Amen to that!

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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