BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#941 - "Who You Say I Am" by Hillsong Worship
Hillsong Worship's Ben Fielding shares the heart and story behind their latest praise anthem, "Who You Say I Am."
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #941 -
Posted: October 03, 2018 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Following up their standout worship album, Let There Be Light, which featured their popular, Grammy-winning song, "What a Beautiful Name," churches and believers around the world celebrated the release of Hillsong Worship’s latest album, There is More, earlier in the year, on April 6th. Don't miss out on this incredible worship album, one of the best of the year and my all-time favorite Hillsong album. Once again, they have released their newest "best" album.
 
I have consistently been blessed by each album from Hillsong Worship with their staples, "Mighty to Save," "Hosanna,” “Stronger," "Forever Reign," "Cornerstone," "Hope of the World," "God is Able," "This I Believe (The Creed)," "O Praise the Name (Anástasis)" and "What a Beautiful Name—all being sung at church worship services worldwide and putting the Word of God into the minds, mouths, and hearts of Christians everywhere. I had the chance to speak with Ben Fielding about the Brooke Fraser-led instant classic, "Who You Say I Am."


Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

"Who You Say I Am" was an incredible privilege to be a part of. I wrote the song with Reuben Morgan who is a great friend, and we have a great history of writing songs together. Reuben was back in Sydney and we spent time together writing and being together and talking about what was on our hearts that we wanted to write songs about that was important to us individually and for the church. A couple of the things we discussed was the fact that there is such a prevalence of people struggling with anxiety and stress. One of the top challenges that young people face is anxiety, over their careers or relationships or specific issues. We wanted to write a song that would speak to that, which is “Be Still.” Through that process, we wrote "Who You Say I Am" because we realized that it is so important to understand how God sees us, and what He says about us. It’s so important to go to the Scriptures and read who God says we are. The way we show God is determined by the way we know God.
 
The theme, "Who You Say I Am", is from John 8, which is, you will know, the truth and the truth will set you free. Jesus says, 'who the son sets free, is free indeed.’ It’s a real declaration of identity. When I introduced this song into our church, I read John 8, the Scripture this song is based on. It talks about how a slave has no place in the family. But, once we’ve been brought into the family, then we have this identity as part of God’s family and an identity of freedom. Our identity resides in knowing ourselves in Christ and living within the stability of knowing we are who God says we are.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

John 8:36 (NIV): "So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
 
Romans 8:31 (NIV): "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
 
John 1:12 (NIV): "Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
 
John 15:16 (NIV): "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you."
 
1 John 5:18 (NIV): "I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me.”
 
Colossians 2:10 (NIV): "I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power."
 
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV): "I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works."
 
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV): "I am an ambassador for Christ."

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV): "I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people."
 
What is the takeaway message?

Once our identity is grounded in Christ, and all that's been accomplished by Jesus, and all that God says about us, everything else becomes peripheral, like our careers. The central truth is that God has called us by name and given us our identities in His family. We hear that phrase, "I am a child of God” so often within our congregations that I believe we start to numb out the meaning of it, and how it applies to our everyday lives.

"Who the Son sets free is free indeed" is a Scripture about freedom and identity. You are a child of God. That can never be threatened or taken from you. As a believer, the truth of this song changes the way I live out my faith. We were passionate to give the church a song that says that God is for them and He thinks the world of them. While everything around you and about you changes, this is the one thing about yourself that will stay constant. You are chosen by a God who loves you deeply. He is a God who is for you and is never against you. He is a God who has plans for you to prosper. He is a God who wants a relationship with you. He is a God who will never let you down.

The theme of the song is, "I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who You say I am." God has chosen us and the fact that we are in a position where we know God and be reconciled to Him. The challenge of the song is the idea that we have been set right because of the comprehensive work of Jesus. You can stand before Him as chosen, and not forsaken. You haven’t been left on your own. He is running towards us.
 
Lyrics:
Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh, His love for me
Oh, His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

Free at last He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes, He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

I am chosen, not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me, not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen, not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me, not against me
I am who You say I am
I am who You say I am

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am


In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes, I am

 
Closing Thoughts

If you’ve always enjoyed Hillsong’s corporate worship anthems, you’re in for a treat with, This is More. It has a great balance of male and female-led vocals and it is chock-full of songs for the Church, and songs for personal reflection and worship. The album is loaded with several stirring new worship songs that really set me in the proper mindset to praise God. He loves me so much that He gave His life away for all that was lost. I really enjoy the exciting musical vibe of this album. And, the melodies are catchy and the lyrics are prayerful. This is More is loaded with stellar vocals, catchy melodies and solid lyrics reflecting unashamed faith in Jesus.
 
God explains love in 1st John 4:19: "We love because He first loved us." God's love was given at an outrageous cost—the life of His only begotten Son. Not only should we love God because He first loved us, but we should also love others unconditionally because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We can't earn grace, and we can't do anything to gain life other than accept Jesus. What if we lived as though we believe the sincere words of this song? Jesus loves us so much that He came down and took our punishment, so that we can be with Him forever. "Who You Say I Am" is one of my favorite songs for 2018. I can't get enough of the Biblical truth of the song. And, I love when artists take Gods' Word from the Bible and turn it into a great and catchy song filled with truth. I sing "Who You Say I Am" to God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.
 
As this song proclaims, "You are for me, not against me." You can rest upon the Scripture: "If our God is for us, who can stand against us?” (Romans 8:31). Nothing can separate us from His love. For the Son has risen, and sin and death are conquered. "Who You Say I Am" is filled with great statements of faith, celebrating our freedom in Christ: "Who the Son sets free, Oh is free indeed, I'm a child of God, Yes, I am, In my Father's house, There's a place for me, I'm a child of God, Yes, I am." This is a great message and song for us to celebrate our freedom based on our faith in Christ Jesus. Make the lyrics of this bridge your prayer: "I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who You say I am, You are for me, not against me, I am who You say I am." 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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