#968 - "Whole Heart (Hold Me Now)" by Hillsong UNITED
Taya Smith and Aodhan King of Hillsong UNITED speak with NRT's Kevin Davis about the biblical inspirations behind their latest worldwide worship anthem.

Posted: April 24, 2019 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Following up their standout worship album Wonder, which featured their popular song, "So Will I (100 Billion X)," churches and believers around the world celebrate the release of People (Live) on April 26th. Don't miss out on this incredible worship album, one of the best of the year and my all-time favorite Hillsong UNITED album. Once again they have released their newest "best" album.
If you've always enjoyed Hillsong UNITED's corporate worship anthems, you're in for a treat with this album. 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. People is loaded with several stirring new worship songs that really set me in the proper mindset to praise God for loving 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. The album features stellar vocals, catchy melodies and solid lyrics reflecting unashamed faith in Jesus.
I have consistently been blessed by each album from Hillsong UNITED with their staples "Hosanna," "Lead Me To The Cross," "Oceans," "Touch the Sky" and "Scandal of Grace" 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 Taya Smith and Aodhan King about "Whole Heart (Hold Me Now)."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

Aodhan: I started writing the song with Joel Houston, and we were trying to find a theme that was so central to what we believed but haven't spoken a lot about. I think this song totally fits that description. One of the things we sometimes forget is that we were broken and that God died for us so that we could be whole and healed. Jesus went to the cross with our sins and died and He carried everything we had done and would do in the future to the cross so that we could live with Him forever. Joel and I wrestled with that theme and at one point completely changed the lyrics to the song. It's so significant from the things we experience in life, whether emotional heartbreaks or the truth of what Jesus did for us, that affect our hearts. We changed the lyrics many times to try to get the song just right. 
Taya: I can attest to that! As I was learning to sing the song, Aodhan would let me know some lyrics were changing and I would ask him which part, and it was often that pretty much the whole song had changed. Aodhan and Joel wanted to find just the right way to say this message.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 119:11 (NIV): "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."

1 Peter 2:24 (NIV): "He himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; By His wounds you have been healed."

John 15:13 (NKJV): "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

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."

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV): "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

1 John 3:1 (NKJV): "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."

1 John 4:18 (NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
What is the takeaway message?

Aodhan: In that 1st Peter passage, it says "by His wounds we are healed," and that unlocked how this song talks about being healed and being whole. We were singing that chorus, "Once I was broken, but You loved my whole heart through," and the song started as I give You my whole heart, and it became about how He makes our hearts whole. When Jesus rose from the dead, He showed us that His love and His grace pursues us. He gives us the opportunity to be healed and forgiven.
Taya: Those lyrics speak to me very deeply. I love how Aodhan and Joel dug deep to find the right words to express how we respond to what Jesus has done for us. I love the honesty of this song. In the Psalms, David doesn't say everything is always okay, but he says "why is my soul downcast within me?" At times he feels like God's face is away from him, but he says it before the Lord which is a safe place for us to express our feelings to God. Even though he laments, he then expresses how good God is and he praises Him for His character. I love that honesty because people can connect with that. I love that God doesn't just heal us a little bit, but His plan and purpose for us is that He loves us completely and love our whole hearts through as the song sings. Until we see Him, He is the author and finisher of our faith and He works through us until we see Him face to face. If we completely surrender to Him, He will love our whole hearts until we are made whole. That is a continued reminder for whatever season you are in. If you are in a valley of heartbreak, or someone in your family is away from God, you can pray for surrender to Him, He will work in and through your situations. As the song says, "Healed and forgiven, Look where my chains are now, Death has no hold on me, 'Cause Your grace holds that ground, and Your grace holds me now." God's grace holds the ground that was once held by shame or pain. I love that picture. Each of us have a different journey, and I love how we can connect our stories to the message of this song.

Hold me now
In the hands that created the heavens
Find me now
Where the grace runs as deep as Your scars
You pulled me from the clay
Set me on a rock
Called me by Your Name
And made my heart whole again
Lifted up
And my knees know it's all for Your glory
That I might stand
With more reasons to sing than to fear
You pulled me from the clay
Set me on a rock
Called me by Your Name
And made my heart whole again
So here I stand
High in surrender
I need You now
Hold my heart
Now and forever
My soul cries out
Once I was broken
But You loved my whole heart through
Sin has no hold on me
'Cause Your grace holds me now
And that grace
Owns the ground where the grave did
Where all my shame remains
Left for dead in Your wake
You crashed those age-old gates
You left no stone unturned
You stepped out of that grave
And shouldered me all the way
Once I was broken
But You loved my whole heart through
Sin has no hold on me
'Cause Your grace holds me now
Healed and forgiven
Look where my chains are now
Death has no hold on me
'Cause Your grace holds that ground
And Your grace holds me now

Closing Thoughts
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 accepting Jesus. Before we were saved, we were dead in our sins. We were lost, and then God found us, and now we are alive in Christ. He desires us to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love one another. That's how we can show our adoration and thankfulness for what God has done for us.
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. This is one of my favorite songs of the year. 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 this song to God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. This song is a great way to thank Jesus for the undeserved gift of grace which we celebrate at Easter. Grace could stand for God's Riches At Christ's Expense. "He became sin Who knew no sin, that we might become His righteousness."
The message of this song challenges listeners to think about our own doubts and how Jesus calls us to rely on Him and the power of His resurrection, to remember that He has overcome death and fear. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that helps us remember that Jesus truly came to die and rose to set us free. This song reminds us of our standing before God. We know what love is because God is love. He showed us His love when Jesus laid down His life for us, and He gave us His whole heart. Make the lyrics of this song your prayer, "Once I was broken, But You loved my whole heart through, Sin has no hold on me, 'Cause Your grace holds me now." 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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