Welcome to the start of a new devotional series here at NewReleaseToday titled Built On The Rock!
Have you ever been talking to someone about your favorite metal or rock bands, and then they drop "the" question? The "Are they a Christian band?" question. It is not a bad question to ask, but often the answer of "yes" or "no" is a deterrent. I want to offer a different perspective on this topic. Let us just focus on some of the more faith-evident and relevant songs for Christians from an artist and dig into what the meanings and challenges of those songs have for us.
The thoughts shared on the songs come from various sources, whether it be from myself, a band member, or other writers and friends. My vision for this series is that even if you do not fully agree with how band members live their lives, the style of their music or labels they have, you can still find songs of theirs that are encouraging or thought provoking.
Songs: "Redemption", "Provision", "Count It All As Lost", "Existence", "Boys of Fall"
This song is a vulnerable and honest writing of Jake Luhr's Testimony. Jake wrote his heart out in this song and many of the lyrics are relatable, yet also challenging for Christians. We see the cry of a broken man realizing his need for a Savior in lines such as, "I am just a man. With a heart and sinful hands. I am a fallen victim." and "Lord, show me the way. Let my words be Your words. Let my thoughts be Your thoughts." Some Christians have never shared their testimony with others, let alone with other non-Christians who need to hear of the hope and love we have in Christ. Maybe this song can be a challenge for you to simply write down how you feel and believe about Jesus, leading to a tool to use in evangelizing later.
In a recent conversation I had with Matthew Greiner, he explained how several years back, he was a victim in a Ponzi scheme. He lost a lot of money and was hurt by what happened to him. The experience, along with the emotions and thoughts of the aftermath, led to writing this song. The cutting words of the bridge say, "I'm just as much the problem as the man behind bars. He did with his business what I do in my heart." This is such a convicting look at our sin, one that we often avoid. One person's sin is not any greater than another in God's eyes. Because of this truth, we can also sing the last words of the song, "You've given me this nightmare to wake me up. You say, 'Take pride in the provision'. You've given me more than enough." Matthew 6:33 reminds us that God is our true Provision. Do you truly rely on God to be your ultimate Provider?
3: "Count It All As Lost"
When we face difficult times in life, we often try to get through it on our own or fix the problems without help. We end up hurting ourselves or others more in the process. We might even ask the same question the song does, "How must a broken man fix his brokenness if he's not the answer?" As you listen to this song, you hear the struggle of realizing you can not make it through life alone. True hope, instead, comes from giving your struggles and control of life over to God. We hear, "So I'm going at it with your strength instead of mine. Please be my strength. I need you here" and this submissive call to God should be our call every day. Philippians 3:8 claims this truth as well. So, what are you facing in your life that you have not yet submitted to God? Going at it with His strength will be much better than on your own.
Have you ever been hurt by the church or Christians? Has it left you expecting only more hurt and trouble from them, so you avoid them at all costs? Many experience that, and this song offers a new perspective on that hurt. It gives credibility to the victimized with, "You're hurt. You're broken. That's alright. That makes us who we are." At the same time, this song reminds the victims, and the church, that, "The walls of a church don't make it holy. It's what's authentic that completes the sum of it's parts." Just because it is a church building, it does not guarantee perfect people, sadly. It is important to remember that even you have been hurt or hurt someone, even in the church, the challenge is, "Don't excuse yourself from life today on the pretense of your past..." Being authentic in life and in faith, will bring you to realize that it is okay to be hurt and broken, but to always move forward. If you have rejected help because of your past, maybe this is a call to accept it and move on.
5: "Boys of Fall"
Matthew Greiner's experience with grief and death. On 1/16/11 four boys from Manheim died in a car crash in his home town, this lead him to write this song (and the song 1/16/11). In intense times of sorrow, many question the same questions in this song that ask, "Is there a way to live again when there's nowhere to run? Is there a way to live again through this dark tragedy?" The crucial message of the song is that you do not have to face your pain and struggles in life alone. Matthew explained how when the town people gathered together and realized they were all experiencing hurt, they had each other still. Having other people with you to encourage and strengthen you is key to healing and community. This is emphasized with the lyric, "When you've lost your way, when you have no words, we are your strength, when you don't have anymore." Even stronger than that bond, is the dependence on God's Sovereignty in life. May we all have the mindset shared in this song that proclaims, "He is God. We are just men. Who are we to question?" Community is vital for humanity, and August Burns Red makes it a point to repeat this truth loud and clear through many of their songs for us to hear.
I wanna give a shout-out to Sean of KingdomCore on Facebook and Instagram for assisting me with this! Check out KingdomCore for some great highlights in Christian-based rock and metal.
Ryan Adams grew up in Boise, Idaho for most of his life. He fell in love with rock and metal music through his high school best friend. He currently lives in Ohio and loves sharing his passion of music with NewReleaseToday.
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