BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#1003 - "I'm Leaning On You" by Crowder
NRT's Lead Contributor, Kevin Davis, speaks with David Crowder about the Biblical inspirations and themes behind his latest single, "I'm Leaning On You."
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #1003 -
Posted: January 27, 2020 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Crowder's songs are some of the most popular in modern worship music. Many of his songs are sung by millions in churches around the world, including recent staples "How He Loves," "Come as You Are," "Here's My Heart," "My Victory" and "All My Hope."
 
Following the success of Neon Steeple, including a Dove Award & the top-charting radio singles "I Am," "Come as You Are," and "Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)," and American Prodigal, featuring "Run Devil Run" and "My Victory," Crowder released I Know a Ghost which features the hit single, "Red Letters."
 
Crowder introduced the world to a new genre of music known as "folktronica," or a mixture of acoustic sounds and electronic beats. Don't miss the opportunity to see Crowder and his band sing his incredible songs on Winter Jam. I had the chance to speak with David Crowder in-person before Winter Jam in Reading, PA about his new single, "I'm Leaning on You" which also features vocals by Riley Clemmons.

 

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and we sang "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" constantly and it was one of my favorite songs as a kid. We would often close out our church service with that song. I don't think we remind ourselves enough that when things get rough, just like the childlike faith we had as kids, that we can lean on Jesus. It's as simple as that. We need to sing that when we are kids and when we are adults. After you've gone through a bit of life, that's a necessity. I was researching the hymn and it turns out that the guy who wrote it, Anthony Showalter, was a school teacher and he had received letters from his former students saying that their wives had died, and in writing letters of consolation, Showalter was inspired by the phrase in Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." That's where I started from in writing this song. I'm trying to say something that inspired me as a kid which is simplistic and childlike in faith, and at the same time with deep-rooted truth. It's more than just propositional truth now, it's something meaningful and true in my life, being able to say that now.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Romans 8:31 (NKJV): "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV): "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV): "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions---it is by grace you have been saved."

1 Corinthians 1:27 (VOICE): "But celebrate this: God selected the world's foolish to bring shame upon those who think they are wise; likewise, He selected the world's weak to bring disgrace upon those who think they are strong."

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
 
What is the takeaway message?

In your deepest and saddest moments, you can lean on Jesus and know that He is there for you. The truth of Romans 8:38-39 expressed in the song and the confidence we can have in knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God, is the difference between the propositional truth I believed as a kid, and my experiential knowledge now as an adult. I can now testify to the truth. You can count on that and know with certainty that nothing can separate us from God's love. The takeaway message is that there is a difference between faith and belief. You can believe it's going to rain and not take your umbrella with you. Faith is grabbing your umbrella when you walk outside. Having this proposition that I'm confident that nothing can separate us, you need to act out on that confidence and have faith that is true. If you look at my catalog of songs, it can seem like I'm singing the same thing in different songs, and that's because I need to hear it as well.
 
Lyrics:
Jesus, take the beauty from the pain
Jesus, lift these weary hands again
Turn the silence into songs of praise
Jesus, I'm leaning on Your name
 
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
 
When no one else can help me, Jesus can
Every other name is sinking sand
And even when my heart don't understand
Jesus, I will trust You even then
 
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
 
I'm convinced that nothing can ever
Separate us from God's love
Neither death, nor life, no power on earth
Can separate us
 
Oh, I'm confident that nothing can ever
Separate us from God's great love
Neither death, nor life, no power on earth
You promised us
 
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You
I'm leaning on You

 
Closing Thoughts
 
Jesus promises us in Matthew 11:29-30 that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Jesus came to claim us and set us free from the burden of sin and give us rest. When we are in communion with Jesus, it is joyful and not a burden. "I'm Leaning on You" is a celebration of God's love, despite our brokenness. The song challenges me to think about what I'm allowing to rule in my heart, instead of giving myself completely to God.
 
Jesus died on the cross to set us free from the battle of our minds, from sin and death. And, He wants us to have abundant life in Him. What a wonderful, encouraging truth. God knows us intimately. And, because of what Jesus did on the cross, He sees us as holy, righteous, redeemed, chosen, fully known and forgiven no matter what you've done. If you've put all your hope and trust in Jesus, there's nothing that can separate you from His love. If you think about the type of faith we are called to have as believers, it is described as the faith of a mustard seed.
 
Being a Christian means that we walk by faith, not by sight. Faith requires us to rely on the unseen. We all walk by faith every day. The beauty of walking by faith and not by sight is that we can learn to more fully trust God with our lives. The song reflects that truth beautifully with the lyrics, "I'm convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love, neither death nor life, no power on earth can separate us."

This song has become my personal anthem, and I sing along at the top of my lungs the sincere and emotive lyrics of submission in the refrain. God tells us in the Bible that with faith, we can do anything in Christ. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song filled with biblical truth. His love is never-ending, and He is our refuge and our strength. God sees us as He sees His Son. He knows our names, and He loves us so much that He came to die for us. Jesus invites us to come to Him, and He'll give us rest. Grace is freely given and isn't something we can earn by our good works. It is a gift from God by faith in Christ Jesus. 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.
 
As believers, heaven is calling our name. He is real, He is near and He is just a breath away. He is the author of our lives and knows what's best for us--much better than we do. That's reason to sing this empowering anthem at the top of our lungs in gratefulness to Him. If you are looking for a firm foundation in your life, make these lyrics your personal prayer: "When no one else can help me, Jesus can, Every other name is sinking sand, And even when my heart don't understand, Jesus, I will trust You even then." 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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