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#1060 - "Next to Me" by Jordan Feliz
NRT's Kevin Davis talks to the artist about the inspiration behind his latest hit

Posted: March 09, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Christian contemporary artist Jordan Feliz's debut full-length project, The River, helped put the artist on the map. The album features the very recognizable hit single and We Love Award-winning Song of the Year, "The River." Since then, Jordan has released other hit songs, such as “Never Too Far Gone,” “Best of Me,” “Witness,” and “Faith.”

Jordan's music has great energy and infectious enthusiasm. I can't help but worship along loudly in spirit and in truth. His songs are celebratory messages of faith: 
God's grace washes us clean in the river of His Holy Spirit, and we become a new creation in Christ.

The artist's latest release Say It, a nominee for a We Love Award for Album of the Year and one of my Top 5 Albums of 2020, includes the upbeat hit songs, “
Glorify” and “Next to Me." I had the chance to speak with Jordan about “Next to Me.”

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

“Next to Me” is about a struggle I feel like I’ve had my entire life. The constant struggle of wanting to do things in my own strength. When I and other songwriters were creating this song, I always referred to Psalm 145:18-19: “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.” This verse is a promise that God is here; He’s near us all the time.

This world can trick our minds into thinking somehow, we can make things better on our own. Or, we don’t have to invite Jesus into our circumstances. This song is a reminder that He’s right here, next to us. Next to us in our hurt. Next to us in our joy. Next to us in our suffering. He’s never left your side, and He never will.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV): "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."

Psalm 150:6 (NKJV): "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!"

Psalm 145:1-3 (NKJV): I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 145:10-12 (VOICE): "All creation will stand in awe of You, O Eternal One. Thanks will pour from the mouths of every one of Your creatures; Your holy people will bless You. They will not be silent; they will talk of the grandeur of Your kingdom and celebrate the wonder of Your power. Until everyone on earth who has ears to hear knows Your valiant acts and the splendor of Your kingdom."

Psalm 121:7-8 (NKJV): “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, and even forevermore.”
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."
What is the takeaway message?

“Next to Me” is a push to give God all your baggage, ego, control, and whatever else you think you should hideaway. Because, when you surrender everything to the Father, you find yourself closer to Him than you ever thought possible. With these songs, I want to encourage people to talk more about the beauty and the miracles that God does in our lives when we invite Him into our struggles. For me, this record is all about what God has done in my life.
The album cover for Say It is a reminder that our true focus should be building God's kingdom every day with our actions, words, and worship. True, life can give temporary fulfillment with money, trophies, clothes, jewelry, and otherworldly trinkets. But, nothing fills us more than letting the world's treasures fade and fall, and, instead, lifting up the name above all names, Jesus.

We were meant to thrive in the world. But, we’re not meant to live in it forever. It’s okay to feel out of place. It’s okay to feel like you’re not okay right now. It’s okay to have all those feelings because we’re human, and we’re meant for heaven; we were created for that.

I’ve been empty
When I'm low You fill the cup
Yeah, But my ego
Fights back telling me that
I’m ready to grab the wheel
And take control
But I’ll crash
If I don’t
Let myself let go
You put the X
On my faded map
Draw me a line
Back to where You’re at
Patient when I try
To move to fast
I get this feeling
I get this feeling
I get this feeling
In my spirit way down low
I hear it calling
Like a compass in my soul
Saying child come on back now
You’ve been gone too long
Let me lead you back
Where you belong
Right next to Me
Right next to Me
I’ve been captive
By the plans I try to make
I’ve been selfish
Cause callus hearts they die hard
Like habits
That I know I gotta break
Ain’t it good to know
That help is on the way
You put the X
On my faded map
Draw me a line
Back to where you’re at
Patient when I try
To move to fast
I get this feelin
I get this feelin
I get this feeling
In my spirit way down low
I hear it calling
Like a compass in my soul
Saying child come on back now
You’ve been gone too long
Let me lead you back
Where you belong
Right next to Me
Oh, You know I tried
To do it on my own
Oh, You say it’s time
For me to come back home
Right next to me
I get this feeling
In my spirit way down low
I hear it calling
Like a compass in my soul
Saying child come on back now
You’ve been gone too long
Let me lead you back
Where you belong
I get this feeling
In my spirit way down low
I hear it calling
Like a compass in my soul

Saying child come on back now
You’ve been gone too long
Let me lead you back
Where you belong
Right next to Me
Right next to Me
Closing Thoughts
With a probing spiritual curiosity and imaginative, self-examining lyrics, Say It solidifies Jordan Feliz’s place among the finest song crafters of his day. His poignant songwriting is coupled with musical excellence as each song urges me to better see God.

“Next to Me," specifically, connects with listeners who like catchy songs filled with truth and a yearning for God. This song is a faith statement. Righteousness was accredited to Abraham for his faith. We need to have the faith that the Bible describes in Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

When you sing along with this great song, think of Matthew 8:26 where Jesus asks, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" So, have faith, don't be afraid, and know that, with Jesus, you'll never be alone. The song's message challenges us to think about our own doubts. It challenges us to examine how Jesus calls us to rely on Him and the power of His resurrection. And, to remember that He has overcome death and fear.
Not only should we love God because He first loved us, but we should also love others unconditionally. Because, while we are still sinners, Christ died for us. That's a wonderful testimony to the truth of God's Word, which consistently tells us to not be afraid. But to be bold and unashamed of the gospel.

We can't earn grace. We can't do anything to gain life other than accepting Jesus. We're not supposed to just hope the gospel is true. Or, to turn to the Lord as our last resort. We need to turn to Him and be washed by the truth of God's Word daily. Build your life on scripture, and you'll have a rock as your foundation as you navigate your life.

This song is filled with truth that believers can cling to. What if we lived as though as we believed the sincere words of this song? When I listen to "Next to Me," I wonder if I'm truly recognizing that Jesus is my Lord regardless of how I'm feeling or what I'm going through. Remind yourself that Jesus loves you so much that He came down and took your punishment so that you could be with Him forever.

This song is an offer of true release that we can sing with all our hearts in response to God: “I get this feeling in my spirit way down low/I hear it calling like a compass in my soul/Saying child come on back now, you’ve been gone too long/Let me lead you back where you belong/Right next to Me.” 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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