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AN NRT EXCLUSIVE EDITORIAL
Blake Shelton Encounters "Bible Verses"
NRT Paul Phillips explores the greater conversation and hope in the country singer's new vulnerable ballad
 


AN NRT EXCLUSIVE EDITORIAL, Blake Shelton Encounters
Posted: May 13, 2021 | By: PaulPhillips_NRT
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Many mainstream faith songs evangelize God’s word, without truly getting the point across. However, country star Blake Shelton’s new song of faith, “Bible Verses” gets the point across, thus lending itself to both conversation and hope. This song isn't Blake's first time recording a faith-based song; In 2011, Blake Shelton released a cover of musician Dave Barnes's hit "God Gave Me You" on his album, Red River Blue.
 
About "Bible Verses," Blake says in a press release: “No matter where you are in your faith, there are times you feel like you just don’t measure up. ‘Bible Verses’ is an honest take on that conflict but, without preaching too much, it’s hopeful that everything will all work out in the end.”
 
Blake’s vulnerability dispels many lies and myths people have about God—especially about self-worth and self-judgment. Before I came to Christ, I was scared to come to the cross because I didn’t think God would want someone who wasn’t perfect. When it came to God’s standards, I couldn’t get anything right. I thought that if I went out with friends for a drink (“I woke up in last night's clothes/And it's whiskey on my lips/If God's lookin' down, I know/He's really lookin' down on this”), then I’d just disappoint God, and thus be damned. Not true at all. 

 

Romans 3:23: "All fall short"

Romans 3:23 points out that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But, this is the only truth that many people—including Christians—hang onto. There’s more to that verse: “and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Unfortunately, it’s this line of the passage that often gets ignored.
 
The “all fall short” misunderstandings keep you from knowing and following Christ. Romans 3:23 simply gives you the truth, but it doesn’t underline the grace. Romans 3:24 puts 3:23 in complete context.
 
Romans 3:24: “Justified freely by grace"

A foreign concept when I came to Christ was, “God wants a relationship with you.” To me, that’s a lot different than “Do as I do and what I say, or you’ll burn in hell.” (“I just want it to read/Like Bible verses/And not the Bible versus me.”)
 
Take Blake Shelton’s inspirational song as a challenge to embrace the gospel, to realize God wants to live life with you—not control you. He gave you free will. He wants you to have faith in Him. (“But I have faith that I can change/I keep prayin' for the day/That I can open up that good book/And heaven don't look/Like it's out of reach.”)
 
Don't try to meet impossible standards. Forget the lie of the only way to get to Christ is to be perfect. Impossible standards—flawless character and good works—are partitions that keep you separated from God. He wants you to come as you are—sins and everything. He wants to give you grace.
 
Grace is a free gift. It’s not one of those, “Buy now, pay later” deals. Jesus paid the price. He hung on a cross. He took the pain so you're free to live in a relationship with God. It means you don’t need to live up to impossible standards. 
 
John 3:16 says it best: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, he that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (“But Lord knows, I ain't measured/Up to what's inside/And they say that that's okay.”)
 
Lyrics
 
I ain't ever worn a halo
Don't suppose I ever will
As far as savin' me goes
It's a battle up a hill
But I keep climbin', tryin', fightin'

Got a King James in the dresser
And I take it out sometimes
But Lord knows, I ain't measured
Up to what's inside
And they say that that's okay
But I keep prayin' for the day

That I can open up that good book
And heaven don't look
Like it's out of reach
When it feels like those apostles
Are giving me the gospel
And not the third degree
I just want it to read
Like Bible verses
And not the Bible versus me

I woke up in last night's clothes
And it's whiskey on my lips
If God's lookin' down, I know
He's really lookin' down on this
But I have faith that I can change
I keep prayin' for the day

That I can open up that good book
And heaven don't look
Like it's out of reach
When it feels like those apostles
Are giving me the gospel
And not the third degree
I just want it to read
Like Bible verses
And not the Bible versus me

I'm just tryin' to give myself a little grace
'Til those words and me get on the same page

And I can open up that good book
And heaven don't look
Like it's out of reach
When it feels like those apostles
Are giving me the gospel
And not the third degree
I just want it to read
Like Bible verses
And not the Bible versus me


Final Thoughts

Unless you're talking about God, perfection is a myth. That means coming to God when you're perfect is also a myth. But, it doesn't end there. There's also no such thing as the perfect church (no matter how many times you might have been told this).

I like how author and pastor Nicky Gumbel, founder of the Alpha Course, says it:
 “Stop looking for the perfect church. It does not exist. Even if it did exist, the moment we joined it, it would no longer be perfect.” 

Strive for excellence, not perfection. Perfectionism is fuelled by fear and pride; it makes you obsessed against not wanting to make a mistake. It robs you of joy. Whereas excellence recognizes hard work, success, even failure. Excellence is allowing room for failure so that valuable learnings come from it.

If you, like me, struggle with perfectionism, leave it at the cross, you have more important tasks at hand. Find joy in your life and your relationship with Him.

Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 15 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.

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