Having written Behind the Song devotional articles for the past 13 years, I’m often drawn to songs that challenge me to grow in my faith and to allow the Holy Spirit to, as Romans 8:11 puts it, “cast the light of life into our mortal bodies.”
In fact, songs based on Romans 8:11 have become a constant source of inspiration for me as I’ve prayed for spiritual growth. Also, I’m drawn to songs that celebrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23.
God’s looking for spiritual growth from His followers. He wants us to be born again. Many songs celebrate the freedom we have in Christ when we’re born again. In today's culture, it’s radical for people to accept heaven’s entrance requirements—repentance and spiritual rebirth.
Are you allowing God to grow you spiritually? Look at the fallen world around you. Lift your eyes up to God. And, put all your faith and hope in Him.
Here’s a collection of some of my favorite songs that are prayers of submission asking God to send His helper and comforter to draw us closer to Him. Amen to that.
Aryn Michelle “Do the Same”
This great song stirs my heart and increases my convictions to grow closer to God. It challenges me to think more of others and to share Christ more than to focus on myself. The cost of discipleship is to make Him the Lord of our lives.
The song's bridge completely wrecks me: "You came to seek and to save, a rebel heart, a wayward slave, so let me live a life worthy of Your name." What a powerful expression of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He is all we need. Join in with Aryn as she prays out to Jesus: "You didn't rise from the grave to keep me safe/You did it all so that I could do the same."
Misty Edwards “Little Bird”
Misty trusts in the Lord throughout this song offering her younger self advice based on the biblical phrasing, "His eye is on the sparrow, His eye is on you." “Little Bird” is a sacrifice of praise as she prays, “Little girl, little girl, with the big round eyes/Life, life is a vapor/But the brevity is what makes it a treasure/So feel it all, like a love letter to the One who you'll live with forever." Misty pours her heart out in every single song, which allows listeners to eavesdrop on her expressing her deep feelings, insecurities, and desires for holiness directly to God.
Matthew West “Truth be Told”
The strong message, “Lie number one/You're supposed to have it all together/And when they ask how you're doing/Just smile and tell them never better” invites you into the biblical truth spoken in James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” Don’t pretend that “you’re fine.” Lean on others to help you heal accordingly. True healing comes from true community.
Building 429 “Blessing I Can't See”
You can know, in all things, "Every setback was a setup/For something greater that You had in store/All along you've seen beyond the storm/So when I struggle/I will trust You more." Only Jesus can give us our true identities in Him. What a powerful expression of what it means to accept that God never leaves or forsakes us. He is all we need. Join in with the band and sing along in faith, "I trust You in everything/I trust You in everything, oh God."
Cody Carnes “Run to the Father”
We sometimes put up a wall between us and God. Many of us feel that we're not worthy of being near God and that He's using a checklist to determine our worthiness. That's not the Gospel. The Good News of the Gospel, which this song perfectly portrays, says God accepts us no matter what we've done. He just wants us to come home to Him.
As the song says, "I run to the Father, I fall into grace/I'm done with the hiding/No reason to wait/And my heart found a surgeon/My soul found a friend/So I'll run to the Father/Again and again, and again and again." What a wonderful, encouraging truth.
Tenth Avenue North “Greater Than All My Regrets”
You'll never see true beauty if you don't fully submit to God. Our weaknesses are nothing to hide. In fact, because of our weaknesses, God's grace and strength are perfectly revealed.
Jesus commands each of us to trust Him completely. Trusting Jesus assures us that we don't have to be afraid. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God loves us so much. That He knows us intimately and wants to fill our hearts with love.
We don't have to pretend, hide, strive, or stand on our tiptoes to meet some mark. He knows our brokenness inside and out. And because of what Jesus did on the cross, He sees us as righteous. God sees us as He sees His Son.
It's not our righteousness or appearance or talent or gifting, it’s just Jesus. That's a cause to celebrate and sing out the truth: "So if I fall and if I fail/I will trust Your mercy is greater than all of this/And if I bend and if I break/I'll trust the Hands that hold me/Are greater than all my regrets."
The Afters “I Will Fear No More”
This song is a daily prayer asking God to come and change our hearts and change our lives in such a way that our behavior and the way we live flows from God living inside of us.
I have adopted this anthem as my daily prayer: "No power can come against me/'Cause You have overcome/No darkness can overwhelm me/'Cause You've already won." Join in with the band and sing along in faith, "When the wind and waves are coming/You shelter me/Even though I'm in the storm/The storm is not in me."
Big Daddy Weave “All Things New”
For the saved in Christ, as Revelation 21:4 puts it: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
We serve a loving and merciful God who accepts us as we are, not who we pretend to be. I love singing this song back to Jesus, telling Him plainly that I need no other than Him. Pray along, “You make all things new/You make all things new/God of mercy and love/Do what only You can do and make all things/All things, You make all things new.”
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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