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#1090 - "Surviving the Game" by Skillet
The iconic rock band shares the inspiration behind their latest smash hit

Posted: October 07, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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This long-awaited new song “Surviving the Game” by Skillet from their upcoming album, Dominion, has captivated my spirit. It's been a treat for me to watch their meteoric ascent into one of rock's biggest bands in the world and the incredible successtheir last five albums, ComatoseAwakeRiseUnleashed and Victorious. Each album has reached another level of popularity. 
Over the past several years, I've had the opportunity to speak with Skillet’s lead singer John Cooper about several songs from their prior albums, including "Awake and Alive," "One Day Too Late" and "Lucy," "American Noise,"  “Stars,” “The Resistance,” “Anchor,” and “Terrify the Dark.” And with each discussion, we've built on how John’s biblical life verses Romans 8:38-39 have shaped his songwriting.
I had the chance to speak with John again about the band’s latest hit, “Surviving the Game,” our 14th Behind the Song discussion.

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
This song and this new record’s theme are connected. But we didn’t set out to make a thematic album. There’s a lot that God has been showing me this past year and a half. And I prayed that God would give me songs to speak to this moment that we’re living in. 
We, as a band, always feel like God has inspired our songs, and that we’re singing about something that matters. And that’s what’s happening with this album in a big way. It feels like more than just writing what is on our hearts.
"Surviving the Game" makes me feel like a bull about to come out of the gate. Within the first 30 seconds of the song, you're taken on a journey that begins with uncertainty and trepidation, which leads to an explosion of energy and life. That sums up how I see the future. This has been a tough season, and we’re not yet through the storm.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Romans 8:37 (NKJV): “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Hosea 11:10 (NIV): "They will follow the LORD; He will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the west."

Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV): "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV): "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV): “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Acts 5:29 (NKJV): “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
2 Corinthians 10:2-5 (NIV): "I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world; we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us."

John 10:10 (ESV): "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

John 16:33 (NIV): "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV): "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
What is the takeaway message?
Defiance is the record’s theme. Dominion is a very defiant record. Defiance towards many things, including fear. Fear doesn’t just manipulate you. But makes you think irrationally and forget things that you know. I have found that in my own life. 
Literal things like pandemics and lockdowns, and spiritual things like depression, alcoholism, and suicidal thoughts and actions. Our anchor is Christ. He will set you free when you are close to the prince of peace. Without Him, I don’t know how people get by. 
This record is defiance against groupthink, and people having to compromise what they believe. It is also defiance against a secular influence taking over culture and even the church, which is feeling less biblical in many ways. 
As Christians, we can’t be comfortable with pluralism. I do think there are Christians who don’t know that pluralism is not the goal, but the Lordship of Christ over the nations. The church hasn’t done a great job of vision casting the Lordship of Christ and what that means.
We need hope, we need grit, and we will survive. I hope that when people hear "Surviving the Game" it will be the song they've been waiting for. I am ready to give up my career for the Gospel. I’m willing to lay down my life for the Gospel. If the whole world decides they hate me and won’t listen to Skillet, that’s fine. 
This is the moment, and I realized that it is time to lay it on the line and call things what they are, including ideologies coming into the church that isn’t aligned with God’s Word, and that’s what being demon defiant is about. 
The encouragement is that we are more than conquerors in Christ. The reason that is encouraging is that the battle isn’t ours, Christ ultimately wins the battle. The church needs to be clear about what we believe.
To be more than a conqueror
You have to learn
To enjoy the pain
If you want
To survive the game
You can try to defeat me
You don't know it's the
Pain that'll feed me
And I'm gonna take back
What you took me for
'Cause I was born for this
All the bones that you're breaking
You pretend that you're
The one that can save me
Now I'm takin' it back
It was never yours
I'm fighting
Fighting' for my focus
Give the pain a purpose
Light the fire inside
Feel it come alive
Show 'em what I'm made of
Victory's for the brave ones
Who never bowed the knee
When it's do or die
One more time
Surviving the game
I can be unstoppable
Gonna walk through hell
Gonna shake the walls
Survive, surviving the game
Living the impossible
I'm the champion, indestructible
Survive, 'cause I'm surviving the game
I can be unstoppable
Gonna be indestructible
I can be unstoppable
Gonna be indestructible
All the liars around me
Like the wolves of
The walls that surround me
In the face of the fear
I keep standing tall
'Cause I will conquer this
Knock me down like a lion
I was born to be demon defiant
And I won't ever
Let this kingdom fall
I'll show 'em
Show 'em what you're made of
Victory's for the brave ones
Never bow the knee
'Cause it's do or die
One more time
Surviving the game
I can be unstoppable
Gonna walk through hell
Gonna shake the walls
Survive, surviving the game
Living the impossible
I'm the champion, indestructible
Survive, 'cause I'm surviving the game
I am more than a conqueror
The past behind me, life is ahead

I'll take the way of the warrior
I won't allow no fear to the death
One more time
Surviving the game
I can be unstoppable
Gonna walk through hell
Gonna shake the walls
Survive, surviving the game
Living the impossible
I'm the champion, indestructible
Survive, 'cause I'm surviving the game
Survive, surviving the game
Survive, surviving the game
Living the impossible
I'm the champion, indestructible
Survive, 'cause I'm surviving the game
I can be unstoppable
Gonna be indestructible
I can be unstoppable
Gonna be indestructible
Closing Thoughts
"Surviving the Game" 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 as believers. This song is a powerful expression of what it means to accept that God never leaves or forsakes us. He is all we need.
In this era of political uncertainty, the cry of my heart is to be a citizen of heaven and to serve my King Jesus. We, as a church, need to provide for the people who need us. This song lights a fire in Christians to know and proclaim what we stand for—no matter what the world tells us to do. So, don't compromise. Don't forsake God or be ashamed of the Gospel. Stand up for what you believe. 
There is an infectious urgency to this song. As we live in these last days, it's very important to think about what you would be found doing if the Lord were to return today. Love is the answer. Not only should we love God because He first loved us, but we should also love others unconditionally. 
The song’s message challenges us to think about our own doubts. To think about how Jesus calls us to rely on Him and the power of His resurrection. And to remember that He has overcome death and fear. 
No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that can help you remember that He truly came to die to set you free.
Have joy and worship loudly about the love of God in your life. His grace takes away anxiety, guilt, and shame. Know that being His is enough. We can face our daily battles with more courage and strength knowing that He’s with us. 
Because we know this truth, whatever the outcome, which is based on His promise in Romans 8:28: "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." We're all united in our struggles and spiritual warfare, as well as in our desire for truth and relationship.
Ask yourself, “what am I wasting my time on?” “What am I doing with my life?” Think about what you’re doing for His Kingdom. And, as a believer, you can live out the words: “I am more than a conqueror/The past behind me, life is ahead/I'll take the way of the warrior/I won't allow no fear to the death/One more time.” Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a long-time 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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