Kevin Davis continues his series examining the biblical inspirations of some of the biggest hit songs in Christian music.
One of Christian music’s top-selling rock bands, GRAMMY®-nominated Skillet returns with its latest recording capturing the raw energy and multi-textured sonic landscape for which they have become known. A mixture of dissonant chords, anthemic builds and memorable vocal interpretation combine to form a progressive, yet classic rock-influenced sound that’s all their own. Skillet’s straightforward message and innovative sound has garnered the band seven #1 songs and an avid fan base.
Experience pounding, classically influenced rock with a progressive edge, colored by dissonant chords, and gutsy vocals are all found on Skillet’s latest release, Awake. Relevant, innovative and unforgettable, Skillet continues its tradition of a straightforward, in-your-face gospel message of hope.
I got the great opportunity to interview John Cooper about his song “Awake & Alive,” the title song from Awake. You can listen to our entire interview here.
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
Tying in with “Hero,” “Awake And Alive” is about feeling like you’re falling under from all the stresses of life. Even though you feel like everyone around you is trying to take your hope away from you, no one has the right to do that and you shouldn’t allow those negative influences to weigh you down. Live what you believe and don’t be afraid to stand up for your faith. The song is about the idea that every day you wake up, there’s a war for our souls.
For Christians, there is a metaphorical war with the world. As a father of two young children, I've noticed they started getting into Disney from age 2, for example. Then the world started to tell them about fashion. And then the world will tell us that it’s not cool to be a Christian. In fact, the world tells us that it’s all about me and what I want--not about living for God. I want to be awesome and the best. Being a Christian means that life is all about Jesus and not to be afraid to live for Him. As a Christian, you need to make up your mind about living for Jesus before you go to school or to work so that you will live for Him.
Please tell me about any Bible verses that you used to write the song.
Matthew 6:32-34: For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
What do you consider to be the takeaway message for listeners?
Literally last night, I decided that I am addicted to Dr. Pepper, and I need to give up my addiction. I am not addicted to cans or bottles but the fountain drink. I decided that if the next arena where I did a concert had Dr. Pepper on tap, I would not drink it. Lo and behold, we pull in here to Hershey, PA for the concert tonight and since they have Dr. Pepper here, I’m already being tested. It’s a silly example, but I’m deciding to give up something that really draws me in so that I can be free from that addiction. We grow up with so much wealth and desire for things in this country, we are surrounded with temptations every day. I was never temped to do drugs or drink alcohol, but I have always been tempted to be cool. I still find myself tempted to be thought of as cool by others, but this song is about making a decision to live for Christ and not for myself. I want to run the race for Christ and not live for the world.
I'm at war with the world and they
Try to pull me into the dark
I struggle to find my faith
As I'm slippin' from your arms
It's getting harder to stay awake
And my strength is fading fast
You breathe into me at last
I'm awake I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life
here, right now
I'll stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake and I'm alive
I'm at war with the world cause I
Ain't never gonna sell my soul
I've already made up my mind
No matter what I can't be bought or sold
When my faith is getting weak
And I feel like giving in
You breathe into me again
Waking up waking up
In the dark
I can feel you in my sleep
In your arms I feel you breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you
Forever I will live for you
This song has quickly become my all-time favorite song by Skillet. Between John’s and Jen’s vocals and the excellent message behind this rock anthem, I can’t get enough of this song. There are several lyrics that really speak to me, in particular: “I'll stand my ground and never back down, I know what I believe inside, I'm awake and I'm alive” and “Forever I will live for You.” John’s description of being at war with the world is exactly the battle we face every day as a Christian. Jesus assures us in Matthew 6:32-34 to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
As John said, this song is about making a decision to live for Christ and not for myself. I want to run the race for Christ and not live for the world. Do you have something you are seeking that is of this world? Seek Jesus and He will make you “awake and alive.”
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. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
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