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BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#331 - "Good to be Alive" by Jason Gray
Jason Gray chats with Kevin Davis about this upbeat song about enjoying God's gifts.
 


When Jason Gray inked a contract with Centricity Records in 2006 after a run of more than a decade as a hard-touring indie artist, he did so after a lot of soul-searching, wondering how his highly relational artistry would translate to a broader audience. Now with the release of his third studio album for Centricity, A Way To See In The Dark, that tension can probably be laid to rest. What emerged on the new project is a thought-provoking collection of artful, emotional and radio-friendly tunes that achieve a high level of accessibility without sacrificing any of Gray's personality or creativity. 

Look no further than opening track "Remind Me Who I Am" for Jason Gray's heart and transparent songwriting style. I have played the song non-stop since I first heard it. It is hooky and filled with biblical Truth just like Jason's hit song "More Like Falling In Love." The lyrics, "If I'm Your beloved, can You help me believe it?" keep the theme from "I Am New" going, which is that if we would only run to Christ, He would remind us who we really are.

I had the great opportunity to interview Jason about his follow-up single "Good To Be Alive," which I'm honored to say makes Jason my most featured artist over the past four years. This is my eighth "behind the song" devotional featuring a Jason Gray song. I've previously written about "Blessed Be", "The Cut", "For The First Time Again", "More Like Falling In Love", "Love Has A Name", "I Am New" and "Remind Me Who I Am." Here are Jason's answers to my questions.

Regarding "Good To Be Alive," what's the main message of the song?

This was a song that Jason Ingram and Brandon Heath had started for Brandon's last album but they never completed it. When I started recording for my album, Jason Ingram asked if I wanted to consider finishing writing the song and record it myself. I heard the opening drum loop and I just knew it would be a great song and melody. I was so honored to be part of the song. We wanted to take the sentiment of the chorus--"I wanna live like there's no tomorrow, Love like I'm on borrowed time, It's good to be alive"--and give it a new angle. 

So many of the other songs on my album are about finding a way to see in the dark in periods of shame and hopelessness. I wasn't sure what my audience would think of me recording such a pop song. I knew if I was going to record the song, it needed to be meaningful. At the end of the day, because the other songs are such heavy topics, this song is a breath of fresh air and an important song on the album. 

We had this huge pop chorus, and it became about how to bring meaning to the chorus in the verses by saying something new. My angle was that I remember watching my kids one day when they were laughing and horsing around and how much I enjoyed watching them have fun. They didn't know I was watching, and they weren't doing anything for my benefit. I wondered if that's what it's like for our Heavenly Father when he watches us have fun. In that case, our embracing things that give us joy can be a meaningful act of worship.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Colossians 1:12: "Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."

1 John 4:18: "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."

What's the take-away message for listeners?

We were created to enjoy things. We enjoy the taste of food. We don't have to, and we would need to eat anyway. The fact that we were created with the capacity to enjoy things and that make us alive means something. 

I grew up with a church background that taught me to be suspicious of things that I enjoy. I would say that I went through a time where I stopped having fun because I was being cautious. I imagined things I enjoyed to be unspiritual. I don't think that's true. That's part of what we're going after in the lyrics in the song: "And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the Giver, Then right here, right now, This is the song I'm singing out." 

The understanding is that I can enjoy what I enjoy and trust that brings joy to my Creator. You can certainly enjoy things too much like alcohol and abuse it. Being overly cautious and not having enjoyment is counterproductive. If our heartbeat first and foremost is about pleasing God, and our desire is for God to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," then we will enjoy the right things and we don't need to be so nervous about abusing them. 

I think of Saint Augustine who said, "Love God, and do what you want." The idea is that if you love God first and foremost, you won't do things that displease Him. I went through a time where I loved the Lord a lot, but I was so careful and legalistic and controlling, and I wasn't very fun to be around. It distorted who I am and God's purpose in my life. Our fears of falling into sin and displeasing God seem righteous, but we need to remember that "perfect love casts out fear." This song is about abandoning fear, and enjoying life. Out of that comes gratitude. Ultimately the song is about gratitude to God.

Lyrics:
Hold on
Is this really the life I'm living?
Cause I don't feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake, every breath that I take you've given
So right here, right now
While the sun is shining down

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive, yeah

Hold on
If the life that we've been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the Giver
Then right here, right now
This is the song I'm singing out

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive

I won't take it for granted
I won't waste another second
All I want is to give You
A life well lived, to say "thank You"

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be, it's good to be alive

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive

I won't take it for granted
I won't waste another second
All I want is to give You
A life well lived, to say "thank You"


Asbury's Bible commentary: "The final verses of this passage lead into a hymn of praise to Christ. The movement in Paul's prayer is exemplary: Beginning with thanksgiving, he proceeds to intercession, then follows with joyful praise. This is a positive model of prayer. We should further note that Paul is not praying for himself so much as he is praying for others. He expresses appreciation for what God is doing in the lives of the Colossians. He intercedes for them, asking that they might achieve full maturity in their Christian experience. His thanksgiving to the Father and praise to the Son follow naturally. This is the kind of praying that modern Christians should emulate and practice." 

Jason consistently finds a way to express my own spiritual feelings and prayerful yearnings of my heart. "Good To Be Alive" which was co-written with Brandon Heath and Jason Ingram will remind you of Brandon Heath's recent hit song "Your Love," both musically and lyrically. 

Jason yet again yields his signature "gourmet" stamp in the bridge where he croons: "I won't take it for granted, I won't waste another second, All I want is to give You, A life well lived, to say "thank you." Amen to that! 

This song gives me a lot of joy, and my heartbeat is to please the Lord. I love songs that allow me to have fun and praise God at the same time, and this song certainly does that. I really enjoy how my love of fun, uplifting music and biblical truth is perfectly married in this song. Singing along with this song at the top of my lungs allows me to abandon myself and cry out to Him: "I want to live like there's no tomorrow, love like I'm on borrowed time, it's good to be alive!" Amen!

(You can listen to the song here.)

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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