Two of my most frequently played songs

Though I love too many songs to pick favorites, Though You Slay Me by Shane & Shane is especially touching. The music itself is beautiful, but the words based off of the first part of Job 13:15 are even more beautiful. Through this song, the author has painted a picture of what it looks like to trust God in the midst of suffering. To hear the story behind the song, click here

With less of an acoustic sound, Tenth Avenue North’s song Control is also pretty high up on my charts. Control puts us into perspective as it reminds us of God’s sovereignty and providence, and how greatly we don’t deserve his favor. You can watch lead singer Mike Donehey’s “video journal” here. I will warn you, though, that I personally did not agree with everything that he said in that video, and liked the song better before I heard his perspective. I don’t want to give the wrong impression, but I believe very strongly that Christians in the typical American church culture need to stop focusing so much about themselves and more about God, especially in what is considered Christian music. I would rather see this song as one about acknowledging God’s control over our lives than to see it as another song about how we are so awesome because God loves us no matter how rotten we are. Yeah, it’s great that God loves us, but could wesing about some other aspects of his character too, like sovereignty, providence, justice, and holiness? Anyway, regardless of the back story, I’d encourage you to add this one to your playlist.

Reflections on a quote by Hudson Taylor

“A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in a little thing is a great thing.” -J. Hudson Taylor

What impact might it have on our lives if we saw each task, whether great or small, as an opportunity to worship our Lord?

As I was working on school assignments today, I was told to convert eight temperatures from one temperature scale to another. Although the textbook didn’t specify, I knew that I was expected to convert them manually using an equation. Yet, if I asked the internet to convert it for me, the work would take at least half the time. I initially gave in to the temptation and used the internet to do my work for me. My conscience nagged at me for a while, until I decided to go back and redo them the proper way. I was surprisingly pleased with my decision to redo the problems, even though I was the only one who would know the difference. “Why?”, I asked myself. Was it simply a matter of “doing the right thing”?

The way in which we do mundane tasks tells something about our character. Though we may not realize it, we all have underlying principles that govern our actions. How we perform in small tasks affects how we will perform in other areas of life. You likely know the wise proverb of Luke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” It is crucial that we develop a strong worth ethic while we are yet young, or else we will struggle later on in life.

I often fall prey the false mindset that one math problem is simply one math problem, one dirty dish is simply one dirty dish, one basket of laundry is simply one basket of laundry, and one day of music practice is simply one day of music practice. Inwardly, though, I know that if I choose not to work out one math problem, put one dirty dish in the dishwasher, wash one basket of laundry, or practice music for the day, then I’ll continue to fail to do these things, and the result will be a low GPA, a dirty house, no clothes to wear, and the waste of thousands of dollars on music lessons.

Besides the long-term implications of my actions, there is yet a better reason for which I must to choose to be faithful in the mundane. God sees all of my actions, and he is either pleased or displeased with each of them. He is my Lord and Savior, and I am commanded to glorify him in all that I do. I should be grieved at the thought of displeasing my Father, the one who willingly became a sacrificial lamb led to the slaughter for my sake. Do I yet refuse to give honor to him in the smallest of actions, though he gave his entire life for me?

1 Corinthians 10:31- So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Does “Scars to Your Beautiful” have a truly hopeful and positive message?

Hello, friends, followers and passerby! Every Monday, starting today, I’ll be talking about songs. They may be pop, contemporary Christian, hymns, country; basically there’s no limit as to what genre, although I’m not likely to review songs that are heavy death-metal 😉 Today we’ll be looking at a very popular pop song: “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara.

Here’s a link to the lyrics, and here’s the audio version on Youtube.

Statement by Alessia Cara:
“Often times, the world both directly and indirectly tells us that we shouldn’t be happy with ourselves if we don’t fit certain beauty standards. Scars to your beautiful is a reminder that beauty isn’t only one look, shape, size, or colour. It isn’t even always tangible. It comes in an endless amount of forms and we need to recognize that.”

The overall message of this song seems to be a proclamation of self-worth and a redefinition of beauty. It’s a message of inner beauty. Alessia wants to tell people that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of you. “You don’t have to change a thing, the world can change it’s heart”, and “No better you than the you that you are” are the main lines of the song, explicitly pointing out the main theme of “Be yourself, not what the world wants you to be”.

This song is surprisingly clean- no language issues, and no inappropriate themes.

For someone struggling with depression and identity issues, this song might temporarily comfort them. For that reason, I see some good to it. However, there is no backing for Alessia’s claims. She repeatedly tells us about this hope that’s waiting for us and this inherent beauty, but what is that hope, and where did that inherent beauty come from? It’s all a bit vague, and it’s shallow because Alessia provides no grounds for her statements.

A large bit of this song actually does align with Biblical principles. It is true that we aren’t supposed to conform to what the world wants of us. It’s also true that we have inherent worth. But the other part, about being who we are, being stars, not changing, and already being the best we can be, isn’t true. The Bible offers clarity to this vague “hope waiting for you”, while correcting the “Be Yourself” ideology.

We have the hope of Christ. We have inherent worth because we were made in his image.

He calls us not to conform to the world, but to let him transform us. The ugly truth of the matter is that in and of ourselves, we’re pretty awful messed up people. Yet Jesus took all of that awful messy sin upon himself and paid for it once for all. He has taken away our scars and made us beautiful. He cleansed us and made us holy and pure in God’s eyes (this is justification, being made right with God). Yet we still sin and mess up. There is a better you than the you that you are right now, a you in the future that will be perfected and holy when God is done working in you. But that you isn’t here yet. In order to get to being that you, you have to put effort to grow in Christ-likeness as he works in you (this is sanctification, becoming more like Christ).

I like the musical aspect of this song, and there is a bit of truth in it. But when it comes down to what really matters, a message of inner beauty with no grounding is not enough to save us, and not enough to provide true hope.