Every song we sing or hear has a story behind it. A reason it was written. Many also have a Bible passage that inspired it. We invited Andy Park from Vineyard Music, Scott Lavender from St Paul’s Anglican Church, and Rend Collective to share the story behind some of their songs that we know and love.
As you read through this three-devotion series our intention is that the first day is reflecting on the lyrics of the song, and the next day you will delve deeper into the story of the song through a devotion led by the writer.
Our prayer is that over a week, you see the fragrance of God in these lyrics. That you will approach worship knowing there is a greater depth to the words we sing – words that were inspired by God and His Word.
My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own ‘righteousness’… And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. Philippians 3:9-10
The song In the Secret is taken from chapter three of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul wrote this letter from prison. He was experiencing extreme hardship. In the midst of that great difficulty, he pressed into knowing Jesus more than ever. Paul knows that he can’t hang onto pride in his own religious accomplishments now that he has come to know Jesus. We either boast in ourselves or boast in the Lord; we can’t do both at the same time.
In the months leading up to the writing of this letter, Paul experienced the brutality of being stoned by a group of angry rock-throwing Pharisees. God miraculously raised Paul up from this terrible ordeal. That would not be the last time Paul was stoned by an angry mob. In times of great suffering, we lean into the love, comfort and strength of God more than ever. In these times of desperation, a gift of intimate fellowship with Jesus is offered to us. I’ve personally experienced this many times. God has been so faithful to me when I’ve had to walk through dark valleys. While very few of us will ever suffer the horror of facing a crowd of rock-throwing haters who want to kill us, all of us will suffer pain in relationships, sickness, or losing a loved one. In those times, the Holy Spirit is very available to bring comfort, wisdom, and revelation of the love of God.
By His help, we can do as Paul says: ‘I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus’ (Philippians 3:14 TPT).
By Andy Park
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
Have you ever seen an apple growing on a tree in the middle of a field? It doesn’t have a care in the world. It grows by itself, without the slightest effort. It sits peacefully, without a worry, or any responsibility. And usually in quite a nice place too!
As followers of Jesus we can often be tempted to turn towards the world to pursue a life that seems free of responsibility, or that’s filled with comfort, success and possessions.
It can be tempting, particularly in the face of suffering, to give it all up and seek what seems an easy way out. The truth is, though, whatever it is that we would rather be, it will end up as nothing in the end. Apart from Jesus there is no future worth living. Apart from Jesus, there is no future. That apple on the tree will one day fall and rot, to be eaten by worms. That relationship we left Jesus to pursue will come to an end. That house or the PS5 we worked so hard for will fall apart or break. The affirmation we tried so hard to earn from people will fade. The only thing that will last is our relationship with Jesus.
The book of James tells us that if we stand strong and persevere, we will receive the crown of life. I want to encourage you that whatever you’re facing today, no matter how hard it is, no matter how painful it is, it is completely worth it. Hang in there!
By Scott Lavender
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me, To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn… Isaiah 61:1–2
We had finally pulled the trigger on cancelling the rest of our tour dates for the foreseeable future. We were miles from our home in Northern Ireland, stranded due to COVID. And in the midst of it all, my son received a life-altering medical diagnosis that left us feeling completely gutted and spent. It was around that time too that we found ourselves in the Old Testament, really captured by the idea of the year of ‘Jubilee’ in the Bible. What we found in Leviticus was that the year of Jubilee came around every 50 years. It was a year where debts were cancelled, prisoners were freed, families came together, and the people of Israel rested from their labours.
Basically the year of Jubilee couldn’t feel further from what we were experiencing in 2020 – and we know it was likely the same for many of you. But in the middle of one of our lowest points, we sensed Jesus reminding us of all that is ours in Him.
This world will have its struggles, but the vision for God’s kingdom is one of freedom, emancipation, debt forgiven and sin atoned! Even though we’ve been through so much, we can still live prophetically the vision of the kingdom of God – which is good news to ALL people. It’s in HIM we can claim our victory!
By Chris Llewellyn of Rend Collective