I entered my high school years in the student ministry at Ridgecrest Baptist at the same time the modern wave of praise and worship music made its way down I-30 to our small town of Greenville, TX. At our church we only sang hymns so the “new way” of doing music was a breath of fresh air for anybody under the age of 24, and the added fact that our parents hated it made us like it even more.
One of my favorite songs during that period was a song with lyrics written from man’s perspective directed to God. This song had a lyric that said, “I will never let You go.” Seemed harmless, but a problem arose when I got to college and the first thing I “let go” was God. Calvin says that “the human heart is a factory of idols,” and I am living proof. So what I knew at that time was that God was gracious and merciful to me, an undeserving sinner, and in return I pursued my fleshly desires.
I think all of us want to be in a place spiritually like Job or David, that when our world crashes we would reply, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away,” or “The Lord is my strength and my shield, in Him my heart trusts,” but what I learned from this song is that I had the power to “let go.”
For the next five years I searched for ways to earn back the love of the God I “let go.” It wasn’t until I heard the gospel through Ephesians 1 that I understood that salvation does not belong to me therefore I have no power to “let go” of it. According to His will I am sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Power of salvation belongs to its author, our Lord God.
As a worship pastor, it’s my duty to examine lyrical content. What does each line teach? Does the song promote wrong theology? As a teenager, even later in my early 20’s, I had dismissed hymns as outdated and irrelevant. Now, in my 29th year, I am overwhelmed with hymns and their authors because, for the most part, their lyrics flat-out hold water. And if I would have given an ear to some of these lyrics while growing up as a young music lover in East Texas, maybe I would have known more about the gracious God of my salvation.
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
Author: 22-year-old Robert Robinson