Words are important. As Christians, the words we speak hold a lot of weight, they hold life and death (James 3). It is by way of hearing the Gospel (words) that many are saved (Romans 10:14). Even more important are words in songs, i.e. lyrics, because when words are accompanied by music they can temporarily produce emotions the musician wants his hearer to feel. There is nothing wrong with having strong emotions, even in songs, as long as these emotions are based on truths. That goes for anything from: I am happy my team won, therefore, I will jump up from my couch with hands up in the air TO I am a wretch who was lost but now is found, therefore I will weep and raise my hands in the air. Here are some more awesome lyrics: Boldly I approach Your throne, blameless now I’m coming home. By Your blood I come, welcomed as Your own, into the arms of majesty or Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow! WOO WEEE what words!! Add to that some music and some very powerful emotions can’t help but spring forth! That is all good because these emotions are based on beautiful and scriptural truths. When they are not and these emotions are produced by lights, by great voices or musicians, by eerie repetitions, or by words that sound nice, we are treading on dangerous ground. We can confuse God’s truth with our feelings. We can assign characteristics to God that are not really Him. We can dilute the Christian life to vague cliches like “letting go and letting God” – whatever that means. And we are the ones who end up losing the most because we lose out on the peace, the joy, the strength, the comfort that only Scripture or beautifully orchestrated words based on God’s truth can provide.
John 4:24 says: God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
I am going to be providing SONG REVIEWS now on my blog. The way I decided to do this was to type out the lyrics and then give my commentary on them ad lib. I am not researching anything, I am not working too hard to find the inner hidden meaning of the lyrics or to ponder the meaning behind obscure phrasing. It is my opinion that worship music should be clear, because God’s Word is clear. I am just going to type as I read and think. The lyrics will be in italics and my commentary in bold. It is not my intention to pass judgement on any of these artist, but just to give my humble and honest opinion. The commentary is specifically just for the song and not towards the singer.
Here is the first commentary of many. Hopefully . . . .
Gracefully Broken by Matt Redman
Take all I have in these hands. / And multiply, God, all that I am – I literally look down at my hands, and I have literally nothing in them. I guess it is figurative to mean the work of my hands or my service to further His Kingdom, but that really isn’t much. I guess God wants the little I give. The truth is that my works, the good ones, are big piles of crap and dirty rags, so I guess take those things God? I guess I just don’t get the “hands” analogy! And please Lord, do not multiply what I am! God help me! I am a sinner, my natural state is to sin! I am constantly fighting everyday, trying to kill my flesh. I am crap and anything good in me is not me, but what the Lord Almighty has done. Multiply Yourself Lord, not me. Please not me! This verse basically says: Here’s my crap Lord, and can you multiply the crap maker – me. Thanks!
And find my heart on the altar again – I have no idea what this means either. I guess it means sacrifice. I am placing my heart on the altar of sacrifice – like self sacrifice. But I thought I wanted to multiply all that I am? And I guess I have done this before, because it says “again”. Maybe I am sacrificing my desires and my wants? Again?
Set me on fire (repeated 4 times) – This makes me uncomfortable.
Here I am, God, arms wide open / Pouring out, my life, gracefully broken (repeated 6 times). – I am guessing this is a form of expression or of worship. Don’t get me wrong, I raise my hands in worship all the time, but so far, according to this song, I have my arms wide open because I have given God my crap, that crap has been multiplied, and now that crap is on fire. Also, the pouring out my life part, I am guessing this is giving myself to God’s service. That’s something nice in the song. Gracefully broken – the words sound pretty together, but again, context! I do not know what he means by this. Broken because of my sin, broken because I make pour decisions in life, or just plain broke – like I have no money.
My heart stands in awe of your name. / Your mighty love stands strong to the end – This verse, I do understand. Some elaborating would have been good here though. Good Matt.
You will fulfill Your purpose in me. / You won’t forsake me, You will be with me – Another good verse. Just as long as the worshiper understands that God’s ways are not our ways. We are special because of who Christ is, not because of who we are. Our purpose in life will be fulfilled according to His plan, not ours. He will not forsake us and He is with us.
All to Jesus now (repeated 2 times). I have no idea what this means! Holding nothing back (repeated 2 times) Here comes more of my crap again!, I surrender (repeated 4 times) And I guess I wanted my crap, but you can have it now. I guess this can also mean that I was doing things my way, but now I am going to do it your way. Maybe this ties in with the heart sacrificed in the altar.
Your power and work in me/ I’m broken gracefully. / I’m strong when I am weak/ I will be free (repeated 7 times) What about your power and work? There are so many incomplete sentences! There is nothing graceful about being broken. Last time I cried because of my sin I looked like this:
Yes, we are strong when we are weak. Good verse. And I am not sure if the last verse is intended to be a “I declare it to be true” type of phrase, but we are already free. The bonds of sin, the previous man, the old creature, all gone, dead. I don’t have to repeat it 7 times for the freedom to happen. God’s Word speaks of my freedom here and now, and nothing I say or feel will change my level of freedom.
I was a bit shocked to find out that Matt Redman sings this song. He has some really nice songs out there, but this one was just awful. I do not recommend you add this song to your worship playlist.