Music has the power to say what words alone cannot. Poetry reaches deeper than any lecture can. That’s why Christians invest so much in the music industry.
But sometimes, we miss things. Sometimes we make mistakes. So rather than write a bunch of blog posts, I’ll simply give you guys five songs to listen to. Some are about correction, others encouragement, others simply reflection. Yet every one of them speaks some profound truth in beautiful artistry.
Note that these aren’t the five BEST Christian songs, just five that would benefit any Christian to sit down and hear once more, or perhaps for the first time.
So if you walk with God is stale, or you need a pick me up, or you think you’re perfect and need to check thyself before thou wreckest thyself, skim through these.
And don’t worry. It’s not just strong lyrics, it’s also good music.
“A Maze of Grace” by Avalon
One of the most profound Christian lyrics I’ve ever heard is in the chorus of this song: “The straight and narrow twists and turns.”
Though the Bible talks about the straight-and-narrow, it’s not that our walk is simplistic. Christianity is WEIRD. Abraham was told to kill his son. Balaam talked to a donkey. Paul got shipwrecked more than once.
Straight and narrow doesn’t mean “one-dimensional.” Life is a mess and grace is a bizarre road trip through a hall of mirrors.
And four voices in harmony always sound nice!
“No Hate” by Bizzle (feat. Bumps INF)
Can you tell it’s a rap song? Sadly, while hip hop is diving into the Christian music industry, not a lot of it is great or even good (prove me wrong in the comments). But Bizzle brings a heavy beat with this song and some equally strong lyrics.
“Christ says you gotta love ’em when they front*, too
Your love measures by the hate you can love through.”
Fun fact: if you’re a Christian, people are going to hate you automatically. But as Jesus refused to hate even on the cross, so must the Christian be hated without giving in to hate. Because you can’t make everybody happy, and there are some people that nobody can make happy.
“Hated when I’m paid, hated when I’m broke
They hatin’ on my faith, hatin’ on my folks
See ’em drown in the middle of the ocean,
When you pull up, they be hatin’ on your boat.”
*”Front” means to act better than you really are. To put up a front.
“This Blood” by Carman
Carman remains one of the biggest names in Christian music, putting a hand just about every single music genre there is: pop, hop-hop, country, reggae, and more. However, he was best known for his story songs, like “The Champion” and “Revival in the Land,” also great songs that deserve another listen.
But one that perhaps gets overlooked is “This Blood.” What is it? It’s the story of Jesus getting his ass kicked. Yes, I just wrote that.
“Laced with chips of bone, they beat [whipped] him hard,
from his shoulders to his feet.
It sliced right through his olive skin
just like razors through a sheet.”
This is not a pretty song, but Carman knew that Christian songs need not be pretty, especially talking about the cross, one of the most horrible ways to die. First whipping, then the march to Golgatha, then the crucifixion itself. But then…
“…the soldier’s face turned pale when he [Jesus] said,
‘This blood is for you.'”
I got chills just writing that.
Like “No Hate,” this song is a reminder of how gutsy Christ’s love was (and is). To look on the man whipping you and say you’re getting that whipping for his sake? What fortitude!
Of course, it’s impossible to know if Jesus actually said this to his assailants. But whether or not he said it, it’s still true. And Jesus knew that every splatter of blood was for all men. Even the ones who killed him.
“Light of the World” by Theocracy
Theocracy may be the best thing to happen to recent Christian music. They bring a whole new genre to the game (power metal) and they do it with some of the best melodies, rhythms, and instrumental talent there is.
But even better, they bring a truckload of powerful and often convicting lyrics. Like this song which calls back to Jesus’s speech that Christians are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
“‘You are the light of the world,’ he said,
But we’ve blown out our candles and left men for dead,
Singing ‘”We are the light of the world,” he said’
As the darkness descends on us all.”
Ouch. But is it true? Have we snuffed out our lights in fear, shame, or disinterest? How is the world supposed to know Jesus if, “the lighthouse sits idly in darkness again, as the ship sails the ocean alone”?
Food for thought with some massive energy and killer guitar shreds.
“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”
And now, I leave you with some encouragement that sits right under your nose. This is one of the most famous Christmas carols out there, but have you ever really listened to it? This is one of the reasons I made this list: to get Christians to reexamine songs they already know and rediscover the treasures in them.
Did you even know that this song has three verses? Most know the first, but have you looked at the others? To me, the most powerful lyric comes from verse three.
“Mild, he lays his glory by,
born that man no more should die,
born to raise the sons of Earth,
born to give them second birth.”
The reason this song is my favorite carol is because it’s Christmas in a nutshell. Why was Jesus born? The reasons listed above. The lyrics aren’t fancy, but they’re profound and rife with theological import (now THOSE are fancy words). Just like the hymns themselves.
I know it’s April as I write this and Christmas is far off, but songs are songs, and the ones we sing over and over are so easily the most misunderstood. They become familiar, their meaning forgotten.
Take a good look at your favorite Christian songs. Why are they your favorite? What words speak to you and stir your soul? Don’t just let them become background noise. Relish in the everlasting truths sung from scripture–or rapped or speed-metal’d.
If a song has something to say, let it speak to you. If Christ has something to say through song, listen and respond.
And finally, what songs do YOU think should get more attention?