DiM | “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

September 29, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder which currently sits at #7 on the KLove top 10.

Overall, this song is a call to repentance. There isn’t lot going on in the song, so this review will be fairly straight forward.

Crowder VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)

Lift your head weary sinner the river’s just ahead
Down the path of forgiveness salvation’s waiting there
You built a mighty fortress 10,000 burdens high
Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

All who’ve strayed and walked away, unspeakable things you’ve done
Fix your eyes on the mountain, let the past be dead and gone
Come all saints and sinners, you can’t outrun God
Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome the power of the blood

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

If you’re lost and wrecked again
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

If you’re lost and wrecked again
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide
Let the gates of glory open wide
Let the gates of glory open wide

Publishing: © 2014 sixsteps Music / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) / sixsteps Songs / Worship Together Music (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Alletrop Music (BMI)
Writer(s): Ed Cash, David Crowder and Seth Philpott


The first verse invokes the sinner to come to the river, which is traditionally a reference to water baptism. There is mention of a path of forgiveness where salvation awaits. There is a refrain to come back to this place like a prodigal child, which brings to mind the song “Prodigal” by Sidwalk Prophets. We didn’t approve of that song because of its poor retelling of the parable. Crowder is using the term in a better way, but there is one concept in this song that bothers me.

There is a sense throughout the song that the Gospel is something you come to once you’ve grown weary in your sinning… then you get cleaned up and go back on your way. Notice the “if”. It’s the “if” that gets to me. There is no “if” regarding sin. We sin. The Christian life isn’t about trying to walk as far as we can until we get wrecked, and then make our way back to the river. We are to walk according to the Spirit, denying the flesh, and confessing and repenting continually for our failings. In light of this truth, repentance is by faith, not by works. That the song stays cloaked in metaphor and imagery leaves room for a listener to feel that they need to “do something” to “return to the river”. This sort of pietism leads folks to “revival conferences” and “re-dedication altar-calls” with lots of weeping and seeking an emotional experience for a forgiveness that comes not by works, but by grace through faith. Brothers and sisters in Christ… emotions only stir up more emotion… faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ.

The song has strong points, to be sure. Once our eyes have been opened to the truth of our sin and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and confess & repent we are forgiven by faith in Jesus Christ. We need to let what is old be dead and gone. But we must also trust in the Word of God to put to death what is fleshly and sinful in our day to day lives. It is also important to note that once the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, that there is no sin Christ’s finished work on the cross cannot cover. Confess, repent, and be forgiven in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6 (ESV)

Dead to Sin, Alive to God

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 1 (ESV)

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


In general, I like this song. The messaging of the song is cloaked in metaphor, so I’m not comfortable with the idea that this song stands on its own. However, where the listener’s theology is sound, this song can be of some encouragement.

In Christ Jesus,

One thought on “DiM | “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder

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