DiM | “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz

disapproveCCM Radio Edition.

March 15, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz which currently sits at #13 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

The song is more eastern philosophy than it is Christian. It has more of a Yoga or Tai Chi sentiment than a Biblical one. God is mentioned, and the imagery invoked hints at Jesus, but the thrust of the song isn’t a distinctly Christian message. The focus of this song is far to inward, emotional, and mystical… that’s why we’ve disapproved the song for our audience.

Yes, we are a busy society that confuses “business” with “fulfillment” or “success”. As Christians, we need to understand that there is rest in Christ Jesus… but the key to finding that rest isn’t in “breathing”… it’s in the Word of Christ. Let’s check out the song and its lyrics.

Jonny Diaz Official Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via KLove)

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just

(chorus)
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say just

(chorus)
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The Peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

(chorus)
Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe

Publishing: ©2015 Centricity Music Publishing (ASCAP)/So Essential Tunes & Not Just Another Song (SESAC)/Wordspring Music, LLC & Tony Wood Songs (SESAC)
Writer(s): Words and Music by Jonny Diaz, Jonathan Smith and Tony Wood

Discussion

The target audience is the “inner you” of the listener. This is steeped in emergent theology of the self, of “being in the moment” in “experiencing the now”. Very Rob Bell like. There are allusions to Biblical language, but nothing substantive. Let’s work through the lyrics.

Verse 1. The whole verse is about all of the things the singer is doing… not calling it sin or wrong just a list of stuff filling his life. So what is the problem? The stress. That’s the problem. What’s the solution? Oh, well, there’s a little voice on the inside (implied to be God’s voice) giving him the answer of the chorus

Chorus. Just Breathe. Great. Time to do some breathing exercises, maybe throw in some Yoga? Tai Chi? How about an adult coloring book? If you’re asking why I’m being so snarky, reread the last phrase of verse 1, “in my heart I feel You say…“. The artist is implying that this is something God is saying. God didn’t say “just breathe” in His Word. Jesus says “do not fear”, and “peace be with you”. Jesus told us not to be anxious, but he didn’t leave it there… we are to trust in Him. Not in us, not in our breathing, or physical discipline… we are to Trust in Him.

Now, if we’re trying to put our best construction on this vague chorus, we might push to find meaning in the phrase “come and rest at My feet“. Now to do this right we have to completely forget the sensual direct revelation at the end of the first verse and think back to Mary and Martha when Jesus visited them at Bethany.

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV) | Martha and Mary

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.

Did Jesus tell Martha to just “breathe”? Was Mary merely resting at Jesus’ feet? No and no. Mary was listening to Jesus’ teaching. Martha was distracted with much serving. Distracted from what? Jesus’ Teaching. And it is the this one thing that is necessary… the teaching of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. What was He teaching? Most likely He was teaching about the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:25-33 (ESV) | Do Not Be Anxious

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Now, if you can fill the empty words “just breathe” with all of this teaching, you’ve rescued those words. I encourage you to share these words of Scripture with others, though… not simply ‘just breathe’.

Now there’s still the issue of the problem being solved. In the first verse it was labeled “stress” that rises due to this face-paced life. In the chorus it’s given a nebulous name of chaos. There are many theological systems that personify evil as chaos. Is that truly the enemy of the Church, the accuser of the brethren? No. Sin, death, and the devil are the enemy, and they are all defeated in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Is it chaos calling us away from the teaching of Jesus Christ? Not really… its sin. our flesh. Our sinful passions and desires thirst after sin, death, and destruction. This is why it’s such a bad idea to look inwardly into our hearts for God. We look to the external Word of God that says He dwells inside us, and we trust His Word, not our feelings/impressions/passions.

Verse 2.  The second verse takes an odd turn. It is almost a confession of the sin of self-centeredness but it doesn’t quite cross that threshold. He doesn’t reject a me-centered life, just suggests that its the unwanted outcome of losing your grip on your crazy day. There isn’t really any repentance for me-centric living… in fact, what is the answer? me-time. Oh, well… not just “me” time, it’s me and that little voice inside of “me” telling me to just breathe.

Bridge. Finally there is a reference to the Peace of God that overcomes… what? Let’s take a look at Paul’s instruction to the Philippians:

Philippians 4:4-9 (ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Again, if you can cram all of this substantive teaching into the vague phrase just breathe, more power to you, but that is not what is being conveyed to every listener. We skipped some mystical phrases to get to this gem in the Bridge. What is the hearer supposed to be filling their lungs with, according to this song? Smells like Presence theology to me, the idea that we can feel the Holy Spirit filling a room or our hearts or our lungs is unhealthy. Scripture doesn’t promise us we’ll feel the Holy Spirit, but Scripture does promise us He is with us always until the end. Place your trust in the Word of God, not your senses.

Lay down what’s good and find what’s best… wow, so the songwriter isn’t willing to label the busy life itself as a sinful thing or even the problem. He’s trying to keep it in the felt realm of stress and not enough rest. Why? Well, because the synergism of seeker-mergent religiosity demands constant work, constant progress, endless pursuit of a purpose… a drive to greatness… to glory… we often will call this a theology of glory as opposed to the Theology of the Cross.

Conclusion

Living a life that is focused on your works, your business, your accomplishments, your failures, your purpose, your sanctification is to live a life of distraction from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Gospel isn’t found in our works… only sin and death will be seen in our works. Instead, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He has brought us out of the darkness and has imputed to us His Righteousness… the Righteousness of God that comes NOT by works, but by Grace through Faith, alone.

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

It is in Christ where we will find our rest, our being, and the good works God has prepared for us, to server our neighbors. So, yes, do sit at His feet, listen to His teaching, take refuge in Him through Faith in His Word. Do not forsake the gathering together of the Saints. Spend time in the Written Word of God.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

PS: Table Talk Radio Praise Song Cruncher 2.0 assessment:

  1. Jesus mentioned? no… sort of implied (best construction)
  2. Mystical Form? yes. Vague partial sentences, incomplete images
  3. Mystical Content? yes. Feeling God speak in my heart, breathe in filling my lungs
  4. Proper handling of Law and Gospel? No. Wrong Law (stress rather than sin) Wrong Gospel (relaxation techniques != Gospel).
  5. Explicit False Teaching? Depends on how strongly you read this as contemplative centering / eastern mystic teaching. I think it is rather explicit.

Verdict: Crunched (Disapproved).

 

One thought on “DiM | “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz

  1. I hear what you’re saying and have listened to the song with discernment. The one verse that releases me into the breath part is to “Be still and now that I am God.’ I’ve been though some groups and counseling and yes they talk about breathing. When they do, this verse does come to mind always protecting me while in the group. However I have to say that while you’re hyperventilating because of a panic attack, you have to breath normal first in order to function, which reminds me that I can “Be still and know tat He is GOd”. Wish Jonne had been able to at least reference this verse and or include it in this song! Then it would not have been so difficult to discern. Kindly JK

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