DiM | “Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli

disapproveCCM Edition.

January 31, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli which currently sits at #18 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Today’s song falls into the error of trying to offer victory in this life and presumed promises of the Gospel without preaching the Law or the Gospel. It relies completely on the listener already having sound theology and blindly encourages the listener to do whatever it is the listener wants to do because God is with them. Well, He may not be. This song is disapproved because of its recklessness and narcisgetical treatment of 1 Samuel 16.

Official Audio

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Everyone’s telling you To let go of what you’re holding to
It’s too late, too far
You’re too small, it’s too hard

Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you’re not seeing

But oh, maybe they don’t Know what you know
That you’re not alone

(chorus)
Don’t you be afraid Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall

We could really live like this
Can’t you imagine it
So bold, so brave With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face

(chorus)
Don’t you be afraid Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall

Ask and believe
You’re gonna see
The hand of God in every little thing

(chorus)
Don’t you be afraid Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
So step into the fight
He’s right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall

Miracles can happen
Anything is possible
Watch the giants fall

Discussion

Okay, so from the outset it should be clear that the artist is pulling from the David and Goliath motif. Back in May 2014, we did a CTT post on that particular form of narcigesis (reading yourself into a passage) where we looked at the account of David defeating Goliath and how it points to Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil.

CTT | David and Goliath

For those of you who want a quick summary rather than read the older CTT post, I’ll say that if we are looking at the account in 1 Samuel 16 from a historical perspective, King David is King David, Goliath is Goliath, and Israel is God’s chosen people whom God saves from the kingdom of the Philistines. We also see this as type and shadow of the once-for-all victory of Christ over sin, death, and the devil. King David foreshadows Christ (who sits on the Throne of David, born in the City of David, etc), Goliath stands in for sin/death/devil, and Israel is the Church, whom God saves from the kingdom of darkness. Goliath does NOT represent your day-to-day disappointments.

So that takes care of the song’s title and overall theme of the song. It’s based on an extremely popular form of narcigesis within the evangelical industrial complex. Back when I had written the CTT post, I could only speak for NAR circles, but I’ve seen this error nearly everywhere within “American Christianity” since. We love being the hero of our own story. Unfortunately, that isn’t the theology of the cross. Now, let’s look at some of the other issues with the lyric of this song.

Verse 1. Okay, so who’s the audience? What’s the dilemma? Apparently the dilemma is that everyone is telling the target audience to let go of what they’re holding onto. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? The song assumes it’s bad, but is it? Shouldn’t we let go of false teaching, idols, sinful desires, selfishness, greed? Yes, yes we should. What might we be holding onto that others will try to make us let go of? The Word of God? The confessions? the Creeds? Proclamation of Salvation by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ Alone, to the Glory of God alone, as revealed in Scripture alone? Well we cannot and will not let go of such things. My point here is the artist simply hasn’t defined the problem to which she’s going to cheer on the listener. This song has no footing, no anchor. That is a real problem for this song because the next verse builds onto this one without bringing any clarity. We have to assume that the listener is holding onto all of the right things and that everyone who is telling the listener to let go is wrong. That’s quite the stretch even before we get to the narcigetical treatment of David & Goliath.

Chorus. A blind approval and encouragement to “go, fight, win” without any discernment in the problem at hand. This happens a lot within charismatic circles, by the way, just showering name-it-and-claim-it positivism that whatever it is you want will be yours and they do it in Jesus’ name, blasphemy be damned.  Since this chorus is being offered as an answer to the first verse, it is equally lacking in foundation or an anchor. The listener may be holding onto the wrong things, dangerous things, things God’s Word forbids, yet the listener is being encouraged to “go, fight, win” with whatever they’ve got on their minds. this is reckless and dangerous. This is what happens when you try to present promises of the Gospel without any  mention of the Law.

Verse 2. We could really live like what? Are we doing a what-if the Word of Faith was a real thing? It isn’t. Also notice the implication that it is our fault that God isn’t able to work in our lives. A child-like faith accepts the Written Word of God as God-breathed. Spend less time chasing after your dream-destiny thingy and more time in the Word of God, rightly dividing Law and Gospel.

Okay, well I’m done with the song. So let’s look to what Scripture says, firstly let’s look at what it means to be saved by God and from where our good works flow.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 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.

Paul clearly writes that our Salvation is completely apart from our works. We are saved for good works, not because of them. We are Christ’s workmanship, in that He has raised us from the dead. We were completely dead in sins and trespasses. Christ brought us back to life, granting us the very faith required to repent. Neither the grace nor the faith was our own doing, pure gift of God. Our justification exists purely in Christ’s finished work on the cross. As Christians, whom we must presume to be the target audience for the song, God’s Word does talk about letting go of fleshly desires and holding onto Christ. The context of this is by Faith, given to us by God.

Galatians 5:13-6:10 (ESV)

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

I shared this passage because I think the Apostle Paul covers both Law and Gospel and freedom in Christ and what our good works in the Gospel are aimed at, loving our neighbors. Your good works aren’t meritorious toward your relationship to God. God doesn’t need your good works, your neighbor does. And the good works you do aren’t yours, they are themselves gifts of faith from God. I know this doesn’t exactly coincide with the “go, fight, win” theme of the song, but I’m not interested in salvaging this song, I just want to make sure we are looking at this present life in light of the Gospel.

We don’t need to wish for the giants to fall, nor invent easy giants that can be felled by our will and determination, we need to trust that Christ has already felled the giant on our behalf, and that we are alive in Him. In closing, let us look to how Peter encouraged the church in his first letter.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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