DiM | “Beloved” by Jordan Feliz

disapproveCCM Edition.

June 13, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Beloved” by Jordan Feliz which currently sits at #6 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Today’s song is a good example of how presenting a “nice” song as a “christian” song creates a problem of unclear messaging. Our purpose here is to examine these top-charting CCM songs for Gospel content and sound, Christian, doctrine. If you’re just looking for “nice songs” to listen to for entertainment, there are such songs in every musical genre both secular and ostensibly “christian” radio stations. This song is generally pretty, and nice, but does not teach sound doctrine.

JordanFelizVEVO

Lyrics (via KLove)

Head full of questions, how can you measure up to deserve affection, to ever be enough
For this existence, when did it get so hard your heart is beating, alive and breathing and there’s a reason why
You are essential, not accidental and you should realize

(chorus)
You are beloved
I wanted you to know you are beloved
Let it soak into your soul
Forget the lies you heard, rise above the hurt and listen to these words
You are beloved
I want you to know you are beloved you are beloved

Sometimes a heart can, feel like a heavy weight it pulls you under, and you just fall away
Is anybody gonna hear you call but there’s a purpose, under the surface
And you don’t have to drown let me remind you, that love will find you
Let it lift you out

(chorus)
You are beloved I wanted you to know
You are beloved let it soak into your soul
Forget the lies you heard, rise above the hurt and listen to these words
You are beloved I want you to know
You are beloved you are beloved

Don’t be afraid, don’t let hope fade keep your eyes fixed on the light above
In the heartbreak, in your mistakes nothing can separate you from love
Don’t be afraid, don’t let hope fade keep your eyes fixed on the light above
In the heartbreak, in your mistakes nothing can separate you from love

(chorus)
You are beloved I wanted you to know
You are beloved let it soak into your soul
Forget the lies you heard, rise above the hurt and listen to these words
You are beloved I want you to know you are beloved
You are beloved you are beloved

Don’t be afraid, don’t let hope fade keep your eyes fixed on the light above
In the heartbreak, in your mistakes nothing can separate you from love

Publishing: © 2015 CentricSongs (SESAC) / Colby Wedgworth Music & Fair Trade Music Publishers (ASCAP) / Annie and Clyde Music (ASCAP)
Writer(s): Words and Music by Jordan Feliz, Colby Wedgeworth and Paul Dun

Discussion

So let’s begin the discussion by acknowledging that God is nowhere found in the lyric of this song. This song was written about Christians being God’s beloved, though that is undoubtedly how the song is being portrayed and played on Christian airwaves. The song is written for Jordan’s daughter, Jolie. Here is a bit from an interview from 2015:

Hallels:  I believe the title cut “Beloved” was written for your daughter.  Tell us a little about your family and why you decide to write a song for your daughter.
Jordan: My wife and I met when we were both 15 years old and dated long distance for the first four and a half years. When she turned 20 she moved to California, a year later we were engaged and a year after that we were married. We had a beautiful little girl named Jolie nine weeks ago and she has completely rocked our world. I did write the title track for Jolie. After realizing that we were having a little girl I kept thinking about how much I was gonna love her, but the thought of what the world was gonna tell her kept coming to mind also. Things like ‘you’re not pretty enough,’ or ‘you’re not skinny enough.’ The list goes on and on. I wanted to write her a song that let her know no matter what this world tells her, she is loved not only by me, but by the savior of the world. Now that I understand the love a father feels for his child, I have found a whole new respect for God’s love for us. So even though ‘Beloved’ is written for Jolie, it holds meaning for the way Christ feels about us!

Sweet story of a father excited about his daughter. That’s wonderful. He wrote this song for her. He was worried about how the world will mistreat her and lie to her. It’s true, the world will hate her as it hates us. So let’s discuss this first as an encouragement for our children.

Jordan sets up the problem of a world that is going to lie to his daughter, that she’s not pretty enough or skinny enough, that she’s not good enough. We see this concern echoed in the first lines of the song, “how can you measure up to deserve affection, to ever be enough for this existence…” The answer he’s providing for his daughter is his assurance that no matter what the world says of her, she is beloved. As parents, this is natural to our way of thinking, “just know that I love you” and this should be enough. While the messages “I love you” and “you are loved” are vitally important for our children to hear and accept growing up, they don’t make everything go away. Frankly, my daughter knowing I love her isn’t always going to be enough for her to wrestle with the world. The chorus also tells her to “forget the lies” and “rise up from the hurt”. Okay, but the problem with these lies is that they are easily internalized and become less and less obviously untrue. Our children are going to need more. They need Christ and Him crucified for our sin, resurrected and seated at the Right hand of the Father, interceding for them, washing them, reconciling them, returning for them. Jordan doesn’t quite go the full route to encouraging his daughter in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He gets vague enough to hint at it a bit with quasi-spiritual phrases like “Let it soak into your soul” (where “it” means “that you are beloved”) and “keep your eyes fixed on the light above”. Well, okay, sure… the world often refers to “the man upstairs” and several spiritual people make references to divine light. This vague spiritualeze doesn’t point to Christ or His promises and it doesn’t intrinsically empower a young lady to ignore the lies of the world and focus on her earthly father’s love. Jordan is young and is quite the artist type, so he’s grown up in an age where “self-esteem” and “self-worth” are the hallmarks of a healthy individual.

The song is a fatherly love song, an encouragement to rest in the knowledge that daddy loves her. That’s a good thing. There is nothing wrong with that. If anything, it is incomplete and lacking in objective promises. When your feelings betray you, looking to your feelings is a dead-end. It’s a rare person who can compel herself to feel differently on command. We need objective truths, objectively discernible promises for us to take refuge under and to take comfort in. We look to the external Word of God for this purpose.

2 Timothy 1:3-14 (ESV)

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Paul is writing to Timothy as a spiritual son, and makes clear reference to Timothy’s faithful upbringing. This is taking the message of “you are beloved” to a greater and more concrete level than merely, “know that I love you”. This is a very touching love song, but stays in the shallow end with Bruno Mars’ “Just the way you are”. Come to think of it, Bruno’s lyrics actually had more promises to hold onto, though it is decidedly more romantic in nature.

Now to the matter of why we do these DiM posts, why these songs are played on Christian radio stations that claim to be Gospel ministries. Jordan is well aware of how this song will be played on this album as he makes his closing statement about the song, “So even though ‘Beloved’ is written for Jolie, it holds meaning for the way Christ feels about us!” Perhaps this holds true for a generic idea of God, but the One True God has revealed His love for us in such a substantial, objective, and far superior way than merely affirming that we are “beloved”.

1 John 3:1-3 (ESV) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Ephesians 2:4-9 (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.

Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ must not be minimized and distilled into merely “something you need to believe so you don’t go to hell”… it is the very definition of Love, of God’s Grace and Mercy to us, our adoption as sons and daughters into the Kingdom of Heaven, the Household of Faith, heirs and joint heirs with Christ. This song doesn’t proclaim the Gospel. Doesn’t even point at it. At best it could be allegorized into a generic appeal to some benevolent deity, but it doesn’t clearly proclaim the One True God. And it wasn’t initially intended to be. On this point, my ire is not pointed at Jordan, but the CCM industry. All of the times I’ve heard this song played on the radio, I’ve never heard a DJ point out that this song was written to his daughter. That’s some important context, I think. It at least keeps the song firmly in the realm of earthly entertainment and “feelz”.

Conclusion

As a fatherly love song, this song isn’t bad. Too vague for my liking, but it’s not bad. The dude has a great voice and the production quality is very good, very polished. But these DiM posts aren’t about whether or not a song has artistic merit. This is about looking for a proclamation of the Gospel in songs that are topping the CCM charts. In that regard, this song is disapproved. Yes, God loves us, and no, that isn’t the Gospel.

John 3:16-18 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

So, while this is a generally nice song, it fails the test of teaching sound doctrine, particularly that of the Gospel.

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.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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