CCM Radio Edition.
October 02, 2018. Today we’ll be taking a look at “You Say” by Lauren Daigle which currently sits at #1 on the Top20 chart at 20theCountdownMagazine.
Lauren Daigle is a gifted singer with an amazing voice. She could sing the menu at McDonald’s and keep my attention… and probably move me to order a meal as a result. It’s too bad she has been taught a version of “Christianity” that praises “me and my identity” rather than Christ crucified for our sin. This song falls into the category of “theology of glory” rather than a Theology of the Cross. I’m sure there will many who read this and try very hard to fix the theology of the song by eisegeting (adding to the text) the full preaching of Law and Gospel, but this isn’t about what we can turn the song into; rather, this is about what is in the song. Based on what we find in the lyric of this song, it falls well into the category of Disapproved.
Lyrics (via K-Love)
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know
You say I am loved
When I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong
When I think I am weak
You say I am held
When I am falling short
When I don’t belong
You say I am Yours
And I believe
What You say of me
The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity
Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet
You have every failure, God, and You’ll have every victory
Oh, I believe
Yes, I believe
What You say of me
Oh, I believe
Publishing: © 2018 See You At The Pub & CentricSongs (SESAC) / So Essential Tunes & Fellow Ships Music (SESAC) / Flychild Publishing & So Essential Tunes (SESAC)
Words and Music by Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury
Verse 1. I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough So from the beginning we start with a presentation of the problem. Inner voices saying “I’m not enough”. Everyone can relate to this thought of “not being enough”… you don’t even have to be Christian to have these thoughts. Heck, even Nike plays on this theme… their solution “just do it”. Let’s see if the song gives us something more specific. Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up Is this a lie? Depends on what is being measured and by what standard. If you’ve read through some DiM, you probably know where I’m headed with this, so let’s finish out the verse. “Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know” Now here we get a typical minimization of the problem of sin as merely “a low” but greater than that error is the overall focus of the problem in the first verse and where the singer is turning for the solution. The focus of the problem is “how I measure up” being different from all of the lies being told her. She’s going to attempt to convey a gospel without acknowledging the truth… that we don’t measure up, that we aren’t enough, and if we were the sum of only our highs we’d STILL fall short of the Glory of God, which is the standard of the Law.
James 2:10-13 (ESV) For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Romans 3:21-26 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
We cannot move on to the Gospel by skipping the Law. The Gospel doesn’t invalidate the Law, it is the answer to the Law. The only answer.
Chorus. The chorus is a string of platitudes supposedly God’s affirmation of “me” despite anything I might think of myself, feel of myself, or am told about myself. The singer is leaving a lot of room for the listener to read him/herself into the lyric and finding “encouragement” in these platitudes… but, again, we’ve completely skipped what the Law has clearly revealed about us in our fallen, human nature.
You say I am loved
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.”
When I can’t feel a thing relying on emotion to discern truth is an error. At least, in this case, the song is indicating that our feelings lie.
You say I am strong When I think I am weak We don’t just think we are weak, we ARE weak.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
You say I am held When I am falling short Right back to emotional language. We’ve already addressed the fact of Scripture that all have fallen short due to sin. This isn’t merely a “past tense” situation… this is true “today” for Christians, we sin and fall short daily. Now, there is room here for a greater discussion of where Christians look for comfort. A careful reading of John 16 is a great place to look. Jesus is preparing the Disciples for what is about to come and already teaching them (and us) the role of God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit isn’t an emotion or a feeling, but a Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit.
John 16:7-15 (ESV) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
What remains in the Chorus is filler, emotional manipulation in mystical form (repetition of self-affirming platitutes) to a soothing score as if to communicate to the listener that “this is the answer”. The focus is “belief”, but not clearly belief in Christ the Son; rather, a belief in what the singer is saying God says of “me”.
Verse 2. This isn’t a full verse… it’s designed to add some thoughts and loop right back into the chorus. “The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity” So the singer is reinforcing her proposed solution to the stated problem of the lying voices of doubt in myself. But this problem has been so poorly framed, that now we’re also jettisoning what Scripture clearly teaches to be true of us… that we’re sinners who fall short daily and we need to be forgiven of our sin. Typical of CCM, this song tries to affirm the listener’s “self esteem” without preaching Law and Gospel. Trying to share the Gospel while skipping over and even ignoring the Law doesn’t work… because the Old Adam (your sinful flesh) simply asserts its self-worship, the extolling of our own virtue, our own worth, with a thin veil of “this is how God thinks of me”. There is an errant view of Salvation at work here that ignores the simul (that we are simultaneously sinner and saint as Paul lays out in Romans 1-8). So that the Christian Life, rather than being a life of repentance, becomes a life of “meaning” or “worth”, that the point of being a Christian is finally “being someone” or “having value in God’s eyes”. Clearly these are by-products, so to speak, of Christ’s Saving work, but the focus of the Gospel is that Christ has paid the price for our sin, that He took our place on that cross to pay the full price of not only our sins before, but the sins we continue to commit in our weakened flesh (weakened by sin) until the Day of His Return, the Resurrection. This song’s focus is on “self-esteem” rather than on Repentance and the forgiveness of sin by Grace alone, through Faith in Christ alone. Self-esteem is what our sinful flesh is always craving, always self-justifying, always demanding… but a life of repentance is a denial of self.
Luke 9:23 (ESV) And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Bridge. Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet You have every failure, God, and You’ll have every victory Well, this is mystical language. We aren’t actually “laying everything down”, this isn’t like the Israelites bringing their sacrifices to the Temple. What does it mean to bring God “every failure”? Well, if CCM had a proper understanding and doctrine of Sin, this wouldn’t be less ethereal and could simply be phrased as “Confession and repentance of sin and receiving the Absolution (Forgiveness of sin)”. God has every victory already, so we see this wrong notion that somehow God cannot bless us *unless* we let Him. Revivalists and Charismatics have this very strange (unbiblical) notion of a God who cannot do unless we let Him. Again, this is a theology of glory, in our glory, our sacrifice, our surrendering of… well, really just emotions and doubts of our own self worth? The context of the song is off-center, the Gospel isn’t that Christ died on the cross so that we can have better self-esteem.
The song closes out with a refrain that I believe what God says of me… this is like Joel Osteen’s pseudo-creed of “…this is my Bible, I am what it says I am…” The focus of the Scriptures is Christ, not us.
John 5:39-40 (ESV) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
It’s little wonder how this song made it to the #1 position on the CCM charts. It’s all about pumping up the listener’s self-esteem by saying how awesome God says the listener is. No Law, no sin, no confession, no repentance, just a declaration of how awesome the listener is despite how the listener feels, what the listener think, or what anyone says about the listener. Who’s NOT going to want to hear that message sung by such an amazingly beautiful voice? Sadly, the doctrine at play is self-centered and quite carnal. This message of self affirmation is one the world proclaims daily… and it is dying in sin and trespasses. In the very first verse, the artist talks about the lie of “not measuring up”… but nowhere in the song does the artist clarify the measuring standard or how far we truly fall short, or that we do so daily. When you avoid the Law you leave no room for the Gospel.
Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
In Christ Jesus,