DiM | “Rise” by Danny Gokey

disapproveCCM Edition.

November 01, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Rise” by Danny Gokey which currently sits at #17 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Thematically today’s song is like a sequel to “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again“. This song is clearly a “positive” and even “emotionally uplifting” song, but it isn’t a clearly Christian song. The lyric in this song is completely bathed in theology of glory, a theology that makes the christian the hero. This is wildly popular in popular evangelicalism, but it isn’t Biblical. The Gospel doesn’t point to our own greatness, it points us to Christ. No, not even under the argument of “because of Christ… I’m awesome”. In today’s post, we’ll be focusing more on what Scripture teaches us to focus on, the Cross of Jesus Christ than on parsing every line of the song. Let’s give it a listen, read the lyrics, and then discuss the theology.

Danny Gokey Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via K-Love)

There’s a brokenness inside of you
There’s a wound that still reminds you
Of the fear, shame and rejection
You have seen it, you have seen it

You know it’s time to get up
But your heart’s paralyzed, you’re so stuck
You’re past the point of trying again
You’re defeated, you’re defeated

But something inside you can’t deny
You hear the call of your creator
I made you for more, unlocked the door
I wanna restore your glory

So Rise
Breaking the dark, piercing the night
You’re made to shine
An army of hope
Bringing the world
A radiant light
A radiant light
You were made to rise, rise

Lift your head and look around you
See the dreams you lost, they have found you
And the heart that once was beating
Is coming back to life
Coming back to life

But something inside you can’t deny
You hear the call of your creator
I made you for more, unlocked the door
I wanna restore your glory

So Rise
Breaking the dark, piercing the night
You’re made to shine
An army of hope
Bringing the world
A radiant light
A radiant light
You were made to rise, rise

Shut the door on yesterday
Leave what happened in the grave
You were made to rise
You were made to shine
Creations longing for the day
For kings and queens to take their place
You were made to rise
You were made to shine

Rise
Breaking the dark
Piercing the night
Made to shine
Bring the world
A radiant light

Rise
Breaking the dark, piercing the night
You’re made to shine
An army of hope
Bringing the world
A radiant light
A radiant light
You were made to rise, rise
You were made to rise, rise
You were made to

Publishing: BMG Platinum songs, Creative Hearts Publishing (BMI) / Word Music, LLC, Howiecowie Publishing (ASCAP) / Wordspring Music, LLC, (SESAC)
Writer(s): Danny Gokey, Benji Cowart, Josh Brownleewe

Discussion

So there is no mention of Christ, nothing is presented in light of the Gospel, no repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The focus of the song isn’t on Christ, it’s on (presumably) the christian. The song is a motivational pep-talk, urging the christian to do something. I take issue with what the song is telling the listener to do, namely to look inwardly for inspiration to believe in the self, the buried greatness inside that is somehow destined to rise. While Danny does invoke “the Creator”, it’s one who is speaking from inside the listener. I’ve been worried about his theology for a while, particularly with his fascination with “the Shack”.

gokey

We’ve discussed this particular concern, but considering the problematic theology in the book regarding Our Triune God, this is worth bringing up again because of how the lyric references God. Nearly every false religion also invokes a “creator”, so simply invoking a Creator does not provide clarity, particularly not in this something inside you context. When we need encouragement, the last place we need to look for it is within ourselves… we are the ones needing encouragement. Christians look to the external Word of God.

The song presents a few lines that are theologically problematic. Let’s work through them

Verse 1. I’ve already mentioned this one in the third stanza of the first verse,

But something inside you can’t deny
You hear the call of your creator
I made you for more, unlocked the door
I wanna restore your glory

If there was some possibility that the song was pointing to eternity, this one might be given a positive spin. But that’s simply not the context of the song. What glory is your creator trying to restore in you? You were born dead in sins and trespasses. That’s what these “purpose driven life” folks can’t seem to get right. The Gospel is NOT about unlocking some potential from within you, the Gospel is about rescuing from sin, for forgiveness and eternal life.

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.

We were dead in sins and trespasses. Dead. God saves us by His Grace, through Faith in Christ Jesus, and this salvation has nothing to do with our works. There is no “hidden potential” deep within you, no glory to be restored. We glory in Christ, not ourselves. So what is Paul talking about when he mentions the good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in? Paul gives general guidance in chapter 4 of his letter and then breaks down some more specific guidance for various vocations. Let’s look at the general description of this New Life we’ve been called to walk in:

Ephesians 4:17-32 (ESV) | The New Life

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Notice that Paul closes out this thought in the forgiveness of God in Christ Jesus. Paul is not pointing to the christian’s glory, or special calling, Paul is pointing to what we might call the “third use of the Law”, where the Law informs forgiven Christians of what a Good Work is. Jesus is the Word made flesh. This is how John introduces the Gospel to his readers. He also recorded an important question and answer in Chapter 6.

John 6:26-33 (ESV) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

The bread of Heaven is the Word of God, Christ Jesus, who gives life to the world. The external Word is where we look for life, not inside of ourselves. This is what is so wrong with “purpose driven” theology of glory. It emphasizes the christian over the Christ.

Chorus. Can the chorus be re-interpreted to be pointing to Christ? I suppose it can and even has to in order for it to be so wildly popular, but doing so requires reshaping the focus of the song. The one Rising in the song is still the listener, and the listener has to remind himself that we are NOT the light, nor are we the hope of the world, that Christ is the Light and the Hope of the World. The lyric isn’t pointing to Christ, though, it’s pointing to the christian. The lyric might also be reshaped to point to eternity, indicating that all who are in Christ Jesus have been sealed by God the Holy Spirit, by Grace through Faith in Christ, for the Resurrection in the Last Day. Though, that Day isn’t the hope of the world that hates God. That Day will bring judgment upon the living and the dead. Only those who are covered by the Righteousness of Christ will be granted eternal life.

The biggest problem in this chorus is that it completely ignores those whose vocations aren’t given to glory or success or measurable accomplishments by the world’s standards. As we saw in Eph 4, our new lives in Christ are not particularly glorious in themselves. We love, we forgive, we speak the truth. There is no such thing as “glorious vs mediocre” Christianity… there is only Christ and Him crucified for our sins.

Verse 2. Okay, some of these lines might be reshaped a bit, but the following is just bad.

Creations longing for the day
For kings and queens to take their place

Creation isn’t longing for us to do anything. That’s putting the emphasis on the wrong thing. Creation is longing for Christ’s return. We, too, are longing for that very same thing.

Romans 8:22-25 (ESV) For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Skipping over that point of what it is Creation longs for leads us to think that somehow we (kings and queens) have something to do with His Return. I get that he’s invoking the promise that those who are in Christ will “reign and rule with Him” in eternity, but notice the context:

2 Timothy 2:8-13 (ESV) Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

The promise of the Gospel is indeed that we will rise on the Last Day (1 Peter 1:3-12). That is not to say that we are all called to temporal greatness as the world sees greatness. In the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus the man of faith died a beggar, covered in sores being licked by the dogs (Luke 16:19-31).

Conclusion

To consider this song a “Christian song” requires the listener to insert Christ into the lyric or behind the lyric. The lyric itself does not proclaim Christ. It is a motivational song that vaguely invokes the creator while presenting very odd theological statements that don’t rightly square with Scripture. This song is definitely a “positive” song, and an emotionally “uplifting” song, but not specifically “Christian”. The reinterpretation needed to make it a “Christian” song would also make songs like “Fight Song by Rachel Platton” a contender for a christian song. These two songs are in the same ballpark, though Gokey’s invokes a little more “spirituality” in the lyric. This is just “positive music”. It could play on any “positive” radio station without anyone batting an eye. That isn’t the standard for these DiM posts, where we are looking for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the lyric of the song.

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

DiM | “More Than You Think I Am” by Danny Gokey

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

April 21, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “More Than You Think I Am” by Danny Gokey which currently sits at #16 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

We have another song of encouragement, with an extra shot of espresso. Danny Gokey’s voice is amazing, and this song was masterfully produced, but I cannot recommend this song to anyone for any purpose beyond practicing discernment. This song displays a theology along the lines of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. The real answers the Bible offers for the hurting, the questions, and the fears we face are far greater than any man-made philosophy, pep-talk, or song.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

More Than You Think I Am by Danny Gokey

You always think I’m somewhere on a mountaintop
But never think behind bars
You’d be amazed the places that I go
To be with you, where you are

So forget what you’ve heard
What you think that you know
There’s a lot about Me
That’s never been told

CHORUS
I’m more than you dream
More than you understand
Your days and your times
Were destined for our dance
I catch all your tears
Burn your name on My heart
Be still and trust My plan
I’m more than you think I am
More than you think I am

Rumor has it there’s a gavel in My hand
I’m only here to condemn
But let Me tell you secrets you have never known
I think of you as My best friend

So much has been said
Even done in My name
But I’m showing you now
Who I really am

CHORUS

Let me open your eyes to see
The heart of Me, differently oh oh
Come closer than you’ve ever been
Let Me in like never before
Bring Me every broken part
The wounds and scars of who you are
Hide in Me and you will see…

CHORUS

More than you think I am
More than you think I am
I’m more than you think I am

Publishing: © 2014 Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Goes Something Like THiS Music/Nichols’ Boys Music (BMI) © 2014 G650 Music, Pure Note Music, Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) © 2014 BMG Platinum Songs/Creative Heart Publishing/Admin by BMG Rights Management (BMI) Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.
Writer(s): Danny Gokey/Bernie Herms/Tim Nichols

Discussion

The musical and vocal talent in this song is fantastic. The lyrical content is at-best drivel (on the order of Sarah Young) or at worst dangerous (like Bill or Beni Johnson of Bethel, CA). For the unbeliever, this song is absolutely dangerous because it falsely elevates the unbeliever to the status of God’s Best friend. To the Believer, it is still dangerous if it serves to reinforce bad theology. We will not be trying to put a good construction on this song. Let’s get to the major problems in the lyrics.

There’s a lot about Me, That’s never been told. Okay, so this is the point in the song where my head sort of exploded (not literally). It is one thing to tell someone they have been taught a false gospel, or have been deceived by false teachers, but to claim that God is telling the listener that He is going to tell them things about Himself that have never been told is absolutely treacherous. While one can make the philosophical (or metaphysical) argument that there is a lot about God that has never been told, whatever God hasn’t revealed of Himself to us in His Word is NOT for us to know or speculate on in the here and now. When we see God in the Kingdom of Heaven, we will stand amazed at all that He is, and still not fully know what He has not revealed, for we are the creation and He is the Creator. God is not revealing things about Himself to us individually that He hasn’t revealed of Himself in His Word. He simply isn’t. God’s Word is the standard by which we measure all things. If God were to reveal something of Himself that has never been revealed, we’d have no way to confirm it in His Word. Therefore, I know that God wouldn’t do it. What’s worse, if any claim to a revelation of God (Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit) is such that it cannot be validated in Scripture then we know that it isn’t of God; rather, it is a demon posing as an angel of light. There is also the lines invoking some sort of post-modern “forget what you know or think you know”. What is that? To whom is this song addressed, Christians? Forget what they’ve heard? like the Gospel? This actually reminds me a lot of Rob Bell and his nonsense.

But let Me tell you secrets you have never known, I think of you as My best friend. This is attempting to say a lot more than “God loves you”. This is intended to paint a picture of God wooing the listener, in much the same way as Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” mysticism. But notice the 2 lines before this one… “rumor has it there’s a gavel in my hand”… This line is intended to refute the idea that God is a Judge. When Jesus first walked this earth, it is true He didn’t come to judge, but to save. From what did He come to save? God’s Judgement. Oh, so there IS a gavel. Yes.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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. 18 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.

2 Timothy 4:5-8 (ESV)
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

But isn’t there a passage in John where Jesus does call the disciples His friends? Yes. Let’s look at it.

John 15:12-17 (ESV) 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Still doesn’t reflect the context of this song, and even refutes the earlier points of some secret as-yet untold revelation of God. Nonsense. Jesus IS the revelation of God and He is returning to Judge creation.

But I’m showing you now, Who I really am. This stanza is horrible. Who is doing the showing? What is being shown? This song is designed to entice the listener to forget what they’ve heard about God, forget that the Bible is the Word of God, how He has revealed Himself to man, and to openly embrace some new secret that elevates the status of man to “best friend” of God, whose name has been burned into God’s very heart. This is mysticism. Just open up for something new and never before revealed encounter with god, and do so stripped of any discernment, whatsoever. Dangerous.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Preach the Word
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Hope in Front of Me” by Danny Gokey

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

At the time of this writing, the K-Love top songs chart had not been updated from last week; therefore, we will be using 20 the Countdown Magazine’s chart for today’s DiM post. I can’t tell how often this chart is updated, but the top song on the chart is Danny Gokey’s “Hope In Front Of Me”. As it turns out, this song was at #4 on the K-Love chart last week, and would have been the next song on our list to review anyway, so here we go. Let us begin with a refresher for those who might not have heard this song on the radio:

[youtube http://youtu.be/O5GFiDdGGGM]

 

Hope in Front of Me | Lyrics (via Metro Lyrics)

I’ve been running through rain
That I thought would never end
Trying to make it on faith
In a struggle against the wind
I’ve seen the dark and the broken places
But I know in my soul
No matter how bad it gets
I’ll be alright

There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light, I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it
I might be down but I’m not dead
There’s better days still up ahead
Even after all I’ve seen
There’s hope in front of me

There’s a place at the end of the storm
You finally find
Where the hurt and the tears and the pain
All fall behind

You open up your eyes and up ahead
There’s a big sun shining
Right then and there you realize
You’ll be alright

There’s hope in front of me
There’s a light, I still see it
There’s a hand still holding me
Even when I don’t believe it
I might be down but I’m not dead
There’s better days still up ahead
Even after all I’ve seen
There’s hope in front of me

There’s a hope still burning
I can feel it rising through the night
And my world’s still turning
I can feel your love here by my side

You’re my hope
You’re the light, I still see it
Your hands are holding me
Even when I don’t believe it
I’ve got to believe
I still have hope
You are my hope

Songwriters
HERMS, BERNIE / JAMES, BRETT / GOKEY, DANIEL JAY

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Read more: Danny Gokey – Hope In Front Of Me Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Positive Elements

Well, it is definitely an attempt to give encouragement to any and all who are going through hard times. If you bring in the Official Music Video, you get a sense of rescue for those who are struggling with hopelessness in various circumstances… and then they end up broken down in the middle of a country road and just need to keep walking… *sigh*. The song is vague. Danny Gokey has professed to be a Christian, he did so while he was competing in American Idol (Season 8) where he finished in 3rd place, which is quite an accomplishment. He has an absolutely tremendous voice and a great sense of musical style and delivers his music with power and emotion. This song also points toward a wonderful community outreach of Sophia’s Heart Foundation, named in honor of his late first wife. What they do here is undoubtedly a good work for the poor and the down-trodden, and this song Hope in Front of Me is undoubtedly anthemic for those being touched by this ministry. These are all positive elements and deeply commendable, but the vagueness of the messaging still looms. Before we move on to specific concerns, I want to share a video from Danny Gokey’s Homepage that really helped me tie this song to the Sophia’s Heart Foundation.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffivEQpbUZA]

Concerns

Our goal here is to practice Biblical discernment in the songs we hear played on the radio (maybe even sing along with) so that we are fully aware of what we are filling our hearts and minds with. The song has some very strong religious/spiritual keywords such as: faith, soul, belief, hope, light, and love. Each of these words resonate with religions of all flavors, even the godless ones (e.g. humanism and buddism). The vagueness is a problem here because at no time in the song or in the Official Music Video is the object of the singers faith identified nor is the hope articulated beyond a generic positive confession of “better days” and “I’ll be alright”. There is also a quirk that pops up in the use of the pronoun “you”. As with most modern-day spiritual songs, the “you” is at times implying God (or at least a higher power) but might also refer to an earthly person (love interest), but the quirk comes in where “you” suddenly shifts to the hearer. Well, that’s a problem since we also have the other two possible “you”s in the song. Vagueness is the key issue with this song. The Gospel isn’t remotely vague. Scripture isn’t vague. “Spiritual songs” are vague to appeal to the widest possible audience for sales. The song does not provide any answers, no gospel, and not really any Law, just an appeal to Hope.

To get any meaning out of the song, you first have to put real meaning into it. Let’s see if we can’t manage some salvaging of the song from the Scriptures.

Faith. Faith is not a thing unto itself. If we are using a strictly Biblical definition of faith, only believers have faith. We see in Romans 10:17 (ESV) “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. Therefore, apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ there can be no faith. In fact, when Paul describes the state of sin of mankind in Romans 1, he lists “faithlessness” as one of their attributes.

Romans 1:28-32 (ESV) 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

In the modern-day church we often use “faith” and “belief” interchangeably. If we are to do that, then we need to understand that there is only one True faith (faith that comes from hearing the Word of God), and all other faiths (or beliefs) are false. For the sake of redeeming this song, we must hold to the Biblical definition of faith, that is, faith in the Person, Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Hope. Since this is the main thrust of the song, I want to focus on salvaging this term. I could not do so without first properly anchoring the term Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the same way that faith requires an object, we need to properly identify the object of our hope. Our hope is in Christ, and in Christ we have a hope. I think Peter does a great job of encapsulating it in the introduction of 1 Peter.

1 Peter 1:1-12 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 8 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, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Our hope is in an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading… and that inheritance is kept for us in heaven to be revealed in the last time. The hope of heaven, that we will gain entrance into heaven through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That this sinful flesh will finally be put away from us in death, and that by His blood we will join physically in His resurrection as He gives us perfect, new, sinless bodies as part of our inheritance. That is our hope. And it is so marvelous and such an occasion for rejoicing that the various trials may cause us grief in this life are brief and temporary. The Hope of Heaven and the Hope of the Great Day of Christ’s return is the Hope in Front of Me. Unfortunately, there are lines in the song that wrongfully anchor this hope in the temporal. I’m not saying there won’t be any good times while on this earth, the promise is that we who are in Christ will face trials of many kinds, and that our faith will be tested, for this fallen world Hates God. If your hope is anchored in this life, you’ve anchored it on a sandy floor that shifts with storms and seas. At the risk of belaboring the point, “your best life now” is NOT a Christian confession. Our inheritance (our Hope) is kept for us in Heaven. While on Earth, God the Holy Spirit comforts, helps, sustains, and nurtures us… but He does so for purposes that extend well beyond this present life, and beyond our own understanding. He is building up the Bride of Christ, of which we who believe are all members.

Conclusion

This song is vague, and at-best simply a spiritual song. It doesn’t really proclaim the Gospel or uphold the Law. It is a generically “positive” song, sung extremely well. I can become a teaching point if the conversation lends itself to you sharing the Gospel by explaining faith, hope, and love as they are defined by the Bible rather than humanism. But the song doesn’t do that on its own.

I was deeply moved by the EPK film, the background behind Sophia’s Heart Foundation… but even in that film we heard too much of “my story” rather than the Gospel. We touched on the problem of teaching that Christians are supposed to share “their story” rather than His when we reviewed Casting Crown’s teaching videos. I was moved by the good works of Sophia’s Heart Foundation, and I have no problem sharing what they are doing. But good works apart from the Gospel are temporal. Preach the Gospel, so that those who hear the words of Christ might obtain faith in Christ and through Christ be assured of the Hope that lies ahead, the hope of that upward call of Christ on the Last Day.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ,
Jorge