DiM | “Soul on Fire” by Third Day

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

March 10, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Soul on Fire” by Third Day which currently sits at #13 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.

Last week, Third Day released their latest album entitled “Lead us back“. They are calling this a Worship Album. The first single released is their song “Soul on Fire”. Their latest tour is being called the “Soul on Fire” tour. So, let’s take a look at this new song. It’s a very catchy song, and I am drawn to their musical style. Musically, I love this song. However, lyrically this isn’t one of their better songs.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Soul On Fire by Third Day

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I’m longing for Your ways
I’m waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

Lord, restore the joy I had
And I have one to bring me back
In this darkness, lead me through
Until all I see is You

Lord, let me burn for You again
Let me return to You again
And Lord, let me burn for You again
Let me return to You again

God, I’m running for Your heart
I’m running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
I want to be
Till I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

Publishing: © 2014 Songs From The Quarry (ASCAP) / Thankyou Music (PRS) / I Am Pilgrim Songs / Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI)
Writer(s): Mac Powell, Tai Anderson, David Carr, Mark Lee, Brenton Brown, Matt Maher

Discussion

I’ve taken to dispensing with the “pros” and “cons” on songs that seem to just miss the mark such that I struggle to build either a Pro or a Con list. In this case, I’m completely confused by this song and its messaging. So, we’ll just talk about what has me confused, we’ll look at the Scriptures that I think are relevant to the message and draw to a close for now. If you are in possession of better insight, such as an interview with the band that sheds light on what they think the lyrics convey, do please share it either via email or in comments below.

Soul on Fire?

The most glaring problem is this phrasing. It’s in the title, the tour, and throughout the song repeatedly, but it is never defined. There are certain denominational idioms relating to being “on fire for God”. It’s such a popular component to seeker-sensitive song writing that it was included in the following parody of how to write a worship song by the folks at Blimey Cow:

The problem, even beyond the funny parody, is that despite the prevalence of this theme throughout modern emotive music there is not much in Scripture that supports this narrative. If we are talking about Biblical references that tend to be invoked by “Soul on Fire” theme, the very first one that comes to mind isn’t something we should be chasing.

Matthew 10:24-28 (ESV) 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

I’m certain this is not the sort of “Soul on Fire” that Third day is singing about. Eternal judgement waits for those who die in their unbelief, and face Jesus Christ as Judge who has the authority to destroy both soul and body in hell.

It could simply be a secularism where we’ve turned the notion of “burning with passion” for someone and redirected it toward God. Reading through the second and third stanzas, there is a sense of returning or getting back something that was lost. A rekindling of an old flame. All of these are romantic allusions that don’t quite fit Biblical worship, unless you are allegorizing Song of Solomon (Song of songs) as a picture of God’s relationship with Israel and Christ’s relationship with His Church. Even in that context, it should be corporate wording, not individual… because, well, Christ is returning for His People, the Church, not me individually.  I know that is a tough thing to say coming from a Western mindset and speaking mostly to a Western audience, but our cultural bias is one of extreme individualism that doesn’t fit Scripture. I pray the Holy Spirit grant insight in this for I suffer from this Western mindset, too.

I want to give this song its best construction, and for me to do so I need to invoke an intermediate allegory or imagery of a burnt offering or sacrifice. The first form of worship after the fall was that of the offering, the sacrifice to the Lord God. When God gave Moses the Law, the sacrifices were burnt offerings to God. If we bear in mind the concept of a burnt offering, and the aroma of obeying the Law and making a satisfactory sacrifice by faith unto God, then we have an intermediate step for a right understanding of what the phrase “Soul on Fire” might be when we then jump into Romans 12.

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) | A Living Sacrifice
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

In this way, we might understand what it means to present ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Perhaps it is in this way that the song is waiting for God to send down fire igniting our hearts and our souls demonstrating His acceptance of our living sacrifice. But what does such a sacrifice look like for those who fall under the New Covenant of Christ’s Blood? Let us turn to the book of Hebrews, chapter 13.

Hebrews 13 English Standard Version (ESV) | Sacrifices Pleasing to God
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altarfrom which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 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, 21 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.

22 I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. 25 Grace be with all of you.

 

These are the Sacrifices that are pleasing to God, and not a single one can be done rightly apart from Faith. Where the song falls short of this (aside from needing an intermediate interpretation) is that it suggests that one simply needs to wait on the emotional unction or burning within. Even the disciple’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) where the Disciples recall a burning in their hearts was not a purely passive event. They were listening to the Words of Jesus as He recounted to them all that the Scriptures said regarding Him. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17 (ESV))”.  Don’t just wait to be set on fire, and don’t settle for vague allegory of “running to God’s heart”… read His Word, listen to His Word being faithfully preached, and pray for understanding from God the Holy Spirit. Emotions are fleeting and easily manipulated. I thank God that faith is not an emotion… and Truth isn’t a feeling.

Conclusion

This song isn’t for the unbeliever, it doesn’t preach Law or Gospel. It’s heavily coded chuch-jargon, and unhelpfully so. It is far to focused on the individual for it to be suitable for corporate worship in my opinion. I don’t question Third Day’s desire to inspire their listeners to a fervent love for God and true worship. But you can’t skip over the preaching of the Word of God. You can’t skip over the need for repentance, and forgiveness for even the sins of unbelief and of doubt. He is faithful to forgive us, and He has sealed us by His Holy Spirit until the day of His Return. Rest in that. There will be times when we feel like we are super-charged, burning-hot, souls on fire for God and walking in triumphant procession leading the throngs in worship into the Temple of the Most High God… and then there will be times when our souls will be downcast and the persecution from the world weighs heavily upon us, just as it was for the author of Psalm 42. Let us close with the last verse of this Psalm

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Praise the Name of the Lord

fireworksThis week, I’d like to start by reading Psalms 148.

Psalms 148 | Praise the Name of the Lord
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!

Let everything… everything… praise the Name of the Lord. Amen! This Psalm was read in our Church service last Sunday during corporate worship. It is a beautiful Psalm. As we were reading through it, a thought crossed my mind regarding idolatry. How great is the sin of man and the curse on the Earth as a result. Remember the temptation that the father of lies brought to Eve?

Genesis 3:1-5 (ESV) 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The original sin, was committed under the false promise of becoming like God. Idolatry. You see, we are familiar with the idolatry of worshiping things created by man (engraved images, carved idols, Asherah poles, etc.) and the idolatry of hero-worship, the love of money, and the love of self. However, there is yet another form of idolatry that is alive and growing today that must be struck down. The undue worship of God’s creation. The sun, moon, stars, mountains, hills, oceans, rivers, beasts, birds… nature… “mother earth”. Ever think about all of the pagan religions and the objects of their worship? Paul’s letter to the Romans (Gentiles) begins by addressing this rejection of God, the Creator.

Romans 1:18-32 (ESV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

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.

Sin. What were the first commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai?

Exodus 20:1-7 (ESV)1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

And which did Jesus say was the Greatest Commandment?

Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV) 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This is a serious, and ever-present problem for mankind. It is the underpinning of every sin… the desire to worship anything other than the One True God. Do you truly think that mankind has somehow evolved beyond Israel’s continual idolatry (Asherah Poles and Baal)? No, my friends, we are the same as we were in those days… in some ways even worse.

David understood the heart of men… and he is described as a man after God’s own heart. He gave us this and many other Psalms as a reminder that we are to Praise the Name of the Lord. Not only mankind, but every created thing is to praise His Name. All of Creation points to God, and serves to worship and honor Him.

Psalm 96 (ESV) | Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

This weekend, here in the US, we celebrate our Independence Day (July 4th). Don’t let patriotism, rise to the level of idol worship. God has no need of this nation. There is only one earthly nation blessed by God, who is described as the apple of His eye. Our hope rests in the Kingdom of Heaven, in the Resurrection, and the Great Day of the Lord. Therefore, let us always and forever more praise the Name of the Lord.

May the Lord Bless and keep you,
In Him,
Jorge

A time of Thanksgiving in the U.S.

This week, the fourth week of November, we will be celebrating the American Holiday of Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time of gathering together with family and loved ones, to give thanks. Now, this is not a Biblical festival in that it cannot be found in the Bible; nevertheless, it is one that was born in the early days of North American exploration, and has its roots in the right type of soil. Let’s look at how it became an official Holiday:

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. (History.com, accessed 11/25/13 emphasis mine)

The early Pilgrims came to the New World in search of land they could call their own, and a place where they were free to practice their faith, rather than be forced to observe the faith of the State. In many way, we still struggle with these 2 things here in the U.S. Only now, unlike before, the attacks are mostly on the Christian faith above all else. Why is that? Because the world hates Jesus. Am I being melodramatic or pessimistic? No. I’m simply quoting scripture:

John 15:18-27 (NASB)

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

There is much that can be said (and, in fact, is being said all over social media) about the decline of American Culture, and the fact that this nation has completely lost sight of the principles of God, that is not what this holiday is about. This holiday is about giving Thanks to God for His many blessings, and for His grace and mercy that enables us to weather the storms of life in a fallen world. Don’t let the enemy rob you of your thankfulness to God, or tempt you to complain and murmur. Throughout the Bible, thanksgiving (or thankfulness) is expressed through Praise. In fact, in many cases, it is out of our thankfulness to God that we are commanded to praise Him.

Colossians 3:12-17 (NASB)

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (emphasis mine)

We are commanded to live in a continual state of thankfulness to God. So this holiday fits well with that command. Sure there is room to slip (gluttony, strife, ungratefulness, envy, debt, etc.) but that is always there. Let us turn our hearts to God. Remember the trials He has brought you through this year. If you are currently in a struggle, perhaps now is the time for fasting and prayer… in the same way that Governor Bradford recognized the need to seek His Face. Remember the widows, the orphans, and the poor this Thanksgiving. Now is also a time to thank God for the provision that will carry us through the winter months into a new spring. If after all of this you are still finding it hard to give thanks to God… then I pray that you will soften your heart to the things of God, and repent of your bitterness, unforgiveness, and stubbornness. The Word is very clear that God disciplines those He loves (Heb12:6), and digging in your heels or stiffening your neck only makes it worse for you.

In closing, I thought it would be cool to share Psalms 9:

Psalm 9 (NASB)
A Psalm of Thanksgiving for God’s Justice.  For the choir director; on Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.

1 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

When my enemies turn back,
They stumble and perish before You.
For You have maintained my just cause;
You have sat on the throne judging righteously.
You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked;
You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins,
And You have uprooted the cities;
The very memory of them has perished.

But the Lord abides forever;
He has established His throne for judgment,
And He will judge the world in righteousness;
He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.
9 The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble;
10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion;
Declare among the peoples His deeds.
12 For He who requires blood remembers them;
He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Be gracious to me, O Lord;
See my affliction from those who hate me,
You who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 That I may tell of all Your praises,
That in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in Your salvation.
15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
16 The Lord has made Himself known;
He has executed judgment.
In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared. Higgaion Selah.

17 The wicked will return to Sheol,
Even all the nations who forget God.
18 For the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
19 Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged before You.
20 Put them in fear, O Lord;
Let the nations know that they are but men. Selah.

May the Lord bless you and keep you in His Will.

In Him,
FS