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9 songs that inspire my christian faith
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
These are some insightful words from Plato. And he had never heard music from Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, or Bob Marley. Music has a way of reaching deep inside of us and communicating things that words alone cannot.
I’ve always loved music. Let me clarify, I’ve always loved listening to music. I’m not talented as a musician, and my voice has a tendency to completely disregard the possibility of singing in tune. But I’d be smitten if I could have theme music follow me around like I’m in a movie.
And since I’ve gotten serious about being a Christ-follower, there are some songs which have inspired (and even defined) my Christian faith. It would be a really long list if I included everything. So I’m only sharing a few of the standouts.
For me, these songs consistently speak to my spirit and help me remember what it means to be a Christian.
jesus freak by dc talk
I love it when rock and rap come together like this. It’s my overall favorite style of music. But more than the style, I love the story behind the song.
In their early days, DC Talk’s music was gaining momentum and lots of listeners. They were approached by a producer from a major record label who believed they could a major success. He offered to sign them to a big deal, but with the stipulation that they would need to ease off on all of the Jesus stuff in their music. They turned down the deal and wrote this song.
The high and lofty, they see me as weak
‘Cause I won’t live and die for the power they seek
zion and babylon by josh garrels
I forget where I first heard about Josh Garrel’s music. He’s not a big mainstream guy, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him on the radio. But he’s got the cool one-man-and-his-guitar vibe that I love. He’s also got that storyteller thing going on too. And this is a story that I’ve found myself putting on a constant loop.
It’s really not just one story, but two. It starts with the Babylon-life story. I don’t know about you, but I see myself in many points of this story. And it hurts to know that he’s singing about me. Then it happens. The Zion-life parallel story comes in, singing the transformation of Christ directly into my soul. It’s the entire message of the Gospel in a single song. Powerful.
amazing grace by john newton
While I’m not much of a hymnal kind of guy, I respect the beauty and heart of praise contained in those pages. Amazing Grace is by far one of my favorites. In fact, my kids all know it as “daddy’s song” when I sing while tucking them into bed at night.
I don’t think I even caught the full power of the lyrics until I watched the Amazing Grace movie. It’s the story of William Wilberforce during the abolition of slavery in England. In the movie, John Newton talks about his involvement in the slave trade as the captain of a slave ship. The song is his story of walking away from his sinful ways and into the loving arms of Christ. My sin might be different, but it’s my story too.
i still believe by jeremy camp
Jeremy Camp has a pretty incredible story, and this song is birthed out of great pain and tragedy in his life. I think that’s why I connect with it so much.
When our first child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at only 17-months old, I had lots of reasons to question God. I was at a crossroads, and I chose to remain faithful. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, I chose to say, “I know my God can, but even if He doesn’t…”. He is still on the throne. He is still my Savior. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want. I still believe.
little drummer boy by katherine k. davis
Yeah, it’s a Christmas song. But it’s only like the best Christmas song ever! The cool thing about this one is in the story. Another story that I can relate to. The poor boy comes to the Savior of the world with no gift, except that he can play his drum.
How brilliant is this? The idea that we have nothing except for what He has given us. And we use that talent to give a gift back to him.
Then he smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum
i’m good by tedashii
Tedashii is another artist who has had some tragic things happen in his life (like the loss of a child). This song is just one of those tunes that feels good and makes me smile in my heart. It’s one that pumps me up for my day and anything it might bring. It’s not like stadium rock or anything overly hyped, but just a simple jam that makes me look at my circumstances and say, “bring it!”
every time you run by manafest
If you haven’t caught on by now, I love stories about the transformation that only Christ can bring. This one is exactly that. It reminds me of all of the sinners in the Gospels that Jesus looked at and said, “You are forgiven. You are healed.”
Manafest tells a story that’s not all that different from mine. It’s the story of falling short, seeking, and finding redemption. All that time, Jesus was already pursuing me. And when I look, He’s already there with arms wide open.
looking for angels by skillet
I’ve been somewhat of a Christian activist for a long time. Tthis is one of the songs that stirs that in me.
What will you do to make a difference, to make a change?
What will you do to help someone along the way?
These are questions that stir things in my spirit to live the way I believe Christ wants me to live. We’ve been given such an incredible gift of Life, and have the call to pass that on. We exist to intervene in a lost and broken world.
steal my show by tobymac
The work of TobyMac (including his time with DC Talk) has made a profound impact on my life. Many of his songs are definitely part of the playlist for my life’s theme music.
Steal My Show hits exactly where my heart is for everything I put my hands to. My writing. My work. My role as a husband. My role as a father. My ministry work. Rick Warren starts his book, The Purpose Driven Life by declaring, “It’s not about you.” This song echoes the same manifesto. Everything we do is for Him and His Glory. Nothing is for my own selfish gain. Go ahead Lord, steal my show.
Like I said before, there are lots of songs I could add to this list. And every time I turn around, I find another that touches me in some pretty deep places. I’m grateful that God has given these (and many other) artists the talent and inspiration to do what they do. Their music continues to shape me, and inspire me to be a better Christian.
Now over to you. What songs inspire you and define your faith?
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