I can remember one evening when I was about thirteen years old: playing about with some make-up when no one else was watching. I was surprised when I looked in the mirror and realised that the face that was looking back at me was actually quite beautiful! I was so used to seeing something ordinary: too thick hair; a genetic disposition to blackheads and spots (thanks dad!) and glasses long before they were considered trendy; that I was shocked and embarrassed to actually think of myself as pretty. I so felt guilty that I quickly washed off all the make up before anyone could see me.
I guess that I didn’t believe I could hold onto that identity of being pretty, that even when it seemed it might apply to me I was quick to rip it off again.
I was so used to my slightly geeky identity, that I simply couldn’t take hold of a new one.
Christ has given us all new identities. The problem is sometimes we hold on so tightly to our old ones, that we can’t take hold of the new ones.
One of the new identities Christ has given us is BEAUTIFUL: We are the apple of his eye, we are his perfect bride (and who would dare call a bride ugly!) and we are more precious than the most beautiful jewels. This is true whether it feels it or not. And I know that especially for women it will more often feel like not. But the great thing about what God says about us is that it IS true, no matter how it feels. No matter how hard it feels we can let go of our striving for beauty and worth and we can hold on to our true identity as a beautiful child of God.
Another of the identities that we can struggle to hold onto is that we are CHOSEN: God has chosen us. I know this can be hard to take hold of, if you were always the last one picked in PE, or someone who struggles to attract anyones attention. Christ chose you, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
Christ has also given us the identity of LOVED: have you ever noticed how a shy woman can become confident when she knows she is loved? Or how an awkward child can transform when they know you care about them? Christ has loved you so much that he died for you. You can hold onto the label of loved, you can take this one and staple it onto your forehead or tattoo it onto your arm; because Christ has told you that you are loved.
The final label that I want to focus on is that you are FREE. The opposite of freedom is fear. And so many of us are still living in fear. Even though we have been set free. We have been set free. There is no captive, in their right mind, who would choose to return to their chains, once they have been set free. Christ has set you free, don’t tie yourself back up in those chains again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (1 Corinthians 5:17)
In the first of a new series, David Gaskell shares his favourite worship song, and how it has impacted his life.
When I was asked to write about my favourite worship song loads came to mind. At present the Elevation Worship album; Here as in Heaven, many songs in it point towards God and show thanksgiving. Also I’ve been reading Matt Redman’s book 10,000 reasons, which explains amazing stories surrounding his heaven sent worship song, and since watching the movie God’s Not Dead I’ve really enjoyed the song Like a Lion by David Crowder Band or God’s Not Dead By The Newsboys. But the one song that always inspires me and takes me to a place of worship is the song How He Loves By David Crowder Band.
I first heard this song when Alice (my youth leader at the time) took our church youth group to Soul Survivor in 2012 (don’t look at the photos, I don’t look that good in them). The song was played and instantly I was taken aback at actually how much God does love us and me. The song sings about how “great his (God’s) affections are for me (us all)” and his love is better and stronger than any other kind of love song by Adele, Beiber or any other secular artist; past, present or future. The song says “He Loves” 22 times within the 5min 19secs of the song, which really hits home actually how much he does love and no body could out love God. The one line within this song that does cause “conflict” is the infamous “Sloppy wet kiss” line Vs “Unforeseen kiss” line. In my view both do work; the unforeseen line brings the image of someone kissing you unexpectedly and leaving you thinking: “Dude, did you just kiss me?” as it was unexpected and in someways undeserved. The sloppy wet kiss line was explained to me by Katie at my church in York, that it’s like getting a kiss off your Nan. She gives kisses that are wet, sloppy and are in no way dignified, but behind every Grandma kiss there is so much love, you get over the fact you’ve had your second shower of the day courtesy of your grandparent’s spit.
This song spoke to me so much that I decided to have it played at my full emersion (re)baptism as I came up put of the water. The song hit me in such a way because it reminded me that God loves me so much that he took all my sins away, meaning when I came up out of the water I was made clean again. This song will go with me wherever I go, when it’s forgotten and I’m the only one who remembers it, it will be just as powerful then as it was the first time I heard it.
The song is one of the greatest love songs about the greatest love story ever, where I am the princess being saved by prince charming (Jesus on the cross).
David Gaskell is a Physiotherapy student from the North West of England.
If you are interested in sharing what your favourite song means to you, please leave a comment below, or get in contact through the contact page.