I have an addiction to self-righteousness. I am a recovering pharisee. God declares me “Not condemned!”, and yet like Satan I contend with God’s Word and endeavor to prosecute – without hesitation launching into my opening argument, “Did God really say?” How arrogant is that!? If God sez, “Not guilty” who am I to argue otherwise?

So part of the recovery process is to seriously study what it means to be a robustly redeemed sinner (for if it is GOD who does the redeeming could it be anything other than infinitely robust?), supernaturally (not by human hands) saved by grace (utterly undeserved and unearned). A couple of months ago I began an in-depth study of my place in God’s family/my identity as a fully-adopted, irrevocable son of God (i.e. sonship). I had two assignments right out of the gate. The first was to contact a couple of people asking them to set regular reminders to text me the word “music”, because one of the biggest problems a recovering pharisee faces is the temptation to interact with the Gospel as mere information as opposed to hearing it as music (i.e. theology as data as opposed to Dad!/Abba Father!). The other thing God told me to do was – to actually receive the gift of Sabbath. God told me to take one whole day out of seven to STOP (that’s literally what shabbat means) in order that I might keep my attention on Him and rest in what He says for an extended and unhurried stretch of time.

One of the most practical ways I embrace the music and rest of the Gospel is by simply sitting and listening to songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs. It’s like a bath …I just sit in what the music is saying to me about the identity and liberty I have in Christ.

I recently basked in the truth and freedom found in Christ alone via these songs by The Oh Hellos and an ancient Irish hymn:


I Have Made Mistakes

I have made mistakes, I continue to make them
the promises I’ve made, I continue to break them
and all the doubts I’ve faced, I continue to face them
but nothing is a waste if you learn from it

and the sun, it does not cause us to grow
it is the rain that will strengthen your soul
and it will make you whole

we have lived in fear, and our fear has betrayed us
but we will overcome the apathy that has made us
because we are not alone in the dark with our demons
and we have made mistakes
but we’ve learned from them

and the sun, it does not cause us to grow
it is the rain that will strengthen your soul
and it will make you whole

and oh my heart, how can I face you now?
when we both know how badly I have let you down
and I am afraid of all that I’ve built
fading away


I Was Wrong

I was born at the hands of the potter
and I was torn from the start
I was torn between my god and my Father

I was born at the dawn of our folly
and I was young, and stubborn to the bone
as I took from the tree that was rotting

I took my chance and bit down deep
the weight of the world was crippling
now I’ll hide my shame with woven leaves
I was wrong
and I’m so, so sorry

I knew you’d never forgive me
but I was wrong
and I’m so, so sorry

Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all