Why I can’t sing the song “Lord I give you my heart” anymore.

I was at Church a few weeks ago and the song “Lord I give you my heart” was queued up and was sung by the congregation. Up to this point I had been worshiping and my mind was fairly centered on the adoration of Jesus, but this song caused my mind to become disengaged and spiritually….disentangled. It was an awful, profoundly disturbing feeling.

Because here’s the thing- I like to sing worship songs in Church which allow me to tell the truth. That is, when I am communicating by singing to the Lord, I do not like it when I am put in the position of having to lie or exaggerate my soundness of faith, my motives, my intentions, or my devotion to Christ.  I do not like it when I have to sing promises and declarations to Christ which exceed my promise to fulfill, as that leaves me feeling like a liar- a cause for immediate disconnect from the song itself. It is one of those things that I’m mindful of and sensitive to. I like worship music with theological lyrics. I like psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with words that tell of deep Biblical truths about God. I don’t like singing falsehoods about who I am, what I do, and what my heart’s inclination is to Christ.

In short, I don’t like singing things I don’t mean. When I sing these songs which are about me, I become painfully aware that  I’m declaring things that I can’t and don’t back up, or which my heart is not convinced that it is able to do. I’m also aware that I am singing things contrary to my own nature, and that I’m singing words which confess that I am doing and am willing to do things that I am not able or willing to do. For example, any songs that have the lyrics “I will always love you. I will always worship you. You’re all I want. You’re all I ever needed.  You’ll always be my all. I will always follow you. I’ll never want anyone but you.

I would not say that these are bad songs, or that the writers have ill intent. Rather though, when I consider these in a theological context they strike me as impossible promises for me to fulfill.  To do these I would have to be fulfilling the works of the law perfectly, which seemed to me as a wretched proposition. Because I don’t always love Christ. And I won’t always worship him. And he won’t always be all I want. And he won’t always be all I need. And I won’t always follow him. So why am I singing that I do and will? Case in point-

Lord I Give You My Heart

This is my desire, to honour You
Lord with all my heart I worship You
all I have within me
I give You praise
all that I adore is in You
Lord I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord have Your way in me

My desire to honor God does exist, as a new creation in Christ, so I’m fine with that, but the next line is problematic. I don’t worship the Lord with all my heart. Does anybody? I wasn’t worshiping him with all my heart that morning. Nor was I the week before. How about the next two lines? The third line is a bit wonky, as I’m not really sure what it means or how it connects with everything else, but that last line is also troublesome. I adore so many things that aren’t Jesus! I make idols out of sports teams, my family, my intellect., and I give adoration to things that rob Christ of glory rather than give him it. I raze the storehouses of this world for pleasure and peace- turning my affections towards inconsequential trivialities  instead of on my great God and savior. That does not strike me as the actions of a man who can say with honesty and with a straight face “All that I adore is in you”...

Line three of the chorus. “I live for you alone?” I don’t live for God alone. No one does. I can’t sing that with a straight face. I’m not sure how anybody else can. See- God knows our hearts and he knows the extent that we are “living for him”, so why am I declaring to my brothers and sisters that I’m living for him alone when I know that’s simply not true. I feel gross and deceptive when I sing that.  And assuming lines 4 and 5 are connected to line three- that is to say that with every breath that I take and every moment that I’m awake I’m living for God alone, that would be another false statement that I cannot bear to sing forth.

Am I alone in this? Am I the only one who is bothered by that? I’m not trying to nitpick, but rather to make a point that many of our worship sessions are loaded with songs that declare works, deeds, and intents  that our congregants have no intention of ever doing, or are simply by virtue of the nature of their will are unable to do. I don’t know if it makes sense that we’re singing the songs with the presuppositions that we’re only speaking of our best intentions, or in the present tense and not the future tenses. For some of the songs we sing I suppose it makes sense to look at them in the big picture, such as I generally love Jesus even if I don’t specifically do all the time, but that isn’t always the most helpful perspective.

I think this is why I prefer to sing songs that are Christ-centered, because I know that he is able to do them and has done all these things. This is opposed to  songs that are man-centered, because I know I have not done these things. With Christ-centered and Christ-focused songs, I have complete confidence in his ability to do as he says, and to keep his word and fulfill his promises. In this, I can sing those types of lyrics because I have a clean conscience when I do so. I don’t have to embellish or exaggerate my ability to complete and be faithful to the things that I am singing,  but rather I can breathe easily and rest in the grace that where my words and works fail, Jesus’ never do.

What do you guys think? Do you have any problem singing sons with lyrics like “I will always love you. I will always worship you. You’re all I want. You’re all I ever needed.  You’ll always be my all. I will always follow you. I’ll never want anyone but you.”? If not, how to you reconcile that with the reality and truth of the situation- which is that, quite frankly, you don’t?

What other songs do you have trouble singing, for similar-ish reasons?

*Note. The aforementioned post is a deconstruction and reconstruction of something I wrote last year, but with present day application.

19 thoughts on “Why I can’t sing the song “Lord I give you my heart” anymore.

  1. I really appreciate your honesty in your posts. Thanks for writing — you do it well! I wanted to respond to this one particularly, as I am an avid worshipper. I have learned it’s not about “honesty” as far as being in line with what the words say, 100% of the time. Who can be that good of a person? If I want to sing to God and give him my heart, as in “I want to” or “I want to want to” if that makes sense, it is good enough and honest enough and between Him and me, it’s just fine for me to sing that song. God knows my heart. To be so literal about it is not serving you well in that, IMHO. I hope that helps. Thoughts?

    • I think it’s literal. There is something missing in these kind of songs. I mean, Someone. Yea, we always say (as I did too) that it doesn’t matter much because God knows the intent of my heart while I’m singing but that just shows how weak we are. Though, in weakness and shortcomings, His power is made perfect in weakness. So this post just shows our weakness and we can boast in it because we find strength. It’s not just about honesty, it’s how transparent we are to God, that even this kind of feelings or thoughts are ways to be aware of the hidden evil in our hearts (since we are still in the flesh, and we’re not perfect, yet).

  2. In response to your article, my belief is as follows. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. When we sing a song of worship, it’s like we are confessing to God we want to live for him alone, we want to always worship and praise Him. We all know we fall short in doing the things the song says 100%. Thank God for his Grace. He knows our hearts and knows we want to live for Him. King David sinned so many times, yet his spirit of worship made him a man after God’s own heart. If we too have a spirit of worship, then we sing songs like that.

    When I became born again and started to develop a relationship with God, I realized I had to be and wanted to be an imitater of Christ. Is it easy? NO! But, everyday I tell God that I live my life for Him and I ask Him to guide me. Sometimes singing a song like that keeps you from saying something mean back to the person who just insulted you. Or, it keeps you from having a pity party because your taking the focus off of you and turning towards God.

    I respect your honesty when you say that “I adore so many things that are not Jesus! I make idols out of sport teams, my family, etc..”, We need to remember God is a jealous God. In His kingdom, you are either in or out. There is nothing wrong with loving your family or your sport team, but God must always come first. Songs like these are reminders to us. They help us stay focused as to who our one true love is.

    Sorry to rattle off, just my opinion. God bless

  3. Me! me! me! I can relate to you! :) I used to sing those kind of ‘worship’ songs, I even led people to sing it. When I sing those, now I am wondering why am I crying when the time that the “holy spirit fills me”. I wasn’t crying because I surrendered myself and all the emotions related but, maybe I was crying because I was so weak I cannot do it on my own! I cannot give my heart to God without Christ’s sacrifice, I cannot give my soul to God because it’s not acceptable to Him without Christ’s blood! I cannot love for Him alone because “I-love-MYSELF-in-Christ” instead of I love the Christ in me! I mean, those kind of songs are not bad, but there’s something missing, our mediator, Christ. Can I repost this? :)

  4. Greetings!

    I understand your post and appreciate your honesty, for it shows how much your personal relationship with God means to you. To me, you demonstrate to others that our relationship with God is not contingent on ritualism and traditionalism. Rather, it is contingent on being personally intimate with God and understanding how you relate to Him. Having said that, when you say the following:

    “To do these I would have to be fulfilling the works of the law perfectly, which seemed to me as a wretched proposition. Because I don’t always love Christ. And I won’t always worship him. And he won’t always be all I want. And he won’t always be all I need. And I won’t always follow him…,”

    it threw me off balance because the one thing that should always remain constant in our hearts is our love for God. We may not always perform the acts like we’re supposed to, but our love for God should never cease. Even David, though he committed heinous acts in his dealings with Bethsheba, was a “man after God’s own heart,” and his love for God never ceased. His love may have been overridden by his own personal desires, but his love for God was still there.

    As Christians, we must consider that God does not care as much about our actions as he does our intent, for God knows that our intentions drive our actions. We cannot fulfill the “works of the law,” for we are human and prone to making mistakes. That’s why Jesus died for us, so that despite our shortcomings we could still interact in communion with God, not to be cut off by our shortcomings. So it is possible for our desire to be to honor God, and to worship Him with our whole heart, and to not be bound by “promises,” for we are being honest with God when we speak those things in worship to Him. But we shouldn’t hold ourselves accountable for following those things ’til the day we die, because we know, and so does God, that it is impossible to do WITHOUT Him. Christianity is not about us being PERFECT, but about God PERFECTING us daily. If our desire is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, then God will perfect us daily, and not love us less when we fall short.
    :D

  5. Thank you! This left me to always remember to look deeper if Christ is really the center of every “christian” songs or books or writings or whatever. The Bible is indeed Christ centered so why aren’t other godly stuff, right? No matter how “christian” it looks, without the Holy Spirit it’s either powerless or we cannot discern the possible deceit.

  6. I understand what you’re saying as I used to wonder about my telling the Lord during worship, “I love you with all my heart.” Well, did I? Probably not. There were certainly parts of my heart which were still dark and needed more light. So, was I a liar?

    I eventually came to this realization: I worship the Lord in my spirit, not in my soul, my mind, my emotions. So, since my spirit is totally His and totally in love with the Lord, I was speaking the truth. My soul, my mind, and my emotions will eventually get the message and agree with my spirit.

    • thanks :) your guys also might like the post called “how worship almost destroyed me- from bitterness to blessing” you can find it in the search

  7. I love most all worship songs because of how they make me feel. I agree with you that we should probably not be singing what we know we will never do. That may be one reason why the Holy Spirit is absent from so many congregations. It is formulaic and timed and we leave no room for the spirit to lead us in prayer and worship. I can only trust that His Spirit is working in me, perfecting me, daily, just as His Word is working in me, because I believe (1 Thessalonians 2: 13). It sounds like God is working in you much further along than he has me. I enjoyed reading your post.

  8. Oh, wondaful to get across these sinscere post and comments. First, I’d love to thank God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ and for His plan in reconciling sinful and once hopeless men(myself inclusive) to Him.

    I also want to admit here that I do not know God a lot, infact, I have so many things to learn and several way to grow but I do know Him.

    I agree clearly with your motion here because I had also thought of the several promises some songs have made me declare without intentions to fulfil them. Straightaway after realising these, I have decided not to condemn the songs, artists or whoever leads me to sing such songs. Instead, I reamain sinscere when I sing them to God by making it into a prayer as they still reflect God’s desire for us[to love him whole heartedly, follow him unreservedly, live to adore Him with everything, . . .], though I’m not yet doing it all 100%.

    So instead of saying for example,
    ‘…with all I have within me, I worship You…’
    I pray ‘…with all I have within me, help me worship You’ and it still flows. Being sinscere and open before God, I believe He responds to people who seek to do His will for His glory knowing that it is not for my own fame but for His praise.

    All the same, I’m still singing to Him. Once again, thanks for being honest and sinscere and if you desire to do the things the song says, pray them to God. Season’s greetings

  9. I agree you should only sing songs like that when you actually mean in. I believe the person that wrote this song had an encounter with God and meant every word he/she meant. You are so write, you do not tell God something you do not mean because he is going to hold you up to it. In my church before we sing songs like this we tell the church to not sing this song unless you really mean it. I believe when there is praise and worship going on there are certain songs that you are lead to sing and sometimes it will be songs like this. :)

  10. Oh, how you touched my heart-lines here. I think often about this.

    Problem is, it is not that simple. Would you, for instance, on the same criteria reject Psalm 101?

    Psalm 101:1–4 (ESV)
    1 I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
    2 I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
    3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
    4 A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.

  11. Just how the Word of God must be taken in context, I believe we need to take into consideration the writer of this song:
    It was while he was studying at the Institute of Music that Reuben Morgan wrote the song. Just a week before he was due to go minister with friends, he was involved in a car accident that reminded him just how fragile and uncertain his life was. It was during his reflection in the aftermath of that accident that a new song began to take shape. Reuben remembers: “Later that week I was writing and playing around with a melodic idea that I had been working on and it was like, just for a moment, I tapped into this deeper well and I was singing ‘Lord I give You my heart, I give You my soul…’ over and over.” Then, as it had happened before for Reuben, and as it has happened many times since, all the pieces just fell into place. “It’s a prayer I had been praying for a while and it all just fit together, one of those songs that seemed to write itself,” says Reuben.
    Taken from J. Gary Walker article.
    As a Worship Pastor and writer, I can completely relate to Reuben’s song. Artists can many times be misunderstood for the way we express ourselves. We are poets, we are dreamers, we see things through different glasses and we do our best to convey the message and inspire others to have a more intimate relationship with God. All of these not based on the law, but on Christ’s alone perfect atonement. Not on our own righteousness but on His perfect blood shed for us that declares us NOT GUILTY. Our proper response is a longing desire for Christ to be the center of our all. And just as Reuben wrote thinking on how short life is and how easily a breath can be wasted, I want my every breath to bring glory to His name!
    Yes, I appreciate your sincerity on having trouble singing that song. Perhaps if we keep in mind or own human frailty, and gaze upon a Perfect God that has called us to perfection and who will continue working in us until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6) we can allow ourselves to sing this song and many others that come from a sincere desire to please, love, and worship God forever.

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