Ever since I first heard “Blessed Be” by Jason Gray from his album All the Lovely Losers I was hooked by the emotional and biblical messages of his songs. In fact, that song was the 8th song I featured for my “behind the song” devotional article series which started in March 2008. I’ve since featured nine more of Jason’s songs and now this is our 11th devotional together, making Jason the most featured artist over the past six years and throughout 497 installments of this series.
I’m always excited to hear new music from Jason and “With Every Act of Love” from Jason’s album Love will Have the Final Word has once again captivated me as it features Jason’s unique brand of gourmet lyrical phrasing embedded with the truth of the Gospel for those “with ears to hear.”
In Christ we truly assume His righteousness, just as Christ assumed our sin. It is commanded by Jesus in Matthew 5:16 to “let your light shine” so that others may praise God based on seeing the power of His life in us. We need to celebrate that freedom with our hands reaching out to others in Christ and show His light in us and let Him shine in us. That’s what this song is about. I had the privilege to speak with Jason about the song.
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
One of my producers told me that the first couple of tracks became the filter that he listened to the rest of the album through. I was very intentional about opening the album with “Laugh Out Loud” and “With Every Act of Love” in hopes that it would set a hopeful tone for the weightier and more desperate songs that follow.
For this song, it’s an idea that I wanted to write about for a long time. We had enough songs for the album, but I didn’t feel like we had the lead single. I was really stressed out about it. I was in a difficult place personally, so trying to write a big pop song seemed like an insurmountable task. Then, to top it off, I damaged my voice. I had a co-writing meeting with Jason Ingram, to get together one more time before recording the album. I had been at an artist retreat and learned about how we can jumpstart our creativity by instituting limitations. Every breakthrough begins with limitations and can force you into directions you wouldn’t otherwise go.
Not having my voice, I had taken a tool off the table going into a songwriting session. I had scraps of lyrics and I plunked out a melody on my guitar. It forced me to look for a hookier melody. By the time we had the meeting, I was OK, but the process began without my voice and a forced limitation that helped me discover a melody that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.
The heart and idea of the song was inspired by the N.T. Wright book Surprised by Hope, which is one of the most worldview changing books I’ve ever read. It challenges what we believe about the afterlife and what it says in Scripture. He said in the book that there is language that has crept into our churches and hymns. It is a challenge to the sentiment that “this world is not our home; we’re just passing through, so little of what we do here matters.” That language is meant to remind us of a deeper reality and an unseen Kingdom that we are citizens of. That type of language can tempt us to imagine a theology of abandonment and evacuation. The Gospels are not about that, but about deeper engagement and renewal. […]
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