What’s this Site About?
I started this site after God laid on my heart to really know if the songs I was praising Him with were actually based on Scripture rather than just “Christianese.” I’ve also experienced frustration when worship leaders and Christian radio stations pick songs that are either “fluff” or they are outright heretical. So, this site began as a personal Bible study. After being unable to find any website or blog that systematically listed Scriptures next to each lyric of praise & worship songs, I decided to begin to publish my personal studies. Obviously, I’m going for quality over quantity, as each post takes me on average a month of digging through my Bible (I read ESV so most of my posts are in that version, but feel free to switch versions on the links) and online resources like Blue Letter Bible, Bible Gateway, and others.
Note: This blog was renamed “Worship with Scripture” (formerly “Fragrant Like Incense”) and the domain name changed to worshipwithscripture.com in February of 2015.
I’ve come to see people run from God in two ways: rebelling outright (what we usually think of), or trying to earn His favor/approval through good works (also rebellion…I’ll go onto explain). I spent the better part of my life trying to be good. It led to intense loneliness because by judging if my actions were good enough, I inevitably judged others’ as well. I cared what people thought of me and relied on being thought of as better than everyone else so I became probably the most uptight, annoying, self-righteous, proud, judgmental person you ever met. If you didn’t realize it at the time it was only because I had even somewhat mastered trying to appear humble. It took some ruined friendships to take a good look in the mirror and see that these flaws of the heart made me just as bad, if not worse, than the “bad people” I was looking down on (1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 16:2, Luke 16:15). On top of that, I came to see no matter how good I tried to be, I never would know if it was good enough for God because I wasn’t even sure for what degree of goodness the scales would be tipped if he “graded on a curve” (1 Samuel 2:3, Proverbs 24:12, Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:12, 2 Corinthians 5:10).
To sum it up I was trying to earn my way to heaven by being good enough. My parents were both Christians, and my dad sat me down one day after listening to me inadvertently express this and shared some bad news with me: that I couldn’t ever earn my way into God’s favor, because like everyone else in this messed up world, the wrong I had done separated me from a perfect God and all sin is deserving of death (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:23). Even if I had only done one thing wrong my whole life I would still be just as guilty as if I had broken every one of God’s “laws” (James 2:10). My Dad then shared the good news I had heard a million times before (but never fully listened in my heart): that God loved the world so much that Jesus, God’s son, came to earth to live a perfect life as a human and to willingly die in my place for the wrongs I had done (Isaiah 53:5-6, 1 Peter 2:24), so I could be in a relationship with Him forever, both now on Earth in this life and later in heaven when I depart this world (John 3:16, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:8). After dying a painful death on a cross, Jesus proved that He was not only who He claimed to be, but that He was powerful enough to save me after death by Himself rising from the dead after being dead for three days (Romans 6:9, 1 Corinthians 15:17, Ephesians 2:5-6)! My Dad shared that I needed to confess my wrongs, admit my need for his help, trust in Jesus in my heart to have the power to do this (Romans 10:9-10), and finally turn my life over to His control if I wanted to accept this free gift and follow Him (Matthew 16:24, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Eternal life, which starts now, is promised to me, for free, without reserve, without second guessing that I’ve actually attained it (John 3:15-16, John 3:36, John 5:24, John 6:40, John 10:28, John 17:3, 1 John 2:25, 1 John 5:11-13). I can’t say I became a Christian that day, I honestly don’t have a clear date to pin that to. But I can look back on my life and see “markers” like that conversation not so long ago with my Dad, and I know that I am trusting Jesus today. I no longer have to guess if I’m in God’s favor by being having more goodness than evil weighed in the scales, instead, I know that I am in a right standing with Him, not because of what I’ve done (far from it!) but I’m trusting in Jesus (1 John 5:13).
I definitely still “relapse” into being judgmental and preoccupied with my reputation more than I would like, but God is transforming me day by day into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). Through my personal relationship with God as his adopted daughter (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1), I have peace and have experienced abundant life because I know I can trust his Son Jesus to be good enough in my place (John 10:10). This to me is the major difference between Christianity and all other religions: because they’re all about being “good enough.” I’ve been there, done that, and I fell flat on my face even as a “good kid.” The only way I’m getting to heaven is by relying completely on God to get me there.
Jesus destroyed those scales when I accepted his free gift of grace. My sin is so bad that he had to die for me, but he loved me so much he chose to die for me. Not only has God freed me from my guilt, but he restored me to a relationship with Him! I can’t help but be in love with the music that helps me express my gratitude and love for Him.
If you haven’t yet trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or if you’ve wandered away from Him at some point along the way, I hope He uses my simple but miraculous story to tug at your heart. Turn, and believe in the good news (Mark 1:15)!