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God-Centered vs Me-Centered Worship Lyrics

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru

I have heard this concern many times: "I try to stay away from modern worship music because it all seems to be about 'me' and not God." Maybe you have had this concern yourself?

I have also heard several worship leaders say, "We don't sing anything at church that isn't vertical (directly praising and glorifying God). If it has the word 'me' or 'we' in it, we simply don't sing it."

Right off the bat, it seems they couldn't be more right. Most would just nod their head and agree. However, if you dive into God's Word, you will find out that this belief is not Bible-based but more of a personal opinion.

Songs based on scripture glorify God, regardless of if they are about 'me' or Him.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. II Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

In II Timothy 3:16 we find out that every bit of scripture is inspired by God and useful to the body of Christ. So, when we sing songs like No Longer Slaves by Bethel, we can rest assured that even though this song is all about who we are in Christ, God is glorified when we sing because the lyrics are based on scripture.

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I am confident that God is pleased when we sing songs like How He Loves. The entire Bible points to His love for us, but yet we have a hard time really understanding how much He loves us. When we sing about how He loves us and who we are in Him, the revelation of His great love gets buried deep down in our hearts. The more we sing it and say it, the more real it becomes to us.

The more we sing and speak God's Word, the more real it becomes to us. Tweet Quote

God wants us to speak His word.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Words carry power. The ultimate example of this is how the world was created...God spoke it into existence. Every bit of the Bible is God speaking to us. And as believers, when we speak His words, they carry the power to change our lives, renew our minds, and turn us into who He has called us to be.

The entire New Testament is full of scripture telling us who we are in Christ:

  • We are alive with Christ. Ephesians 2:5
  • We have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:16, Phil 2:5
  • We have the peace of God. Phil 4:7
  • We are the righteousness of God in Christ. Rom 5:17
  • We can do all things through Christ. Phil 4:13

When we speak or sing these things out loud, they become real to us. I get so excited to lead my congregation in a song that is all about who they are in Christ. The more they understand their true identity, the more their life will glorify God on a daily basis.

The more we understand our identity in Christ, the more our lives will glorify God on a daily basis. Tweet Quote

The most important thing is to sing songs that are Bible-based.

Bottom line, the most important thing is to make sure all worship songs are Bible-based. If not, they are not worth singing and may even be damaging to the congregation.

If the song is Bible-based, me-centered (singing about who you are in Christ) and God-centered lyrics both glorify God. Of course, as with most things, a good balance between the two is a good plan.

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9 comments on “God-Centered vs Me-Centered Worship Lyrics”

  1. I still agree that doing too many songs with "we" or "I" isn't healthy regardless. I believe there should be balance. Great article.

    1. Definitely agree, Kevin. We want to have a song that praises the Lord directly, and exalts Him. And then if we have a "topical" worship song, identity, freedom, etc. I try to tie that into the sermon series or message to help reinforce that Biblical truth being taught.

  2. One of the challenges Christians face is confusing the Word of God with the WORD OF GOD. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
    It is man who has limited God to a book.

    Maybe we are overthinking things. I find this prayer from Thomas Merton helpful.

    "MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

    1. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..." 2 Tim 3:16 - Man did not limit God to a book. God gave us the Word to reveal Himself. Then, He even went so far as to make the word become flesh (Jesus) to further reveal who He is. Jesus did not replace the Word, but brought it to life.

      All I can say is, thank God for the Word. There is no time I feel more connected to Him than when I dive in to the Word and allow God to speak to me through it.

  3. "How Great Is Our God" - Uses "our", "me" and "my". A song "about" God used by thousands of churches every Sunday. If you reject this one you are rejecting solid, scripture-based praise. There are many more but this one is a prime example.

    1. I’ve seen this article pop up a few times in the last couple years and I’ve wanted to comment for a while. It’s not so much if a song has personal pronouns in it as what the focus is. There’s something not right to me about raising our hands in worship when we’re singing about ourselves. If someone walked in off the street with no knowledge of the Word how would they interpret some of these songs? I feel like we have to be really careful about what message we’re actually giving. Singing about who we are in Christ can be okay if the focus is still God but unfortunately lots of songs are vague with that and some don’t even get there. Honestly, when I’m struggling with who I am, the last thing I need to do is sing about myself. In those moments what we really need to do is remind ourselves about who God is and what He’s done and that puts everything in the right perspective. It grounds us. People are struggling with identity issues now more than ever, and I wonder if all these songs about ourselves are actually perpetuating the problem. How about we take our eyes OFF ourselves for 30 min on a Sunday morning and sing to Jesus about who He is and see what happens to our hearts when we do that? How Great is Our God is all about Him, that’s a great song. We are loving Throne Room Song right now. Lord Have Mercy is another awesome me song that’s focussed on Jesus. Who You Say I Am is catchy and easy but the focus is completely on me. I feel like I’m raising my hands and worshipping who I am instead of who He is with that one and I just don’t want to risk leading my people to a place where the lines get a little blurred. Where the lyrics are about me but my heart is pointed to Jesus. As leaders we can’t take for granted that everyone is going to get that.

  4. As a worship leader, I struggled with this concept for a while... Then I started looking at old hymns, and realized it's not about the presence of certain pronouns, but the absence of Jesus or the Gospel message. All of these favorite hymns are filled with I, me, my, mine, etc.:
    "Rock of ages cleft for ME, let ME hide MYSELF in Thee..."
    "Whatever MY lot, Thou has taught ME to say, it is well, it is well with MY soul"
    "At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw..., and the burden of MY heart..., I received MY sight..., and now I am happy..."
    "I come to the garden alone..., and the voice I hear falling on MY ear..., and He walks with ME, and He talks with ME, and He tells ME I am His own..."
    I could go on, but I think I've made my point. For me it's more about the obscurity and absence of references to Jesus or God loving us enough to send His son to die for us. My litmus test: If a modern song could easily be sung as a secular love song without changing the lyrics, it's not a worship song.
    Case closed.

    1. I have to add one correction to the end. The first part of my litmus test is implied: If I can't tell from the lyrics that a song is about the Judeo-Christian God we serve, it's definitely not a worship song. i.e., if it could easily be sung about the God of many other religions.

  5. I had an experience at Bible college during a president's chapel that changed my perspective on worship for the rest of my life. I did not like traditional hymns or the organ so I said to myself I will just read and not sing because I don't like the music. The song was all hail. The power of Jesus name. That particular song humbled me in a way that made me realize worship is not about me, but about Jesus and the glorian honor that he deserves. I'm not so much hung up on the pronouns as much as who was elevated and if I Make the statements and the song honestly. Mini current worship songs are based on personal experience and what I would call Peter promises that I know I cannot fulfill. Just as Peter promised he would stand with the Lord till death and more than a few hours. He denied him three times. I would rather sing songs. I know that are true from scripture and songs of somebody else's personal experience that I may or may not be able to relate to. This has been such a heavy burden on my heart for a while now. I will also say that rather singing about my identity and Christ. I would put the emphasis on the identity of christ in me that is in my flesh. I am still myself, but my spirit has been regenerated and renewed by the holy spirit into the image of Christ. So it's not my identity but Christ identity in me. Finally, as far as worship being biblically based, I believe that all worship songs should be biblically based, but not all scripture is appropriate for worship. I'm not going to sing about smashing my enemies children's heads with a jawbone of an donkey. That's not appropriate for worship. Psalms are often confused as a worship book. Rather, I believe it is more of a diary of Israel. So while worship should be biblically based, not all scripture is appropriate for worship songs.

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