CMTDS Mondays: “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham

kings-kaleidoscopeThis week for our Christian music that doesn’t suck we have Jimmy Needham with “Clear the Stage”. Jimmy Needham is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter who has been around for awhile, exalting in the surpassing glory of Christ through soulful lyrics, spoken word, and having a bit of a jazzy swagger with his sound. Imagine a Gavin Degraw that loves Jesus, and is as good with a guitar as he is with a piano, and that is somewhere near Needham. 

Lyrics:

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews and all the decorations, too
Until the congregation’s few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the Lord and wait for what he has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful

‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for god to whisper
Beg him please to open up his mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken

‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my all my love is an idol

‘Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to

And we can sing all we want to
And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols

Why it doesn’t suck: Needham does an excellent job of covering both the insidious lure of worshiping false gods, and the urgency needed in repentance. It can be so tempting to be in the “church world” and assume that we worship God and God alone, but in reality our hearts are entangled in a thousand different things and are controlled by so much more than Jesus. Those things that control our hearts are what we give the majority of our time, energy and affections to, and that is what the Bible calls an “idol”. Needham rightly states that “anything that I want with all my heart is an idol”. But it takes more than just identifying the idols of our heart – we must repent of them, and do whatever it takes to rip that false god from our heart’s grip. You can hear Needham’s own struggles bleeding through those first verses. Here is a video of Needham talking about another song, but overcoming the idols of our heart with a greater joy in Christ:

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