A Worship Song for Dirty Christians


There's a line in the praise chorus "Give Us Clean Hands" that says, "O Lord we cast down our idols". I love that line - especially when my hands are clean. But what song am I supposed to sing when I'm holding idols that I'm not ready to cast down? Those types of songs are bound to be less popular - but I wrote one anyway.

I’m a worship leader by profession but also by design. I'm naturally good at giving my heart to God in worship. Unfortunately, I'm sometimes good at giving my heart to other things – lesser things – and those idols start stealing my focus and affection. Different seasons of my life bring different types of idols but it seems there will always be a temptation to give my worship to a god who doesn't deserve it.

Jeremiah 2:13

for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

There is enough goodness in God to satisfy my heart and I’d like to tell you that I always remember this and make the right choices but that would be a lie. Sometimes I choose the lesser things and they take me farther and farther away from my First Love. Even worse, sometimes I find myself walking dangerously far from God’s will and yet I’m still not ready to turn around. It’s gross to write those words but it’s the truth. I feel like the little kid who anxiously looks back to make sure her parents are still watching even while venturing closer and closer to danger. "They'll stop me before I do something really stupid, right?" the kid reasons.

Romans 1:22-23

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves...

I’m scared to be too far from God and yet I’m slow to repent. In these in between times – the times when I feel God’s mercy calling me back but my feet and idol-loving heart are too stubborn to turn - in these moments I sometimes want to worship but don’t know any worship songs I’m not too dirty to sing.

So I wrote one.

I wrote a worship song for dirty Christians who want to want to be clean.

It’s a first step. A step back into His presence. And His presence brings change.

And though asking for mercy and patience and help feels like a pathetic offering, it reopens the channels of communication that shame tries to shut down. After singing this song to the Lord for a few days I was ready to sing something bigger. Truth be told, I thought I was writing a song about not being ready to turn back toward God, but in reality, I was turning back the moment I started singing. God meets us where we are and then He helps us to have clean hands. He's so good. So merciful. So jealous for our hearts.

Judges 2:12

And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger.

I don't condone idol worship. It's sinful and dangerous and easy to pass down to our children. This isn't a song to say that it's okay to sin and then just ask for mercy. This is a song to say sometimes we end up in places that aren't good and this is one way to start turning around. He's been helping me and He can help you too.

Where are you today, friend? You're never too far to turn around.

Luke 15:20

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion,

and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

Half of My Heart

I want to worship tonight but I don’t know if it’s right

To raise my one hand high while one is holding idols

I want to lift my eyes but every timeI try

I feel ashamed that I would bring You half of my heart

When You want it all, You want it all

And I’m not used to bringing worship this small

But, Lord, when You call

I’m too scared to run away so here I am with all my shame

Mercy please

Don’t give up on me

Cause I’m tryin’ to give up these things that keep stealing my heart

I’ve been chasing these highs made up of nothing but lies

And acting like I’m surprised, when I know better

I want to lift my eyes but every time I try

I feel ashamed that I would come as such a beggar

When You gave it all, You gave it all

I’m ashamed to bring You worship this small

When You brought it all

But I’m too scared turn away – so hear me say

Mercy please

Don’t give up on me

Cause I’m tryin’ to give up these things that keep stealing my heart

I know I'm not okay, I know I'm not okay

It's only by Your grace that I miss You now

I know I'm not okay, I know it's not okay

Help me to turn my feet around

In Your mercy don't give up on me

I'm tryin' to give up these lesser things

Mercy please

Don’t give up on me

Cause I’m tryin’ to give up these things that keep stealing my heart

Lord, help me give up these things that keep stealing my heart

Duet. 5:6-10

“‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“‘You shall have no other gods before me.

“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

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