I’m convinced that if you live anywhere near me, you’ve probably seen me hardcore jamming to “One Step Away” by Casting Crowns as I drive through town. It is, by far, my favorite song right now. Not only is the beat catchy, but I also find so much truth of the Gospel expressed in the lyrics.
A few weeks ago, I was heading to campus for class and the song came on the K-LOVE radio station. Of course, my out-of-tune voice joined the voices from the radio, but something was different this time. I turned the volume down and started to pay close attention to the lyrics. I began to think out-loud of the meaning of those seemingly simple words being sung and tried to depict what they were expressing. At the end of the song, the words “Lay down, lay down your old chains, come now and take up your new name,” are chanted repeatedly. I’d heard this song countless times, but this time wasn’t the same. This time, they hit me like a ton of bricks.
For the first time, within that one repetitive chant, I noticed so much biblical truth revealed. As I proceeded to think out-loud, so many thoughts came to mind as I dissected the words. As believers, our ultimate calling is to be Christ-like, right? In the process of growing close to Him to better know Him and imitate His characteristics, we MUST lay down our old chains. How can we expect to grow closer to Christ if we still hold onto fleshly desires that result in our own spiritual deterioration? Much like a dog who is limited when placed on a yard wire, we cannot go beyond the grasps of these chains to see Christ in His full capacity of righteousness, mercy, and grace when we put entangling limitations on ourselves.
When writing these lyrics, I’m unsure whether the word lay was chosen as specifically as I analyzed it, but I believe it serves great meaning that most may not initially see. This three-letter word portrays ease, clarity, and obviousness. I’m convinced these lyrics are boldly implying the free choice we have to remove the chains that are hindering us in our walks with Christ. Instead of living limited by our past and current sins, our doubts, and our insecurities, we can choose to let loose of what is keeping us blindfolded to His mercy and grace! Instead of choosing ourselves and the limitations we allow to entangle us, we can choose Christ!
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30/(ESV)
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22/(ESV)
I can definitely recall times I have allowed my insecurities, sins from my past, and my doubtful tendencies to hold me back from pursuing a closer relationship with the Lord. In the process, I allowed those chains to continue hindering me from fulfilling, or even noticing on numerous occasions, the opportunities He was blessing me with. I was preventing myself from seeking his sovereign and righteous will.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24/(ESV)
After my initial thoughts, I started to analyze the phrase in two different parts, “lay down your old chains” and “take up your new name”. It quickly became so surreal that, as believers, we cannot take, have, and maintain one part without the other. Their puzzle-like interconnections come at the ultimate cost of one another as equals.
In order to take up our new names as Christians, we must lay down our old chains. We can’t fully comprehend and take hold of the intimacy of taking up our new names if we are still trapped in the bondage of our sins and burdens. Old chains only continue blinding us from noticing and adhering to the opportunities Christ lays in front of us. Ultimately, they keep us feeling insecure and prevent us from accepting our intimate, purposeful role as daughters to the King.
Taking up our new names as Christians are such a crucial foundation of faith that we too often do not fully comprehend. Sisters, once we claim Christ, we are no longer our old selves. We gain a new name, a new identity, and a new future…in eternal glory of Christ! This should not be something we take lightly. When we lay down what is hindering us from running straight to Christ, we can visualize and understand the new lives we have been given. Our past is no longer what hinges our futures. Our insecurities are no longer what dictates who we are. Our doubts no longer hold any upper hand against us. We are free! Free to run to Christ as fast as we can and take up the new names we have been freely given. Along with the new names that we obtain, we are given a new family. We become sisters in Christ, but most importantly, we are daughters of the King.
“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:5-6/(ESV)
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:1-5/(ESV)