I love using music to spark my spiritual meditations. Regular readers of the humble ramblings know that I have a rather eclectic blend of music on the trusty iPod. Today a song from Matthew West called “Nothing Else” was one of those tunes. You might better know Matthew West from a song called “Next Thing You Know”. His CD called History is one of my favorites and today’s song is an honest reflection on the journey to find happiness. Here are some of the lyrics to Nothing Else.
I tried money I got as much as I could and I went to the store And I bought it all But it wasn’t enough ’cause I wanted some more But my house was full So I bought a bigger house and filled it up And there I was with all that stuff And empty.
Been there. Done that. Just took the t-shirt in a bag of other stuff to Goodwill. We have so much stuff at our house. Other Christians are so convinced that God is angry over one or more of the top 10 sins on their personal countdown (gay marriage, alcohol, gambling, et al). I have a deep burden that He is most unhappy about our lack of commitment to His Lordship and our lack of giving in the midst of incredible wealth. If you go through Scripture you will find that Jesus is described as Savior 16 times. Jesus is described as Lord of our lives over 400 times. God’s Word talks about Jesus as Lord 96% of the time and describes Him as Savior 4% of the time.
I would suggest that we have it all backwards. I would guess that we talk about Jesus as Savior 96% of the time and reluctantly talk about Jesus as Lord about 4% of the time. I believe that because I have done exactly that for most of my Christian journey.
I want the Savior part of Jesus. I desperately wanted to be reconciled to God. I knew He was Holy. I also knew I was not (I have great self-awareness). I wanted to spend eternity in heaven. But making Him Lord of my life is another story. That takes sacrifice. I have to give up control. I have to surrender to the Holy Spirit. I can tell you that control and surrender don’t sleep well together. How can the God of the universe who created the amazing complexity of life know what career move is best for me? I had better take control of that. Silly, isn’t it? But human nature is to want a savior…not Lord.
Matthew West nails the essence of our often futile pursuit of happiness in the chorus of Nothing Else.
Nothing else can take the place of You Nothing else can take the place of You
A very simple concept. A very difficult application. Matthew West, like most of us, tried something else.
Still I try friendship I called everyone I knew And invited them over for a party They ate all the free food And they told me how much they loved me But when the food was gone My friends were gone And there I was all alone And empty
So take the place The place of You And fill this space The way You do I’m tired of searching Those days are through So take the place It’s made for You Not friends or money or alcohol None of these things, believe me You can try them all Not status Not success I know none of these things will ever bring true happiness
Realizing the simple truth of these powerful lyrics can save you years of frustration. Nothing else can take the place of Him. I have tried. I am convinced of the truth of that simple statement. We were created to be in fellowship with God and nothing short of that satisfies. You can try other things. But just remember that God will be patiently waiting when you figure out that nothing else can take the place of Him.