“Feel Invincible” is a new track from Christian rock band Skillet. Perhaps you’ve heard it. The chorus goes like this:
You make me feel invincible
Just like a tidal wave
You make me brave
You’re my titanium
Fight song, raising up
Like a roar of victory in a stadium
Who can touch me cause I’m
I’m made of fire
Who can stop me tonight
I’m hard wired
You make me feel invincible
Earlier this year, a friend sent me the following FiveThirtyEight article: “The Sun Is Always Shining In Modern Christian Pop.” Its premise? Contemporary Christian music is “unrelentingly cheerful.” Mentions of positive things like life, grace, and love far outnumber negative things like sin, death, and fear. This hasn’t always been the case. Older Christian music was less glowingly optimistic and more realistic, embracing the reality of sin and life’s struggles. But nowadays, excessive positivity is the norm. Christian songs help us feel better, because they’re jubilant and happy and upbeat! They make us feel invincible!
But, wait a second. Shouldn’t Christian songs be about, well, Christ? Not just about us feeling better?
My mom and I discussed this very thing the other day. While listening to some Christian tunes on the radio, we both agreed that modern Christian songs focus less on us praising God and more on God helping us. Worship anthems have been replaced with cute, catchy, make-me-feel-good tunes. Think, for example, of Francesca Battistelli’s 2008 hit song, “Free to Be Me.” The opening lines:
At twenty years of age
I’m still looking for a dream
A war’s already waged
For my destiny
But you’ve already won the battle
And you’ve got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me
Yes, this song is fun to sing along with or listen to. But the focus is remarkably self-centered, don’t you think?
Of course, the me-me-me mentality is common in our culture. We are outrageously interested in ourselves. When we walk into a restroom, we glance in the mirror. When we see a group picture, we first examine ourselves. When we check social media, we want to first see what reactions our posts are generating. We spend most of the day thinking about ourselves and precious little time thinking of others. As Olin Miller candidly observed, “You wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do!”
Apparently popular Christian songs are increasingly reflecting this self-absorption.
But let’s not forget what—rather, whom—Christian music should be about: namely, God. He’s the one worth singing about. Praise, worship, and adoration should be directed toward him—not toward ourselves.
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1-2).