I’m not sure how it happens, but sometimes I wake up in the morning with a song stuck in my head. Somehow, a song that I heard or know, rises up out of somewhere and I find myself singing it or humming it throughout the day. And once a song is stuck in my head, it is hard to get out. Even when I try to start thinking about a different song, the one stuck in my head overpowers it and I go back to singing and humming it again.
It seems to me that every life has a song that it lives by. That is, our lives are daily shaped by the lyrics and melody that plays over and over within us. This song affects the way we live. It influences our thoughts and ultimately our behavior. It also becomes the lens by which we see and understand ourselves.
The problem, however, is that the song we listen to sometimes carries with a negative message about who we are, who we can become, and how we think others see us. Listen to it long enough and over time we believe the lyrics. Our song may tell us we don’t matter, no one cares, we can’t change, or that we are no good. It gets stuck in our head and we resign to live with it.
During the ministry of Jesus, he encountered different individuals who had lived their lives believing the old lyrics of an old song that had shaped their lives. Whether it was tax collectors, a sinful woman, diseased persons, fishermen, children, or Samaritans, people in Jesus’ day, as in our day, felt they had no other lives to live than the one they had been told to live.
Jesus came offering a new song for people’s lives that was written not by human standards, but by God, who gives worth, value, and dignity to every life. Jesus offers new lyrics for every person to live by and a melody that guides us in our living. The song that Jesus gives us frees us from the constraining lyrics of the world and offers us a new song to live by which sets us free.
In Psalm 40:3 we read, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” We don’t have to live by the song the world places within us, but God offers us an original piece written with God’s amazing grace. As we receive this song into our lives and allow it to “get stuck in our heads and hearts”, then we discover who we are in the eyes of God and who God has called us to be. As the old hymn lyrics remind us, “There’s within my hearts a melody….Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.”