IS LAUREN DAIGLE’S SONG, “HOLD ON TO ME” A CHRISTIAN SONG?
Lauren Daigle has become the most popular Christian artist in the world. She represents Jesus Christ and His church when it comes to her songs. She is a believer in Jesus Christ and has written many wonderful songs that reflect the glory of Jesus Christ and the power of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Her words in her songs have given, literally, millions of people hope.
Over the last few years her songs from her album “Look Up Child” have garnered awards both in the sacred and secular worlds of music. She has great crossover appeal both for Christians and non-Christians alike, but her music for now is still defined and categorized by “Christian music.”
Last year I reviewed Lauren’s song, “You Say.” For a song to be “Christian” by definition it needs to have been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith in God.
After reviewing the lyrics of “You Say,” I wished the song mentioned Jesus and focused on how He changes us through who He is more than us remembering who we are, but at the end of the day, the song turns our attention to God and places the sovereign control of our lives and actions at His feet, His control, His final say and judgment of our lives.
I agreed this is a Christian song, and I prayed God uses it to love more and more people into a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
So, what about Lauren’s latest song, “Hold On To Me.” Is it a Christian song by definition?
In the first verse she says, When the best of me is barely breathin’, When I’m not somebody I believe in, Hold on to me, When I miss the light the night has stolen, When I’m slammin’ all the doors You’ve opened, Hold on to me (Hey), Hold on to me
All of us have times in our lives we find ourselves, “barely breathin.” This is an all too familiar feeling for all of us whether we claim the name of Jesus or not. She goes on to say, “When I’m not somebody I believe in, Hold on to me.” This concept of believing in ourselves is not one I find in Scripture anywhere. God does not expect us to believe in ourselves. I realize she is more than likely referencing her confidence in herself to do and be a certain person, but this sort of mindset is largely not different than the idea of what I do when I don’t have positive feelings about myself and I have given up on myself. Scripture makes it clear that we are not to ever find confidence in ourselves nor do we need to find confidence in ourselves, because of what Christ has already done for us.
I don’t need to be proud of me for God to be proud of me. What God thinks of me is no longer in question thanks to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Our job is to learn how to appropriate what God has already declared us to be in Him.
Yes, I will agree, this song raises a common emotion that we all experience as followers of Jesus Christ, but we shouldn’t wait until we no longer have confidence in ourselves to ask whomever to hold on to us. God has already chosen us and if we have believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are His children and thus none of our feelings can change that about our place and position in Christ. Yes, all of us need to be reminded from time to time who we are in Christ and all of us need to be refreshed in His presence, but not when we lose confidence in ourselves. Jesus needs to hold us closer when we lose confidence in Him not ourselves.
This Christian life is not about our confidence in our ability to live it out. The Christian life is about having confidence not in ourselves but in who He is and what He has already done for us.
Grant it, I don’t know for a fact that she is referring to God, she could be referring to a person in her life. This is what makes it difficult to critique the song because unlike “You Say,” Lauren never mentions God in this song. She never tells us who she is actually talking to.
Most who are reviewing this song are saying, “It has even greater cross-over appeal.” As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have no problem with a song having cross-over appeal. I like both secular and sacred music and when it comes to the entertainment value, I would argue this song has great entertainment value, but as a Christian song by definition it is has to be able to accurately reflect the faith the Bible teaches about Jesus and our real relationship with Him.
Lauren says in the chorus, “Hold on to me when it’s too dark to see You, When I am sure I have reached the end, Hold on to me when I forget I need You, When I let go, hold me again”
These are powerful words that if directed toward God are accurate to what the Word of God teaches. The Bible teaches us that God holds on to us regardless of how bad the circumstances become. We can be confident that God has us. The Bible agrees that God holds on to us when we forget we need Him and God holds on to us when we let go of Him. Hebrews 13:5 tells us He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is always holding on to us.
These words are all very biblically based concepts for someone who has a real relationship with Jesus Christ, but they are not true of someone who doesn’t know God as their Savior and Lord. These are things that occur in our covenanted relationship we share with God through Jesus Christ. Once again, it is hard to know who she is talking to in the song because she never says.
Lauren then says in the second verse, “When I don’t feel like I’m worth defending, When I’m tired of all my pretending, Hold on to me, When I start to break in desperation, Underneath the weight of expectation, Hold on to me, Hold on to me”
Once again these are concepts that the Bible supports. We all have times we don’t feel like we are worth God defending. We all have times we get tired of pretending. We all have that moment when we start to break in desperation underneath the weight of expectation in this life. We all have the need to be held by Almighty God. We all need God to meet us in our weaknesses and hold us back from destroying ourselves.
The Apostle Paul talks about this war that rages inside of all Christians in Romans 7. Most agree that this is a passage that describes the battle the believer faces in the day-to-day challenges of living for Jesus.
I do love how Lauren describes the Christian battle in her song. It appears to be very accurate to Scriptures that record the battle. The unfortunate thing of this song, unlike Lauren’s other song, “You Say” is that it never acknowledges who the song is too and thus never gives God the glory due Him or points people to Jesus as the recipient of the song.
I know that for many, because Lauren is a believer in Jesus that the lack of mentioning God in her song is not that big of a deal, but just like a pastor who eventually stops mentioning God and Jesus in their sermon, a message from God eventually just becomes a message. Christian songs are meant to be messages from God to build us up to live for Him. It is a very dangerous thing when Christian music becomes primarily about expressing our experience for the sake of relating to others in the world who do not believe in Him and yet we never point them to Him in what we are doing.
If this song were to acknowledge God and honestly Jesus would be more preferably since Lauren is a believer in Jesus, then the only exception I would have with the song is the beginning verse that encourages by default belief and confidence in self. As a whole this is once again a remarkably well crafted and thought-out song, but when you put it under the litmus test of Christian music it falls short because of its lack of reference to God. One might say, “Big deal.” But may I remind you, Jesus is a big deal. God is a big deal. It is why we call ourselves, “Christians.” We are little “Christs.” That’s what the word means in its origination. That is what makes Christian music and messages distinctive to all other genres.
When we walk away from the definition, we eventually lose the distinction of our purpose.
Which is to bring glory to Jesus through what we do for Him.
Here is what Lauren had to say about the meaning of her song, “Hold On To Me from her instagram feed…
“My hope and my heart is that “Hold On To Me” reminds you of all the good in the world. No matter what you’re walking through, having someone there to hold you up and see you for who you are, even though the worst of circumstances — that’s what this song is about.”
Even Lauren says the song is not about God per say, but about someone there to hold you up and see you for who you are, even in the worst of circumstances.
I don’t pretend to know Lauren’s motive with the song. That is between she and God, but what I do know is, unlike “You Say,” this is not by definition a Christian song.
After writing this article I attempted to reach out on Lauren’s Instagram and FB page with the following post:
Lauren, I love your music. I have a question for you as a Pastor about your statement below from Youtube about “Hold On To Me”. The song appears to be about God in the lyrics but your sum up of the song seems to indicate it is all about human relationships. Can you please clarify who the song is to? Thank you Pastor Kelly M. Williams “I hope this song reminds you there’s still good in the world. No matter the circumstance you are walking through, there is someone in your life there to help you get through it. There’s something powerful about having people in your life that see who you are through the worst of circumstances and still choose you. “Hold On To Me” is about all of us coming together and remembering that being with each other and being there for each other is what life is truly all about.”
If I get a response I will post it to this blog article.
I want to leave you with this thought…
I am grateful God holding on to us as followers of Jesus Christ is never in doubt. Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.””
John 10:27-30 ESV