Higher Than I #6: You Are

Higher Than I

You Are is the fifth track of the Clayton Church worship album, Higher Than I, which was officially launched on Sunday 1 May.

Album Tracks/Index

  1. Praise to the Lord Almighty
  2. Higher Than I
  3. Blessed Assurance
  4. Great is Your Love
  5. You Are (This article)
  6. How Majestic
  7. I Desire
  8. Breathe on Me
  9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  10. Wonderful Cross

Official Links

Song Background

This song originated from one of the guys in our worship band when he was reading the book of John. The book of John is filled to the brim with references to Jesus in terms of who He is. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the light that shines in the darkness. He also refers to Himself as a lot of other things such as the bread of life. The heart behind this song is to give us, as worshippers of Christ, a voice to say that for every situation we find ourselves in, Jesus is the sufficient for that need.

Lyric Analysis

Sometimes we do not really pay attention or concentrate on the lyrics of a song. It sounds good so we may allow it to soak and permeate our soul on a more indirect subconscious level. However, when, as part of preparing this article, I chose to focus and give the lyrics undivided attention, the wording of the lyrics, which is in part mentioned above in the song background, really spoke into my life. At the time, I was a little low in spirits, but boy did You Are make my soul soar. I will share this mini-journey as part of analysing the beautiful lyrics that just fly off from the verses originally penned by John.
The first verse proclaims the facts – that we have seen God’s glory and that He has revealed Himself. The lyrics flow so smoothly as a thought process such that the final line simply states the reaction and call to action – as a result of having seen and being shown the identity of Christ Jesus, we can only respond by saying “I love you, Lord”. Those four words jam pack so much meaning. It is not just that we love you, but we also acknowledge who you are to us – our Lord.

I have seen Your glory
You’ve shown yourself to me
And I love you, and I love you Lord

In the original arrangement of the song, the two verses follow back-to-back. The second verse also is worded in a similar style and focuses more on the nature of God, being full of grace and mercy that is poured out to all of us. As a result of receiving God’s grace and mercy, the natural reaction would be to humbled in His holy presence. The act of kneeling or falling at the feet of Jesus is a common physical manifestation of that humility. As we fall at our knees, we bow before the One who is victorious.

You’re full of grace and mercy
Pouring out to me
I am humbled, falling at your feet

Whilst my commentary changes the perspective and grammatical person from first person singular to first person plural (“I” to “us”), the song is written as a first person reference to God in the second person – an extremely common style for most worship songs: “I” being ourselves and “You” referring to God. The same pattern of first two lines reflecting on the nature of God and what He has done repeats in this verse with the third and final line providing the same call to action and response that the nature of God evokes – it humbles us and we fall at His feet.
The importance and value of worship songs being written in the first person singular helps us to personalise the lyrics to heart. When we sing out “I have seen y our glory”, or “I love you”, or “I am humbled” these are all opportunities where God’s nature convicts us. As I listened to You Are during my travel into work, I found myself being led through this exact experience. It evoked in me brief fleeting feelings of unworthiness and absolute humility in being the recipient of God’s perfect love. Any other feelings of frustration or stress from work or people were totally blown away, as expected, by this time of worship and reflection on God.
The verses are also arranged musically to build towards a peak which the chorus. The first line in particular is sung like a question, answered and resolved by the second. In the chorus, the musical composition is declarative and the lyrics align to this emphatically declaring that “You are the hope, the one I hold on to”. John 16:33 states “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This is the biblical truth that aligns to the sentiment that Jesus is our hope, the One we hold and cling on to in times of trouble and hardship. He is our firm foundation and pillar to our faith, ensuring our salvation and identity is secure. John 3:19-21 are the verses which correlate to the second line that Jesus is the light shining in the darkness – King James Version:

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

In this way, the chorus as a whole is a succinct declaration of faith – a loud and clear proclamation of our faith that Jesus, our Lord is the Son of God.

You are the hope, the one I hold on to
You are the light that shines in the darkness
Jesus Son of God, Jesus Son of God

For the bridge, John 14:6 is the source verse, where “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” This verse is thus meshed with the earlier verses to form what becomes a very catchy and memorable lyric underpinning the song:

You are the way, the truth and the life
You are My hope, the one I run to

The whole progression of the song takes ever-increasing energy levels as it shifts from verse to chorus, and yet again when the chorus transitions to the bridge. Singing chorus and bridge repeatedly are not just fun words to sing but are such powerful and key truths that edify believers. Indeed, this mixing of the lyrics between chorus and bridge isw how the song plays out. The up-beat rhythm and syncopation along with the life-affirming lyrics just made me want to dance for joy unto and before the Lord. The journey that I experienced when actively listening to You Are the other day brought me out of my slumber and into a fully restoration of my soul where the joy of the Lord was truly overflowing.

You are the hope the one I hold onto
You are the light that shines in the darkness
Jesus Son of God, Jesus Son of God

You are the way, the truth and the life
You are my hope the one I will run to
Jesus Son of God, Jesus Son of God

You are the hope the one I hold onto
You are the light that shines in the darkness
Jesus Son of God, Jesus Son of God

Having listened to the whole album, this song is one of my favourites because of the powerful impact it has on me in totality – lyrics and music. I believe this is one worship song that can be the heart’s cry of generations of believers. The direct association to Jesus and the raw reproduction of biblical truths is so clear to me that I feel that listening and worshipping God to this song is something I could do repeatedly and not grow tired of.