We are living in the golden age of the folk-indie-rock genre, which includes bands like The Lumineers, The Strumbellas, and Of Monsters and Men. It is a great time to be alive.
Lately, I have been listening to the raw and eclectic music of Judah & the Lion. While many of us are familiar with the hit single “Take it all Back,” I really love the song “Better Man” off the same album, Folk Hop N’ Roll.
The members of Judah & the Lion are Christians, so it isn’t a coincidence that the lyrics of “Better Man” point to the profound mystery of sanctification. The second verse paints the picture of spiritual rebirth.
All my life that I would grow
Like a flower that comes up from a seed that’s sown
The spirit now to rise within
Reign over my carnal skin
Sanctification is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit that enables believers to offer themselves as living sacrifices to God. The Holy Spirit frees believers from the slavery of their “carnal skin.”
Article 24 of the Belgic Confession states that “true faith, produced in us by the hearing of God’s Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates us and makes us new creatures, causing us to live a new life and freeing us from the slavery of sin.”
The chorus, “oh, I just want to be a better man as I go,” is actually the cry of every Christian who grows exasperated with his own sins. Even as we live a new life in Christ, we constantly fall victim to the cravings of the carnal skin. We never stop striving “with a free conscience against sin and the devil in this life.” Heidelberg Catechism Q32.
The final verse is a specific request for Christian living.
Oh my hands to serve and love
My eyes to see and not to judge
My spirit now to rise within
And reign over my carnal skin
“Better Man” is a beautiful song about sanctification and a prayer to live a better life devoted to service and love.