4 Reasons to Lead “Whole Heart” (Song Discovery)

Released this year by Passion, “Whole Heart” is an anthem about Jesus’s love for us and our hope in Him. It was recorded live at the Passion Conference this January in Atlanta, with more than 30,000 college students in attendance.

There are so many songs to for worship leaders to choose from today, so why lead “Whole Heart”?
In short: It uniquely presses into the beauty of God’s unconditional love for us in Christ, and it has a chorus that your church can really belt. (The song’s origin is also very fascinating.)

The lyrics are relevant

The writers fittingly describe the emotions of being forgiven and loved. Here are a few especially powerful lines:

“He had me thinking I was out of reach”
“Embarrassed, I couldn’t even show my face”
“Your love—it comes with no conditions”
“You tell me that grace has taken care of it”
“I serve a King with good intentions”

These lines are conversational without being casual—accessible to every generation without feeling staunch or cold.
For Kristian Stanfill, the last line of the chorus is transformational—a fantastic lyric to proclaim the truth about who we are in Christ:

“I know who I am because of who you are”

Our favorite line, however, arrives at the end of the bridge….

“The love of God has changed my destiny”

Wow—how meaningful to sing of our present salvation and also the new life that God has for us in Christ.

The music is contagious

The chorus is a singable, memorable anthem. In the live recording, you can hear thousands of college students singing their hearts out, but it’s easy to imagine it working in smaller groups as well.
During the bridge, something unique happens with the music: It takes on a rhythmic pattern that matches the phrasing of the melody. It’s a joy to sing that section during corporate worship.
(Tip for leading: The song is originally in the key of A major, with the highest note being F#, which may be a stretch for congregational singing. Playing the song one step lower in the key of G major might work better, making the highest note E.)

The message is needed

For those of you familiar with CCM, the song may remind you of Brandon Heath’s song by the same title. The two songs, however, approach the same concept from different angles. Both are great songs packed with great truths. Heath’s is about offering God your whole heart—the more you trust Him, the more you grow. Passion’s version is about God giving us His whole heart, not keeping anything from us.
Knowing this about our God gives us a deeper understanding of our new identity. We are His children. And we are loved. Not partially loved, but fully loved with the whole heart of God. Why would God, who loves us fully and gave His life for us, abandon us? He wouldn’t. We can sing this song with confidence because of what we read in Romans 8:31b–39 (ESV):

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
   we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It’s so easy to find ourselves anxious or worried. There’s no better way to let go of our fear and worry than to know (and keep remembering) that God loves us perfectly. We don’t have to be afraid. And, as a Church, we can’t sing this fear-dispelling truth enough.
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I once was captive by the enemy
He had me thinking I was out of reach
O Jesus, mercy shut his mouth
I once was crippled by the weight of shame
Embarrassed, I couldn’t even show my face
O Jesus, then I heard You speak
Your love it comes with no conditions
You give us Your whole heart
My hope is in the blood of Jesus
I know who I am because of who You are
I hear You calling me beyond my sin
You tell me that grace has taken care of it
O Jesus, You’re my victory, O Jesus
You’re my victory
I serve a King with good intentions
God, You will never turn Your back on me
How could a wretch become Your treasure
The love of God has changed my destiny

CCLI Song # 7105733
Sean Curran, Melodie Malone, Louie Giglio, Brett Younker, Ed Cash

Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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Written by Matthew Boffey