Have you ever found yourself humming a song from the distant past—a song that illuminated a timely issue in your life? That happened a few days ago, when God dropped the old Righteous Brothers song “Unchained Melody” into my heart.
I think this was sparked when a friend texted me to ask if I could help him write a book on how to be set free from addictions. I told him we could discuss this in a few days, but I was inclined to turn him down. After all, there already are countless books about how people can overcome drugs, pornography, smoking, alcoholism, codependence, and all sorts of other forms of addiction. I couldn’t see how one more book would do much good.
A few hours later, however, I found myself thinking about Unchained Melody, and it entirely changed my perspective.
God has put a unique song (i.e., a melody) in the heart of each one of His children. But let’s be honest: Very FEW people seem to actually be singing the special, God-giving tune they’ve been given. Most seem to be living lives of drudgery, singing someone else’s song instead of their own.
What’s the problem here? If God has given us a special song to sing, why is it so rare to meet people who are truly “living out” that song?
I’m glad you asked…
A good starting place to answer the question is Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. You probably know the story of the wealthy man who had two sons. He greatly loved both of them, but each son had something blocking his ability to experience the father’s love.
The younger son took his share of the inheritance and quickly squandered it in wild living. Not until his money ran out and he spent time in a pigpen did the young man come to his senses and return home.
The amazing part of the story is that instead of scolding and punishing his wayward son, the father threw him a huge party. Do you see how ironic this is?
The son probably would have returned home a lot sooner if he knew the love, acceptance, and blessings that awaited him. He spent all his money on PARTYING that could never satisfy, when all along, his father had been ready to throw him a PARTY that would change his life forever.
You see, once upon a time, the younger son had a Melody in his heart. But because of his sinful, addictive, wanton lifestyle, the Melody had become chained. Eventually the bondage became so oppressive that he totally forgot there had ever had been a grand Melody and purpose to his life.
When the young man witnessed the joyous music and dancing coming from his father’s house, something resonated in his heart. His song came back to life, and he finally experienced the joy of the Unchained Melody he had always been destined to sing.
Sadly, the older brother didn’t experience such a happy ending. While the Melody in his young brother’s heart was chained because of SIN and WORLDLINESS, the older brother’s Melody was in bondage because of RELIGION and SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS—often much more difficult chains to break.
Do you see how this applies to you and me? God wants each of us to sing our Unchained Melody—unhindered by sin and uninhibited by the stubborn pride of self-righteousness and religion.
So if I decide to help my friend on his book project, I hope the book can do more than just focus on addiction. The truth is, addiction feels good on some level (Hebrews 11:24-25), so we have to point people to something BETTER—the joyous Unchained Melody that God desires for them to sing.
And one more point…
Notice that the song is about Unchained MELODY, not Unchained HARMONY. While it’s a wonderful thing to harmoniously support other people’s dreams and visions, don’t forget about your own dream and vision. Although there’s a time to sing in the “choir,” perhaps this is the season to sing your own Unchained Melody.
But let me ask you…
Do you still even remember the song God placed in your heart many years ago? Or has it become a distant memory, needing the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to rekindle the fire and remind you of the lyrics once again?
My friend, your Father has scheduled a party in your honor. Don’t let anything keep you from attending.
Can you hear the sound? Then go ahead and put on your dancing shoes!