Iveth Luna is a singer/songwriter from Mesquite, Texas, who grew up in a family involved in ministry. She began singing in church at the age of 16 and claims she later had a “spiritual encounter” that confirmed her calling to music. She writes pop-style music that includes Latin elements and she sings in both English and Spanish. The Ward Brothers introduced her to Red Street Records, and she signed a record deal with them. Luna’s music is influenced by her experience as a worship leader, and her goal is to encourage and edify people through her music. Her music is, as with most rising and unvetted Christian music pop stars, increasingly growing in popularity in mainstream Evangelical circles.
As Bible-believing Christians who have been called by God into His grace, we are called to worship the one and only Holy, righteous, and infinite triune God, who has redeemed us and called us to a life of holiness. It is imperative that we ensure that our beliefs and practices are grounded in the unerring authority of Scripture. Unfortunately, certain forms of Contemporary Christian music have been known to promote ideas that are antithetical to sound biblical doctrine.
We have expounded on many of these deviations in the past, exposing how the entire contemporary worship industry is centered around self-idolatry, rather than the worship of God. One such example is the recently released song “Just Like Jesus” by Iveth Luna, which promotes a synergistic form of narcissism that suggests human effort and God’s grace work together in the process of salvation and sanctification.
However, this view contradicts the biblical understanding of salvation by grace alone. The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, which cannot be earned or achieved through human effort (Ephesians 2:8-9). While Christians are called to live holy and obedient lives, this is not the basis for our salvation or our standing before God (Titus 3:5-7).
Let us now examine part of the chorus of “Just Like Jesus:”
It’s just like Jesus
To give me strength when I need it
Hope when I cannot see it
When I’m falling to pieces (When I’m falling to pieces)
It’s just like Jesus
To put me back on my feet when
I was out past the deep end
You wanted me when nobody wanted me
Now I just wanna be
These lyrics suggest that personal, self-inspired transformation and self-improvement are necessary for growth and development in the Christian life and that Jesus is merely a helper when needed, rather than the complete foundation of our trust and reliance. The chorus asserts that “It’s just like Jesus to give me strength when I need it, hope when I cannot see it, when I’m falling to pieces, to put me back on my feet when I was out past the deep end.” This emphasis on personal effort and improvement is inconsistent with the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone.
Moreover, the focus on the worshipper rather than on God is narcissistic and detracts from the attributes of God. The lyrics of “Just Like Jesus” repeatedly mention the worshipper’s brokenness, doubts, fears, and tears, and suggest that Jesus is there to help them through these struggles. Although it is true that God cares for His people and is intimately involved in their lives, the focus of worship should always be on God’s character and attributes, rather than on our own struggles and weaknesses.
The Bible continually emphasizes God’s sovereignty, holiness, justice, and love, and calls us to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). We are called to give God the glory and honor that He deserves, and to submit ourselves to His will and purposes (1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 12:1-2). Worship that centers on the worshipper instead of God is a form of idolatry, in which we elevate ourselves and our experiences above the greatness and majesty of God.
While some of this music may be well-intentioned, much of it is not and has been exposed for the faux-piousness and self-worship that it promotes. Even the most seemingly innocuous songs often promote a synergism that focuses on the personal and societal ills of the singer, which is narcissistic and takes the spotlight away from the attributes of God. As Christians, it is our responsibility to ensure that our beliefs and practices are rooted in Scripture and that our worship is centered on God’s greatness and goodness, rather than on our own experiences and struggles.