The Legacy of Keith Green

The music and the message are still convicting.

I’ve been re-reading a book that my husband Richard and I read when we planted the church ReaLity in Greenville, South Carolina. No Compromise is the life story of Keith Green written by his wife, Melody Green. It tells the story of how Keith and Melody came to believe in Jesus and then follow Him.

Something about their story and Keith’s music resonated within us as we were ministering to young people in Greenville. Not only were Richard and I drawn to Keith Green’s life and song, but the people in our church were as well. His songs were raw, deeply moving, and full of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. Keith’s story changed us. We were challenged to live fully surrendered and love sacrificially.

That was in the late 90s…and here we are in 2022, still being challenged to do the same. Yet, why do I find it hard sometimes?

This week I read a passage of scripture that really touched a deep chord…

He (THE LORD) said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit…." (Is. 63:9-10)

"They grieved his Holy Spirit…." This caused me to stop and reflect.

“Lord, have I grieved the Holy Spirit?”

The day went by but the question remained in my heart. On the drive home from the school where I teach, a phrase came to mind that I have been saying for quite a while…

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

And then I realized…it grieves the Holy Spirit when I say this.

Let me give some context here. What is the “this” I don’t want to do anymore?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that phrase this past year or has it been the last few years? I don’t know. It’s been awhile. In Thailand we used a different phrase from an Avril Lavigne song, “Why does everything gotta be so complicated.” Everything was complicated in Thailand. EVERYTHING.

But that wasn’t true just in Thailand. Honestly, hard seems to go everywhere we go. Jesus never promised easy, and as the scripture says, “He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.” He has! Lately, however, in the hard challenges we’ve faced, I’ve been weary and found myself looking for an out. There must be an easier path to walk.

So in response to me asking if I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, God showed me that I had indeed grieved His heart every time I wanted to quit. For in saying this, I was essentially saying God couldn’t be trusted. 

As I reflected, another part in this passage stood out to me as well….“In all their suffering he also suffered…” This really touched me deeply. Jesus is in our hardships. He’s in our sorrows. He’s in our suffering. He feels what we feel. He knows, He understands. AND as the scripture goes on to say…He personally rescues. Isn’t this enough?

I want to stop saying, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” and I want to stop looking for an exit when things get hard. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Fully committed. ALL IN! No matter what.

Look at these words from Keith Green’s journal…

3:15AM ~ Can’t sleep. An angel wants to burn my lips with the coal. I must count the cost. Isaiah 6:7-8–Here I am. Send me! Prayer is key. Make me a man of prayer!

Put power in my words. You word is powerful! Make your word my word, make your power my power. I want to be God’s voice, full of love, mercy and fire! But I must be dead! I am ready for death! Kill me, destroy me, burn me beyond recognition. I know now that you would never hurt or harm me. You only want me dead! Let it be done! I don’t want greatness. I want you to be great! Lower me down, humble me. Teach me to humble myself, O Lord! I love you so much, but not as you love the Father. I want to love you that way!

Keith was performing before large crowds, wanting God to be glorified above all. He wanted men and women to turn to Jesus. Keith didn’t want to get in the way. He wanted to die to his own will, desires, plans, agenda…everything. He wanted to be fully God’s, a vessel that God could work through to bring Him glory.

I read this journal entry and am so moved. Can I say those things? Can I really? Maybe with my lips, but would I really mean it? It’s so convicting. There’s a lot of pride and selfishness in me. I love my opinion far too much. But I want to change. I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit. Am I willing to die? To lay everything down for His glory? God doesn’t owe me anything. His love and mercy is enough.

In 2001, I wrote a song and the worship leader at our church put music to it. We sang it a lot as a young church. This song came from a season in my life when Jesus was calling me to lay it all down. That season actually changed my life. And I don’t want to turn back. I don’t want to just go do my own thing now. For where would I go?! Only Jesus holds the words of life! 

Verse:

Jesus, help me to live each day surrendered only to You

I can’t walk the way I want to

My body is weak and my mind is full

My feet stumble and my words come out cruel

Jesus, help me to live each day surrendered only to You

Chorus:

More of You, less of me is what I pray

Help me abandon every wicked way

Take me Lord, break me Lord; I’m Yours today

More of You, less of me

More of You, less of me I pray

Verse:

Jesus, help me to live each day surrendered only to You

I can’t think straight and I am confused

Doubt and fear, well they tend to pull me down

The dark surrounds me and I feel like I might drown

Jesus, help me to live each day surrendered only to You

Bridge:

I can’t carry this burden and I know You don’t want me to

You say, ‘Come unto Me, and I will take care of You’

So here I am Lord, falling on my knees

Ready to surrender, wanting to be free

Here I am Lord, falling on my knees

Ready to surrender, wanting to be free

Watch the celebration with Melody Green, the life and legacy of Keith Green. Keith wouldn’t want to be exalted himself, so we will be exalting the very One Keith loved, JESUS. Click link to watch.

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This blog was used with permission and originally published at www.richardandamyfish.com


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Amy Fish

Written by Amy Fish

Almost 25 years ago, God called Amy to go and make disciples. From the inner cities of America to the barren bush of Africa, sharing the love of Jesus has been her passion. In 2006, she completed her YWAM DTS in Chiang Rai, Thailand. She's been married for the last 32 years to her best friend and is honored to be the mom of four beautiful children. She's a huge fan of playing games with her family, loving on her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and sipping on coffee while reading an inspirational book. Currently, she serves as the High School Vice Principal at Christian Heritage School.

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