Look out, world. I found a new song. You all are doomed to listening to me sing and hum it to oblivion.
That’s where the title came from. I found the song “Jesus in LA” by Alec Benjamin, and now I’m obsessed. And it’s not just because I think it’s a great song. It’s also one of those rare gems where secular entertainment speaks the truth fearlessly.
Last month, I wrote some articles on how to discern when entertainment at its core is true, good, and beautiful, and how to evade the less-than-holy packaging it can sometimes come in. There’s more to come in that series, and one of those principles (spoiler) is that there are some genuinely wholesome but high-quality and authentic products out there. “Jesus in LA” is one of them, and I wanted to share it with you.
Please listen to the song (I’ll stop singing it in sketchy pitches if you do…) and take a listen to the words and story. A young man sits down with the Devil over a whiskey and asks for help finding what will finally satisfy him. The Devil tells him that
“You won’t find Him…at a party in the hills
At the bottom of the bottle
Or when you’re tripping on some pills…
You won’t find Jesus in LA.”
The Devil then says that, since the young man’s already grasping for satisfaction in those places, he might as well stay. But then the young man realizes he’s alone. And that it’s time to go home.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Forgive me while I gush.
My summary does no justice to the song or the actual lyrics, and when you listen to it, you can really hear the story of a man trying to find his way to his Source and Salvation. And isn’t that the experience we all have? We chase satisfaction everywhere else, and the Devil’s right there with a soothing, deceitful smile. He seems to acknowledge us, but tells us we’ve failed and invites us to quit as if offering us solace.
"Love is what you need, but it’s too late for that,” he tells us. “You’ve blown it too many times. You won’t make it. You might as well stay here, where you’re stuck.”
But this young man realizes he can come home. And that’s what he wants, not this fleeting stimulation he’s been consuming. And that realization—that defeat of the lie, of the Devil—only comes from the grace of God.
The life Jesus wants to offer us can’t be found in the parties, the substances, or whatever we may use to medicate. He isn’t in “LA.”
But. He’s there for us, even when—especially when—we find ourselves in “LA.” In those moments when we create our own mini “LA” of our self-medication of choice, He comes to us. He’s not afraid of the mess, the pain, the darkness we’re in. He wants to haul us out of it and bring us home.
That’s where Jesus is in LA.