Musician Jimmy Clifton Shares How He Found Freedom in Christ
By Cooper Dowd, Movieguide Staff
Early in his career, musician Jimmy Clifton was inspired by the unique sounds of popular artists such as Bon Iver and Ed Sheeran.
His goal was to succeed and get famous to attract fanfare akin to the passionate audiences of One Direction.
However, when he invested in his relationship with Christ, his motivation for creating music flipped on its head.
“I wanted to be this big star like Ed Sheeran or One Direction,” Clifton told Movieguide® in a recent interview. “I wanted the ladies to chase me and all that kind of stuff, and I had the wrong motives.”
Despite growing up in a Christian home, Clifton said that addictions and an indifferent attitude towards God’s word controlled his life and his music.
“I grew up in a Christian household, but I had a lot of struggles and addiction throughout that time period,” he explained. “I never really came to know the Lord until later. I knew the Scripture. I knew everything. But, I never fully believed the promises [of the Bible].”
However, after growing a genuine relationship with Christ and experiencing freedom from his addictions, Clifton found a new purpose in his pursuit of music.
“Years later, growing in Christ and in my music, I realized: ‘I can’t help but write about the good things that God has done in my life and the stories about the freedoms I’ve found in Him, through addictions and through all these other things,” he recalled. “I make music about the stories I have been through and and the Gospel needs to be preached.”
“I want to reach people with the Gospel,” he added. “So I’m just going to make music like that. God’s really used it to reach people. The gospel has changed my life.”
Lyrics from one of his recent songs, “Hypocrite,” read:
“I’m done trying to be righteous / I’m the righteousness of Him / I’m a hypocrite woah / Hypocrite / ‘Cause Christ has set me free / And I don’t have to sin again.”
In the song, Clifton talks openly about how Christ saved him from an addiction to pornography and his hypocritical lifestyle.
Today, the singer credits his relationship with Christ as the defining element of his music and his entire life.
“First off, stay in the Word as much as you can,” he said. “Also, everything that you ever need to know is in Christ. He’ll fulfill you in your lowest, darkest times, and he’s better than the best times in your life. He’s everything and he’s in everything and can transform everything.”
He continued: “He’s our joy. He sanctifies us. He’s the one who brings us out of the addiction. He’s the one who brings us to this place of comfort when we’re going through losses. He’s everything we need. So all of our hope comes from Christ and our joy. Everything I need is only found in Christ.”
Clifton said that he hopes telling his story through music will encourage other Christians and non-Christians alike to continue or start to build their relationships with Christ.
“I would like people to keep being renewed,” he said. “A lot of my listeners have listened to my music and said, ‘I was a lukewarm Christian. I found your music. I picked up the Bible and started reading and I turned back to God.’ And so many stories like that, over and over.”
Ultimately, Clifton hopes that more Christians strive to make music with biblical truth as a priority instead of an emotional response.
“If you have emotions in your worship songs, have good biblical lyrics,” he explained.
Although he shares the gospel through his music with non-believers, Clifton said that his biggest ministry is to fellow believers.
“I can meet people and share the gospel with people as much as I can, but what I’ve seen more than anything is me encouraging other believers to stand firm,” he said. “Or encouraging them through hard times with my lyrics, you know? My ministry is to other believers.”
“I think if God can just continue to use it to call [people] out, and especially men, to stand up and be men, then they can lead their families and be real men in Christ,” he continued. “They can share the gospel and they can go out and make a difference in the world. That’s kind of my mission now is just to keep encouraging other Christian believers who need to hear… encouragement.”