I’m Eighteen (Love It To Death, 1971)
“I’m Eighteen” Lyrics:
Lines form on my face and hands
Lines form from the ups and downs
I’m in the middle without any plans
I’m a boy and I’m a man
And I don’t know what I want
I just don’t know what I want
I gotta get away
I gotta get out of this place
I’ll go runnin’ in outer space
I got a
Baby’s brain and an old man’s heart
Took eighteen years to get this far
Don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about
Feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt
I get confused every day
I just don’t know what to say
I gotta get away
Lines form on my face and my hands
Lines form on the left and right
I’m in the middle
The middle of life
I’m a boy and I’m a man
I’m eighteen and I like it
Yes I like it
Oh I like it
This week we look at the Alice Cooper band’s breakthrough song from the ‘Love It To Death‘ album. ‘I’m Eighteen’, reaching #21 on the Billboard chart in April 1971, has become one of the most well-known anthems of youth and the feelings attached to adolescence. All the band members contributed to the writing process and Bob Ezrin masterfully edited an 8-plus minute song down to just under 3 minutes. Alice even stated that, ‘I’m Eighteen‘ was stripped back to the bone – simple and direct, right down to the guitar and chorus hooks.” He also claims Ezrin helped him define his vocal signature, the growl & guttural tone, saying, ‘Look Alice…people may like the live show, but you have no defining handle on your voice and the music.” It’s evident, Ezrin was right and the rest is history. ‘I’m Eighteen’ is classic Alice and sets the bar for what many expect the Alice sound and style to always be and return to – even after toying with other unique avenues and concepts.
Our walk with the Lord, at times and during different seasons, also mimics adolescence. Stop and think about those words, feelings, and thoughts attached to the lyrics and mindset. They make you think of that time and how awkward, alone, desperate, confusing, etc. it was. In the song, lyrics such as, ” lines form on my face and hands, lines form from the ups and downs”, “I’m in the middle without any plans, I’m a boy and I’m a man”, “a baby’s brain and an old man’s heart”, “don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about, feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt”, may also define our spiritual walk and journey as well. We’ve spoken many times about how David felt and reflected those feelings and emotions in the Psalms. The ‘ups and downs’. Being ‘in the middle without any plans’. It really takes us fully understanding that we are on a journey. Our map is His will. That’s not something we can plan. It’s not something we can fully know until or as it unfolds. However as that happens, we can make large, medium, or little adjustments along the way.
Step back for a moment and look at your journey – not only through the prism of life and its events, but also through the eyes of your faith. If you had to rate your level of spiritual maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, what would that number be? It’s a personal question – maybe one you can’t or aren’t sure how to answer. Maybe even one that fluctuates according to what you’re going through (whether painful or joyous). While there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s something to consider. Something worth looking at. Our spiritual life actually corresponds to our physical life in many ways. When someone decides to follow Christ, there’s a number of growing pains one must or might go through. Much like our physical lives, our spiritual lives mature but at varied rates. Physically we rely on factors like genetics and nutrition, but spiritually it’s accomplished by choice and discernment.
Truth is, the Holy Spirit lays the groundwork. He cleanses and changes our hearts. Directing us instead towards God’s Word. Leaving us with a stirring in our hearts that moves us to yearn after Him and His ways. However, we are ultimately responsible for our own growth and maturity. We must choose to research, learn, and apply God’s Word – after which you will find the Spirit renewing your mind. Leading you to walk with purpose. That sounds easy and simple, right? That question is said with sarcasm, but It seriously can be. Like anything else, it takes practice, endurance, perseverance, and self-control. These aren’t things humanity is inherently good at. But they aren’t unattainable either.
How do we do this? In order to look at this a little more closely, let’s zoom in and focus on a few different things that can help further our walk and bring about maturity in the process. These things are: 1) Comparison, 2) Resistance, 3) Labels, 4) Mentors, and 5) Religion.
COMPARISON. Comparison is a killer.
We can’t compare our lives or our walks to one another (2 Corinthians 10:12). They are unique. We are all given individual gifts and talents. Those should be our life’s focus. Finding ways to use those to His glory. We have been ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalms 139:14) to carry out His purpose. Focus instead on finding that purpose as it applies to you, not worrying about whether or not it matches someone else’s. It shouldn’t. The Body of Christ is many moving parts and requires each part to do its job for the body to function and move.
RESISTANCE. Resistance is a two-way street.
We can either resist the Lord or resist the world (James 4:7). That doesn’t mean all things in the world must be resisted. We have been called to still be in the world. But there is a certain mindset that calls us to carry a new mentality. If there’s something that causes you trouble or sin, remove it. If you don’t need it, delete it, so to speak (Proverbs 4:14-15). There’s this notion that being around other Christians all the time will strengthen your faith when it’s honestly quite the opposite. While fellowship with other Christians is very important, the more you live in this world resisting the evil one, the firmer a foundation you build (1 Peter 5:8-9).
LABELS. Labels are a divisive entity.
The Bible warns us about such things (Matthew 7:1-2, James 4:11-12). This is a struggle for us though. We want to categorize and theorize about what we think and believe. However, be careful with this. Placing specific things in certain boxes and categories often keeps us from allowing the Lord to move in specific aspects of our life. Take for example, the folks in Nazareth. They refused to see Jesus as the Christ – to them he was just Mary’s boy. A label that, while true, held them back from seeing Him as anything more than that (Luke 4:14-30). To drive this home a little further, we’ve included this video from Pastor Bob Beeman. The video is about labels, and in it, he warns us about using judgment and discernment properly when we make claims and accusations about others. Check it out and see what you think.
MENTORS. Mentors may very well be one of the most, if not the most, important elements for growth.
The Bible points to mentoring, discipleship, and accountability multiple times. Uplifting one another through Him is a principal part of our walk with one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). But there’s more to it as well. We must find more experienced Christians to help lovingly guide us through storms we’ve never experienced (1 Peter 5:3). We must also know that leaders need leadership, there is always more to learn and walking alone in faith can be a dangerous road (Proverbs 9:9, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). All ages can learn and know about Him and His Will. In fact, we are called to disciple even the children (Proverbs 22:6). But it’s important to know that the most important and greatest teacher is the Holy Spirit. He will continually remind us of who Christ is, what His Life and Death meant, and why He came (John 14:26).
RELIGION. Religion can be a thorn, if not a dagger, in the side and hearts of men/women.
It’s important to know that if something taught or held sacred by man, denomination, or creed is not Biblical, it is not of God. Be careful of such things. We are called to walk in unity with one another, not division (2 Corinthians 1:10). This is not a call to bring rebellion to the church or the pulpit. But it is meant to study carefully the Bible for yourselves and make sure what you are being taught lines up with the Word (Acts 7:10-11). Remember this, man is fallible and denominations are man-made. God calls for unity, where humanity has sown division. Be willing to walk humbly with our God and your fellow men and women, all of them (Micah 6:8).
In conclusion, this week’s post was a long one. ‘I’m Eighteen’ is a classic song. It may very well be the song that embodies the Alice Cooper phenomenon better than any other. In fact, Alice to this day does not celebrate birthdays but instead annual anniversaries of his eighteenth birthday. ‘I’m Eighteen and I Like It’. That’s profound in its own way if you think about it. If we look at our walks with Christ the same way, we can celebrate coming to know Him but also remember that we are still young, learning, and yearning to know more about Him. Even the oldest, wisest Christian has much to learn with regard to the nature of our Lord. So, with that we Rejoice with where He’s brought us in our faith, but also Rejoice more in where He’s taking us and the things still to come. Be mindful of those things that can hinder your walk while embracing the things that strengthen it. Guard well your ‘baby’s brain’ and love all with your ‘old man/woman’s heart’.
Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?
If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:
"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay. I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"
If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can welcome you into the kingdom. We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.