From Bethel to Bieber: The True Story Behind 'Reckless Love'

(Unsplash/Kyle Johnson)

Bethel worship leader and songwriter Cory Asbury will release the devotional Reckless Love: A 40-Day Journey Into the Overwhelming, Never-Ending Love of God (Jan. 2020) based on his award-winning song by the same name.

"Reckless Love" became the No. 1 single on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart in 2018. It was named both song of the year and worship song of the year at the 2018 GMA Dove Awards. In 2019 it was nominated for a Grammy Award in the best contemporary Christian music performance/song category. Worship teams across the world—and even Justin Bieber—have covered the song.

But not many know the biblical principles that informed Asbury's songwriting. In the Reckless Love devotional, Asbury explores his song's themes, including the following:

—Why we can never exhaust the Father's love.

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How to love God and others with abandon.

How to deal with depression.

How to move from guilt to grace.

Most of all, Asbury dives into the controversy: Could God ever truly be reckless? He shares his personal experience in the early stage of the creative process:

"At that point in my life, I was so hyper-acquainted with my own brokenness that the reality of God's desire and love for me even in that vulnerable place was absolutely wrecking me (in the best way possible). He kept showing up at the doorstep of my heart when I least expected it: after another loss in the battle against lust, after blowing up at my kids ... after yet another fight with my wife ... I just couldn't outrun His grace and I couldn't 'outfall.'"

When "Reckless Love" first released, the internet flooded with blogs, news articles and social media posts challenging Asbury's choice of the word "reckless." But as he explains in his book, "reckless" was never meant to encapsulate the complete character of God.

"I believe in a God whose love is infinitely beyond the bounds of our English Rolodex of descriptors, a God who lives so far outside the confines of human language that words fail to describe even the edges of His complexity," he says.

With that said, Asbury still emphasizes the responsibility writers and artists have to make God known "as descriptively and as precisely as possible." He hopes his devotional will lead readers into a deeper understanding of just how much God loves them.

Cory Asbury is a worship leader and songwriter who hails from the mountains of North Carolina. He is also an artist with the Bethel Music Collective, a group that exists to gather, inspire and encourage the global church toward deeper intimacy with the Father. His song "Reckless Love" was nominated for a Grammy Award, and his Reckless Love album was a Billboard No. 1 Christian album in 2018. Asbury has also won three GMA Dove Awards, two K-Love Fan Awards and the ASCAP Christian music song of the year award. He has also received three Billboard Music Awards nominations.

Asbury's song "Reckless Love" and the Reckless Love book were inspired by his journey into the depths of the Father's heart. Through the birth of his first son and the near loss of his first daughter, Asbury's understanding of the love of God has grown real-life roots. In becoming a father, he learned how to be a son. Fueled by a passion to lead others into their own authentic encounters with God, Asbury's ministry is marked by rich spontaneous moments in His presence. Asbury and his wife, Anna, have four beautiful children: Gabriel, Lily, River and Willow-Grace. To learn more, visit

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