The Gospel According to Justin Bieber

Last semester, I spent a lot of time on the road, which meant I spent a lot of time in my car listening to music. And more often than I'd like to admit, that music was JBiebs' new album, Purpose.

It's an exciting time for Beliebers that are also believers, because Justin met Jesus and he's no longer living his life for himself, but for the One that gave him purpose (see what I did there?). His new album has a few jewels in it; songs containing nuggets of truth about our Creator that you wouldn't expect to hear when listening to Justin Bieber. But, like a lot of new believers, including myself eight years ago, he got some things wrong. Today I'm here to talk those things out.

At the end of his song, Purpose, you hear him speak and towards the end of his soapbox, he said this:

I don't know if this is wrong
Because someone else is telling me that it's wrong
But I feel this so let me just like, try my best not to let this happen again
We weren't necessarily put in the best position to make the best decisions.

You can't be hard on yourself
For these were the cards that you were given so you have to understand that these, like...
That's not who you are
You're trying to be the best you can be but that's all you can do
If you don't give it all you got, you're only cheating yourself
Give it all you got
But if it ends up happening, it ends up happening.
That's what it's....that's what's happening with me
It's like God I'm giving it all I got, sometimes
I'm weak and I'm gonna do it, and it's like I'm not giving myself grace
I'm just like understanding, that's just how it is.

I met Jesus seven years ago and after I said "yes" to Him, I got a lot of things wrong. I thought it was up to me-- I had to make all the right decisions, I had to read my Bible everyday, I had to keep up my reputation, I had to be a good Christian... Or God would be disappointed in me. 

And from my perspective, that's what those song lyrics are saying, too. Rather than badgering JBiebs in this blog, I'm going to dissect the ideas behind what he said in his song (I am going to bold the things that are Biblical) and then tell you guys what Jesus says in contrast.

This is what Justin Bieber is saying:

He alludes that he was put in a place that lead him to make bad decisions and that he is going to try not to let it happen again. He has made it his mission to be a good person. Okay great.

He then tells us that there isn't any reason to be hard on yourself after you make a bad decision because that's not who you are-- you are not defined by the decisions you make.

But then he repeats himself, talking about how he tried and he failed, how we have to try with everything we have to make good decisions because that's all we can do. It's up to us. The rest of the lyrics allude to the fact that he is "giving it all he's got" not to sin or how "it ends up happening" and "that's just how it is." 

His good news: try to be a good person, it's okay if you fail, and don't allow yourself to be defined by your decisions. This Christian life is try and fail and it's up to you. Good luck trying! 

Okay great.

This is what God's word says:

"For the wages of sin is death but the FREE gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:23 // The Gospel cost God His son, but it costs us nothing. We don't have to try to earn His love. We just have to say "yes" to Him. 

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 // All we have to do is believe.

"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 // We did nothing to earn our salvation. It was a gift from our Heavenly Father.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 // When we accept Christ, we become new. We get a new story. 

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing... As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. " John 15:4-5, 9 // We can do nothing on our own. Dependence on Christ is key in the Christian life. His guidance is so important in the big and small decisions. 

So that's a lot of scripture. But I think it gets the point across as to why what Bieber's song says is wrong. Because of who Christ is, we don't have to worry about the mistakes that we make or the ones that we might make in our future.

If you get nothing else out of this blog, hear this:

Christ is all we need.

It's not up to us.

And from the moment we believe in Christ, we are new and He lives in us. 

Don't get wrapped up in the potential of mistakes or the pressure to do what it right. Rely on God and allow Him to change your heart and change your life. He loves you. always. no matter what. And my prayer for you as I write this is that you'll allow that truth to change the way you live. The Christian life is one full of love. And if it's not already yours, it can be.

Here's to the One that conquered the grave.

-Ashton, saved by grace & fueled by coffee & secret JBiebs fan