How does a sweet, “Christian” girl from “good” family pull an Anakin Skywalker?
The answers were always there.
For years, Miley has been teaching us exactly how to fail God.
Let’s take a look at one of the chapters from her “book” entitled How to Fail God.
“Party in the U.S.A.” came out on Miley’s “The Time of Our Lives” album back in 2009. Though people were mostly concerned by her potentially risque “pole dance,” the real dangers were entrenched in every line of her song.
Do you want to fail God? Just follow these 5 simple steps:
Chase After Your Dreams
“I hopped off the plane at L.A.X.
With a dream and my cardigan.”
I’m not here to stomp on anyone’s dreams or say that a dream that includes singing in California is wicked. But I do want to make two observations.
1. Considering that most people can’t name even three professional, secular performers who started as children and whose careers glorify God, it amazes me that everyone’s surprised when a sweet, impressionable child get’s perverted by the world’s pre-pagan culture. Duh.
2. Here’s one simple grid through which to push all your dreams: Will God be pleased by every facet of my dream? Are there things I’ll have to do, places I’ll have to go, or things I’ll have to say that will sin against Him? Will my dream put me in a place where I’ll forget Him? Miley wants to be famous. She wants to be popular in the world’s eyes. You cannot be that and glorify God . . . ever.
“Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.” Ecclesiastes 11:9
Care too much about what People Think
“Welcome to the land of fame excess (whoa),
Am I gonna fit in?”
“Get to the club in my taxi cab
Everybody’s looking at me now
Like, ‘Who’s that chick that’s rockin’ kicks?
She gotta be from out of town.'”
The first way to fail God is to idolize my own dreams above His. The second way is to care more about what other people think than what He thinks. This is, of course, ironic because if my dreams are more important than the God of the universe, why do I care so much about what puny mortals think? Thankfully no one ever said failing God had to make sense.
When we fear men over God, we invite destruction into our lives.
“The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” Proverbs 29:2
Value Your Friends Over Your Parents
“So hard with my girls not around me
It’s definitely not a Nashville party.”
Having friends is great, but when my friends mean more to me than my parents I am likely surrounding myself with the wrong advisers. Too many young people have terrible relationships with mom and dad. But all of us need to accept that if there were a set of parents better for us than the ones we have, God would have given us to them.
Kids spend too much time running away from their God-given authority. But if a set of parents loves God and loves their children, that child would be a fool to seek counsel and guidance from their friends before running to mom and dad.
“King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?” . . . But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.” I Kings 12:6-8
“Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him [h]to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.” I Kings 12:18-19
Handle Anxiety the Wrong Way
Drown in Emotion
“So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song,
The butterflies fly away
I’m noddin’ my head like yeah
Movin’ my hips like yeah
I got my hands up,
They’re playin’ my song
I know I’m gonna be OK
Yeah, it’s a party in the USA.”
“Feel like hoppin’ on a flight
Back to my hometown tonight.
Something stops me every time;
The DJ plays my song and I feel alright.”
We’re emotional beings. This is a gift from God when we understand and respond to our emotions in a Christ-honoring way. But when we idolize our feelings by putting their importance over God-ordained sources of peace and encouragement, we’re destined to failure.
“My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda home sick
Too much pressure and I’m nervous,
That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio
And a Jay-Z song was on.”
When we idolize our emotions, it’s easy to turn to those mediums that will give us a superficial jolt of fun-feeling. It’s easy to drown our sadness in adrenaline, our guilt in sensuality, and our fear in fun, but those are not God’s ways of responding to life’s difficulties.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (Click here to learn more about Biblical Peace.)
Idolize the Wrong People
So, Miley’s chasing a dream that doesn’t glorify God, cares too much what people think about her, seemingly ignores mom and dad, and handles her anxiety by turning to emotion-drenched placebos . . . orchestrated by Jay-Z and Brittany Spears?
Do we see the problem here?
These individuals have bad credit at the bank of Good Advice and she turns to them before eternal truth?
They both have practically ruined their personal and professional lives and she wants to follow their guidance?
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
Some of you may be tempted to jump on me for “making a big deal out of a little thing,” or say “It’s just a song,” but I want to draw you to one more very important verse.
“The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Matthew 12:34
This concept has been a foundation stone of my ministry to families. The words of our mouths reveal and betray our deepest beliefs. There’re no slips or accidents when it comes to our speech. Miley likely didn’t write all of these words, but she sang them, and communicated them to millions of people as a worldview worth living by.
Through this song (and others) she told the world what she thought about life and God.
And somehow we were all surprised when she failed the God she claimed to love.