This is an introduction to the devotional series called The Ultimate Rockstar: Parallels Between the Life and Times of Jesus Christ and the Life of A Music Entertainer. For further explanation, go here
“In him was life and his life was the light of all mankind.” John 1:4
I can’t imagine kicking off this series without starting at the core message of what this blog is intended to do: to help followers of Christ to not only let their light shine within the music industry but to recognize exactly what that means and to be cautious of what can dim it. After all, Jesus was certain about his purpose as the light of the world. You should be certain about your purpose too.
Years ago, I was watching Jamar Jones, Executive Director of Music and Fine Arts at T.D. Jakes Ministries (and downright organist BEAST), on TBN. Jamar has worked with artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Jamie Foxx, Jill Scott and many many more. When asked about his experiences within the music industry, he shared about how he had situations where he didn’t mention his faith at all. Yet because of the way he lived his life, handled business and treated others, people either recognized that he was a follower of Christ or noticed that there was something favorably different about him.
He said “When someone turns the lights on, the lights don’t start shouting ‘I’m a light! I’m a light!’ They are just there doing what they are supposed to do. Lighting up the place.”
I think all of us would do well to periodically run what I call a “light check” to make sure that we are operating as the lights that we are supposed to be. A good way to do that is to look at what light does. Let’s take a look at how Jesus handled being a light like a true rockstar.
1. Light leads the way out of darkness
John 8:12 “Who will follow me will not walk in darkness”.
No one when lost in a dark cave says “It looks darker over there. That must be the way out.” They always look for even the slightest glimmer of light to get them out of a dark place. Jesus assured people that if they followed him, the Light of the world, that he would bring them to what brings eternal life.
When it comes to your art, when it comes to how you use your platform, are you leading people to or out of darkness? Because if we look at how Christ handled his platform, it was all about the greater good; leading people to the truth, pointing them to the things of God like love, joy, kindness, peace (). When you look at what you are creating, what is it pointing to? What are your actions, publicly and privately (because someone is always watching), pointing to be it in interviews or social media? If we believe what we say we believe and we love and follow who we claim to love and follow then it should never be truthfully said of any believer that they or their message led people to a path of darkness and spiritual death.
*Note: I want to be clear about something in terms of music and songwriting: in no way am I saying to not write songs about heartache, hardship, and the downside of reality. Those songs often help people when they can’t find the words themselves to express how they are feeling. What I am saying is that there’s a difference between expressing these situations through art versus promoting and glorifying negative behavior. I hope that’s clear. If not, holler at me.
2. Light exposes what’s wrong
Let’s be clear: light isn’t always welcome. Think about when someone flips the light switch on while you are in a deep sleep. Light can be a bummer and to some people Jesus was that bummer.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-21.
Listen, you can be minding your own business just living your life the best way you can and people may not like you. Why? Because in you is the light. Because there are things that you just won’t do because of your light and to some people that is intimidating. It’s a buzz kill! For some people, they feel like you are judging them although you’ve never been unkind or mentioned anything about they way that they live. This is a type of persecution that Christ warned us about. Like he told his disciples in John 15:18 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. It doesn’t feel good but it happens. However be encouraged because Jesus also told the disciples in Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
3. Lights Enhances
I love what Pastor Steve Adler had to say about light in his piece “Purpose Driven Light”:
Light’s purposes are so obvious that we enjoy them everyday without even noticing or acknowledging the light, itself…and that’s Jesus’s point. Our purpose is not to draw attention to ourselves, but to enhance and improve the situations we find ourselves in.
During an internship I had, I remember having experiences with two different artists who were both professed Christians: When word got out that one of them was in the office, I knew it was going to be a good day. He just brought joy wherever he went. Moods were lifted and everyone was happy. However there was another entertainer that whenever I saw his car parked outside… let’s just say I had to brace myself. He could be so nasty at times and really difficult to deal with. The mood of the office would just be so tense. I’m not saying this artist didn’t love Jesus. I’ll just say that at times their light was pretty dim.
Both of these artists were believers who affected their atmosphere very differently. Let me ask you this: When news gets around that you are showing up be it for a gig or an interview, are you aware of the reaction of those expecting you? Are they happy to know that you are coming because the atmosphere will be lit up or are they tiptoeing around you like people do in the dark? If you don’t know the answer to this, ask someone you trust and be ready to make changes if necessary.
The only way to keep your light shining bright is to constantly be plugged into the light source which is Jesus Christ. Pray daily for him to show you how to bring light to every situation, wherever you go and in whatever you do. Study the bible and seek what it says about how to live. Pray for God to show instances where you have been a light without you even realizing it. You may be very surprised. The light of Christ within us is sufficient. It is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). It’s up to us not to dim it.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16