Purpose - Justin Bieber
Ah Justin Bieber, our favorite twelvish year old boy who sings about "love"... Thats how I knew him anyways. He has a rowdy past, but now he lives another life. He fought his drug addiction, he stopped fighting, he got married, he sings classic church songs during his concerts, and he can't stop telling everyone that Jesus is his saviour. He still has his struggles, but so do we all. Clearly he's giving it his best try, good job bro, proud of you.
"Justin's life"... ha, like I know anything about him. Justin lives in a worldly world, he probably has a contract with his record label that expects him to make popular music. I can imagine this record label was initially anxious about a posible disconnect between a lot of Justins long time fans, and Justin's newly found believes. The probability that instantly going full Jesus-culture would aliënatie a lot of fans was something to be considered. Justin would have to balance this out in his topics and lyrics. I feel he's managing this balance of old and new quite well. Most likely he made a conscious decision to advance his career as a pop singer, and while doing so, he plugs the Gospel at every opportunity he gets. The amount of people that hear him talking about Jesus is significant to say the least. Shine that light!
Yea he did that Yummy song... its genius. There, I said it. Other songs clearly got more serious, with topics related to life, death, suicide, life's purpose, love, hope.
To me his song "Purpose" stood out, more specifically the Music Video. Go see it here on youtube. In case it wasn't obvious, he's singing to God. In the song Justins tells about his depression, how he felt suicidal, and how his last way out was surrendering all he had over to God. God saved his life, but not only that, Justin's life got enriched with meaning and purpose.
Life crippling depression is relatable to lots of young people, and hearing that God is there with a way out is completely new for most of them. These songs are bridges. They ease Justin's existing fans into this new thing he is in, without immediately scaring them away.
Clothes make the man
The video uses clothing as a key means to visualise the identites of the actors. In movies or plays, actors always have costumes that gives the viewer a solid impression of who they are supposed to be. The idea of clothing being symbolic to parts of someones identity is also found in the bible, a few examples;
Genesis 37:3 - Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him
Joseph is his dad's favorite son. He recieves a classy colorfull coat, representing sonship, and being loved.
Luke 15:22 - But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet
A long lost son returns home, he recieves new clothes because the father wants the son to know he is welcome and worthy. So also representing sonship, and being loved.
John 19:23 - Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Jesus wore a seamless tunic which was typically worn by the High Priest. The seamless tunic represents Jesus' indivisible Kingdom. This is contrast to Solomon’s kingdom that got torn in twelve pieces, an event that was symbolized by a tearing a garment (1 Kings 11:29-32).
When you have a certain proffesion, or status, you usually wear an outfit to represent that. A police officer wears a uniform, and a king wears a crown. It works in two directions; you wear because you are, but sometimes also; you are because you wear. Clothing has meaning, its why you dress up for that job interview.
The "Purpose" Video
The video starts of with Justin, he wears a full jeans outfit. Its not really clean or new-looking, his pants are ripped. His outfit represents him being part of the world, spiritually unfullfilled. His facial expression is somewhat down and worrisome.
The girls are pretty, but their burlap clothing show that they too are spiritually empty. The Girls represent the temptations, the sins even, of the world. They do their best to seduce Justin, but its clear that Justin is no longer interested. Justin feels empty, he already tried all the things the world has to offer, and he learned the hard way that they will never fullfil or give purpose. What a pickle; the world he is a part of isn't doing it for him anymore, what to do?
The world offers him even more girls, they cling to him, surely that's what he needs? They try to keep Justin occupied and distracted, away from God.
A life changing decision
Then something really strange happens; the temptations of the world stagger away from him at the exact moment Justin takes off his jacket! The jacket represents belonging to the world, and he is taking it off. Justins bright white shirt is now the primairy element of his appearance. What does that even mean?
Revelation 3:4 - But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
Revelation 3:5 - He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Revelation 7:9 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.
The Bible teaches that white unsoiled clothing represent being holy ("holy" means: without sin, clean, set apart), being saved, belonging to God, being righteous before God.
In the same aforementioned story of the prodigal son we can learn how, we too, can recieve new (spiritual) white clothing. In the story, the son left his father by going into the world. When the world got him dirty, down and broken, the son decides to humbly return to his father to beg for forgiveness. When the son is almost home the father allready was on the look-out for him. The father runs towards his son and welcomes him with the best hug. The father gives the son new clothes, shoes, and a ring.
At the moment Justin took off his jacket, he said 'no' to the world, and said 'yes' to God. Justin decided to lay his heart into Gods hands. God, just like the father of the prodigal son, didn't wait a single second to dress Justin with white clean clothes. Welcome home.
In the end of the video all the temptations of the world are gone, Justin is having a intimate moment alone with God. He throws his jacket on the ground and he covers it with dirt. Because thats what you do with things that died, you bury it. His old life truely is dead, real life just began.
Luke 15:32 - But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.