Let me just start by saying that Dua Lipa’s New Rules has an incredible drop. It sounds like a caravan of camels doing the Macarena across the Northern Sahara: Exhilarating. And I’m not the only one who thinks so: To date, the song has almost 785 million streams on Spotify alone. I account for probably 100 of them. However, after my initial infatuation with the freshness of the beat, my pesky conscience started to question what the song was saying.
As I examined the lyrics, willing them to be “not that bad”, I found myself discovering a profound angle on them: These “new rules”, masked in heartbreak and hookup rhetoric, proclaimed truth about sin and discernment. Here is how I read the Chorus:
“1.) Don’t Pick up the phone – you know he’s only calling cause he’s drunk and alone.”
Let’s make the antecedent of “he” the Enemy, who consists of three parts: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world calls to entice us with riches, pomp, status and pride. The flesh calls out to our carnal desires and invites us to indulge. The devil calls with words of anxiety, fear and gloom.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a trusted expert on spiritual discernment, taught that a person who experiences internal movements towards darkness, gloom and earthly things ought not do or change anything suggested by those movements. In other words, if it’s not God, don’t pick up the phone.
“2.) Don’t Let him in: You’ll have to kick him out again.”
It’s one thing to listen to a salesperson at the door of your house. It is another thing to invite her in for coffee. In the same way, though it is discouraging to listen to the whining of the enemy, we never want to give up and allow his lies to take up residence in our hearts and minds. Though the lie may whisper at us all day, we want to keep disagreeing with it!
In addition, most of us have had the experience of battling against a sin, bad habit or relationship – Its hard work! It can take years to rid yourself of these lies or vices. Here, there is wisdom in remembering the lengths we have gone to overcome sin in the past. This memory can motivate us to keep listening to the encouraging spirit of God, not the nagging spirit of the enemy – If only for the fear of having to “kick” the lie out again!
“3.) Don’t be his friend. You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning”
For some, this might be an encouragement for actual “friends” in your life: sometimes we just need to cut toxic relationships off. However, I would guess that is not the case for most people who have gotten this far into this article. Instead, we may struggle with making “friends” with our sin: “I’m not going to gossip really, I’m just going to give a little juicy information” or “This isn’t a lust-fest, I’m just scrolling a bit on this supermodel’s IG page…” We have a warm feeling around these things. We like them. They like us. We are friends. But there is a problem: these are dangerous friends that can ruin our lives. Lets un-friend these slippery slopes. A prayer I have found freeing is “(insert sin), you are no friend of mine!” Amen.
Thanks for the encouragement, Dua Lipa! I think I’ll keep listening to that song.
-Abraham Gross, SPO Staff