Photo by Samuel Zeller
Pop songstress Dua Lipa has just been named the most-streamed woman of 2017 in the UK. She is only 22, but her song New Rules has had 975 million views – and by the time you read this it’ll be higher.
In the video, an army of pastel-gowned women (below) chant en masse the New Rules of breaking up: (1) don’t pick up the phone, (2) don’t let him in, and (3) don’t be his friend.
The song empowers young women to take control of their lives, especially after having broken up with some not-so-nice guy. In doing so, Dua Lipa has hit upon the great paradox of Western individualism.
In a world that tells us we are free to do whatever we want, Dua Lipa’s New Rules shows us there is more freedom in not doing what we want.
The New Rules is a list of don’ts rather than dos. Don’t pick up the phone. Don’t let him in. Don’t be his friend.
New Rules is a modern retelling of Epictetus, the Stoic Greek philosopher, who said: “Freedom is secured not by fulfilling of one’s desires but by the removal of desire… No man is free who is not master of himself.”
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According to New Rules, there is more freedom in not doing than in doing. The suppression of desire rather than the satisfying of desire.
But Jesus offers us an even better solution. How about simply desiring the right person rather than the wrong person? This way, we can have freedom and the satisfying of desire.
“How about simply desiring the right person rather than the wrong person?”
This is why Jesus calls himself Living Water—he will satisfy our thirst. Jesus calls himself Living Bread—he will satisfy our hunger. And Jesus calls himself Lover—he will satisfy our need for love, belonging, and respect.
Jesus gives us not just a set of New Rules, but also a New Covenant. (1) Do humble ourselves and go to him, (2) Do let him in, and (3) Do be his friend.
If we do this we will find both freedom and fulfilled desire.
Article supplied with thanks to Sam Chan at Espresso Theology. Sam is a theologian, preacher, author, evangelist, ethicist, cultural analyst and medical doctor.