The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It has been for quite some time. That may sound kind of strange and almost shallow coming from someone like me, because if you know me you would probably think my favorite holiday would be one that has a very large Christian significance to it, such as Easter or Christmas, but truth be told the 4th of July is my all time favorite. I think it is because it takes place right in the middle of summer and because I have grown up in Cleveland, OH and summer is really are only time of the year to enjoy the outdoor weather on a consistent basis. It also is a time of year for cookouts and community parades and picnics, which bring communities together. There is also generally a baseball game to attend, and what would the 4th of July be without fireworks!
That is probably why I initially was drawn to the song I will be putting under the microscope today, “Firework’ by Katy Perry. Now, as many may know, Katy Perry’s real name is Katy Hudson and she in fact did release one album under that name in 2001, on a Christian label. Yes, Miss Perry was raised in a Christian home and grew up singing songs in her church in California. However, she no longer considers herself a Believer and many songs certainly seem to reflect that (“Last Friday Night” is one blatant example!). However, “Firework” has several messages that in my view are important to us as Christians.
Let us begin by looking at the first stanza:
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin like a house of cards
One blow from caving in?”
So often in life, we feel fragile and somewhat aimless, not sure what God is trying to do, whether it be with our careers or a relationship or any number of different things. David felt this way to, as he often cried out to the Lord many times in the Psalms. One example is Psalm 88:3-4 that says: “For my soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength” (ESV)
It is not wrong to feel this way, and it is completely okay to bring God into the uncertainty and fears that we all have from time to time. However, scripture is full of encouragement in these areas as well, as we will see here soon. But now back to the song lyrics:
“Do you ever feel already buried deep six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you?
'Cause there's a spark in you
You just gotta ignite
The light and let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July”
I love that line where Perry states, “there’s still a chance for you/Cause there’s a spark in you.” I believe as Christians, God desires to communicate that to us. In Joshua 1:5 God promises the nation of Israel that he will never leave or forsake them. The author of Hebrews re-iterates this fact in Hebrews 13:5 adding a quote from Psalm 118:6 where David states: “The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
God also sees the potential (or the ‘spark’) in us and rejoices ‘over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exalt over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV). He plants desires and dreams within us and will not abandon us when we are walking them out! We also bring the Lord joy when we honor him and follow those dreams and desires that He gives us.
Thus the chorus of the song fits right in with God desiring for us to use the gifts he has given us to work toward fulfilling our dreams:
“Cause, baby, you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make em go oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky
Baby, you're a firework
Come on; let your colors burst
Make em go oh, oh, oh
You're gonna leave em fallin down oh oh”
Particularly the line about letting ‘your colors burst’ stands out to me here. God has saved us for a purpose and we each have different gifts to accomplish the purpose of bringing His hope to a world that so desperately needs it! However, Paul tells us that we all have different gifts that when we work together as a Church body brings about the work of the Lord in the world (1 Corinthians 12). Thus these different gifts could almost because ‘colors’ in a sense that are all unique and beautiful in there individual ways, but ultimately truly form a masterpiece when they are all used collectively in a piece of art, in this sense the art of bringing about transformation in the lives of the people and places around us!
One other part of the song that is important to highlight is the third verse were Perry sings:
“Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to a perfect road”
Friends we don’t see the completed picture of our lives the way God does, so we are often going to have unanswered questions about why God did or did not allow certain things to happen, however, sometimes in time we can see that the reason one door was closed in our life is in fact so He could guide us to the right path that is part of His big plan for our life! Psalm 16:7 says “I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.” (NLT). You see, God does guide us, and if we are willing to submit to Him and trust that He knows what is best for us, he will lead us to the right path for what we should do or go next!
Therefore, it is important to have the confidence that by spending time in prayer on a regular basis seeking God, He will reveal to our hearts what we are to do. Then we need to take action and do it, which will lead to us bringing glory to Him. As Paul wrote at the conclusion of his first letter to the church of Corinth, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain”(1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV). Thus, when the Enemy tries to make us believe we are worthless and that our work is in vain, we can have the confidence to use our gifts from God anyway, and ‘let our colors burst’ so the world may see Christ in us!