Lately, whenever I open up Instagram, I feel as if I have been transported to the National Stadium.

Story after story of flashing lights fill my feed as I patiently wait for my turn to be the one jumping up and down whilst belting out last-minute memorised lyrics. 

ENHYPHEN, Coldplay, SHINee, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift… the line-up of stars who will be shining at the Stadium is absolutely packed for the first half of 2024. The concert dry spell due to COVID-19 also only intensified the anticipation and excitement for many long-awaited tours.

Honestly, I haven’t been spared from the concert hype – I’m one of those who scrambled to Chinatown to buy beads to make friendship bracelets to trade at Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

Yet in the middle of all this hubbub, I felt God prompting me with one question – how far is too far?

MVs, merchandise and meetups

Concerts are not a new thing. But they do certainly feel like a fresh, riveting experience each time you go for one. Queues snake for hours before a concert even starts, and for standing pens – it is a furious race to get up close to the performing artistes.

The merchandise is also a quintessential part when it comes to supporting one’s favourite artiste. Adorning a signature shirt or having a one of a kind album is part of the whole experience. Money is thrown away at merch booths without a second thought.

More than that, it is also common to hear of fans having “shrines” in their rooms dedicated to their beloved K-Pop groups. These shrines are a collection of merchandise like photo cards, albums or anything that might have their idols’ faces on it.

But the craze does not just stop there. Fans are willing to wait for hours to catch a glimpse of their idol arriving at the airport, showering them with gifts and cards. I even know Swifties who are going to attend all six of her concerts in Singapore! 

When I think about this level of obsession, I’m reminded of the song “Stan”, by American rapper Eminem. The song, and its music video, are about an obsessive fan who writes creepy letters to Eminem and its consequences.

As concert fever heats up, it’s time to check ourselves: are we becoming obsessed with our favourite artistes? 

The danger of idolatry

To answer this question, we have to look inwards and exercise wisdom and discernment. While going to a concert is not wrong, there is a fine line between what glorifies and does not glorify God. 

The Bible is clear about the dangers of idolatry and warns us to flee from it. God detests idolatry, and commanded His people to have no other gods before the one true God.

Idolatry is dangerous because it so easily consumes us.

We are giving ourselves away emotionally, mentally and even physically when we spend time fixating on the latest song or when we (literally) chase after idols. Our best efforts should be for God.

Idolatry is also a veil. It shrouds our vision with the things of the world, causing us to fail to see who should take centrestage in our lives. It makes us believe that securing a ticket to that concert, chasing the hype, will satisfy us. But that is not true. It never is.

Idolatry is whatever that takes us away from the highest and ultimate good – God.

Our chief end

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Time and time again, we must go back to this fundamental principle in our lives: whatever we do should be done to the glory of God.

In the verse, “whatever you do” is non-exhaustive. It includes anything and everything – including concerts and artistes.

And so, we need to be careful about the content we consume.

Consider songs like Karma by Taylor Swift, with lyrics like “karma is a god” – would singing along to such tracks be pleasing to the Lord?

We have to be honest with ourselves about how our passions glorify the Lord.

True joy

Personally, I have begun to discover and understand that true joy comes from Jesus alone. I am finding joy in even the small things, like listening to hymns while on the way to work. 

No amount of money spent on the best category tickets can ever live up to what we experience when we are walking close with God.

While I may experience temporary happiness during a concert, how much of that feeling matters when placed in the context of eternity? The answer is, not that much. 

We have to be honest with ourselves about how our passions glorify the Lord.

I am praying that I can continue to cultivate this love for God, remembering that He is my first love. 

Whether we’re struggling with idolatry or not, let’s come back to the cross whenever we find ourselves unsure of where our priorities lie.

When Jesus becomes our true source of joy and satisfaction, we’ll see that nothing can ever replace Him.

Think + Talk