When my coworker sent me a message in all caps and three exclamation points asking if I’d listened to Demi’s new album, I did not anticipate that three days later, I’d write back, “I can’t stop listening to it,” with six exclamation points. But since pop is my favorite genre, I shouldn’t have been surprised Demi Lovato’s album earned a spot on my favorite playlists.

I was surprised, however, that her secular music hit me on a deeply spiritual level.

Never had I imagined the pop star I first saw on Disney Channel’s Sonny with a Chance would write an album some ten odd years later that expresses my struggles with sin, or actions that hurt and displease God. It’s hard to obey God’s commands to love him and love others when the alternative looks more fun, more pleasurable, or gives me quicker gratification. In her album, Demi vocalizes this struggle as she recounts some of her own decisions and their steep consequences.

Are you skeptical? I was, too, but God speaks to us in many different ways. So even if Demi’s Dancing with the Devil doesn’t make it to your permanent playlist, perhaps it will also give you a new perspective on how God restores through his grace what’s been broken by our mistakes.


1. “Dancing with the Devil” — The Pattern of Sin

The song that named the album, “Dancing with the Devil” threw me off by its title. Since most songs about dancing invoke positive emotions, I assumed the song would glorify doing devilish things. But Demi surprised me by describing temptation and the consequences of her choices from the viewpoint of wanting to escape her dance with the devil

Each verse starts with the temptation of alcohol and reassuring herself she’ll be okay. Soon, it spirals into her being unable to say no to the temptation. It’s not until the chorus and the bridge that she realizes the addictive nature of her substance abuse and asks for forgiveness.

Reflecting on my own battle with temptation, I found a lot of parallels. My sin always starts with something small, a little compromise of biblical truth to justify my actions, or a promise to myself that I won’t do it again. Eventually, I find myself trapped in a pattern where I can’t stop doing what hurts God, others, and myself, even when I see the negative consequences of it in my life. 

At the song’s conclusion, Demi talks about turning to the Lord and asking for forgiveness. For me, overcoming sin’s power in my life means doing the same—confessing, asking for forgiveness, and surrendering my failures to Christ. Scripture tells us that no matter the stronghold sin has on us, Jesus Christ can free us from its power.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7-9).


2. “Ok Not to Be Ok” — The Desire to Hide Sin

Discouragement, disappointment, defeat. In “Ok Not To Be OK,” Demi describes these feelings and the stigma that makes us want to hide them. But by declaring that these types of feelings are both valid and OK, she encourages us to stop lying about what we’re feeling and what we’re going through. 

In church and Bible study, I often feel like I have to wear a “mask” that says I have my life all together, including a perfect relationship with God. But the reality is sometimes I’m struggling.

Still, when I want to share my true struggles, feelings of shame creep in. Because I’m a Christian, my struggle with sin should be over, right?

Wrong. This song prompted me to take down my mask and not let shame keep me from being honest with other Christians in my community.  Fellowship with other believers is what sustains us and encourages us during hard times. But by not sharing my problems and burdens, I was missing out on forming strong bonds with other Christians who wanted to support me. 

The shame we feel is not from God, for Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Instead of hiding what I’m struggling with, I want to be like Paul and, “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9b).” Because if we can’t admit our imperfections or limitations, then neither can we receive the restoring power of God’s love.


3. “California Sober” — The Struggle of Sin

What I love most about this third song is how it describes the ongoing nature of healing. I wish once I decided to follow Jesus, I never disobeyed God or hurt other people again, including myself. But the truth is, we’re all going to struggle with sin all our lives.

However, when we slip up, we should not be discouraged because God doesn’t demand perfection from us. But as we grow closer to God, we will grow more secure in him and become a little more like Christ. We will stand firm in our faith and freedom.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NIV)


4. “Good Place” — The Redemptive Power of God’s Grace

“Good Place” wraps up the album’s theme perfectly. The verses recount Demi’s trials and tribulations, and the chorus is her declaration that after everything she’s been through, she’s finally in a good place. 

Where is your good place?

My “good place” is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s where I don’t have to hide the wrong things I’ve done or feel shame because of my past failures and imperfections. It’s where Jesus walks step by step alongside me and helps me win the battle against sin with every choice I make. 

Even though we will mess up from time to time, because of God’s grace—his unmerited favor— we can still be in continual relationship with him. Because of his grace through Jesus, our failures have been erased. Forgotten. Forgiven. This is the good place he calls us to. 


While you won’t find Demi Lovato’s latest album in the Christian pop section, I’ve found God’s redemptive story hidden in it.

Demi might not have put it there purposefully, but she’s given me a new lens with which to view my relationship with God. 

The only way I can master starting over and letting go of sin is through God’s grace. Thanks, Demi, for the reminder.