Everywhere I turn people are talking about Kanye West's new album, "Jesus Is King". The next statement usually has to do if he is "for real" or not. I heard someone say this week that "the proof is in the puddin'. For many of us it is hard to believe that one of the biggest pop culture personalities is rapping for God. Aren't I glad that millions haven't seen what all I have done?!
Kanye was described in one article as a secular god with millions of followers. In the last six years life has changed for West. He had some successes but also debt, mental illness and hospitalization. Maybe these hard times helped him look up. Mistakes and failures do teach us to avoid those same pitfalls again. God knows when we are genuinely seeking holiness. He sees real faith and the beginning of spiritual freedom. One of Kanye's new songs says, "You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’s name / Listen to the words I’m sayin’ / Jesus saved me / Now I’m sane," While speaking of his renewed faith, he said, "the only superstar is Jesus. Jesus has won the victory. I told you about my arrogance and cockiness already. Now the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for him." And people want to know if we should believe him. West's response to that is, "The same thing that people are using to say, 'We don't know if he's sincere' is what God is using to be able to save more. That you can see how low I've sunk and how in service to the devil my talents had become."
Does Kanye need to prove his devotion to Christ any more than he already has? Are we waiting for "time to tell" about his professions? Are we waiting for "time to tell" about ours? Does time validate the legitimacy of our conversions? Zacchaeus was a man who cared much about his wealth, and little about the well being of others. When Jesus invited him down, Zacchaeus welcomed him. 2 Corinthians 5: 17, "If anyone believes in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” Zaccheaus’ old deceptive ways were gone and a new righteous man in Christ had been born!
I know I have done many things to make someone doubt my Christianity. Maybe not on an album or in front of thousands but we have all fallen short. But when we judge others we misrepresent the grace we have received. If someone has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord we should accept them and love them as our Christian family. God knows their heart. If you look around at church you do not see all holy, spiritual and wise people. There are people there who use bad language, have anger issues, are negative, drink heavily, are selfish, etc. That is because we are all human and all face temptations, weaknesses and flaws.
Paul wrote in his letter to believers of Phillipi, that it's God who improves their desires and actions. Philippians 2: 13, "...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." He also pointed out that his own actions weren't perfect but he still desired to be like Jesus. Philippians 3: 13-14, " Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." I am sure those who knew Saul would not believe that Paul wrote most of the New Testament! There are no perfect Christians this side of Heaven.
According to Scripture I think Kanye has said enough. Romans 10: 9-13, "…If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For 'whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved'"
Matthew 10: 32, "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven." Kanye's song, "Jesus Is Lord" states, "every knee shall bow, Every tongue confess. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord." 1 Corinthians 12: 3, "Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed,' and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit." Kanye did a surprise concert for hundreds of inmates in Houston and told them, "This is a mission, not a show."
Kanye is going to need the same patience, compassion and love that we all need. Instead of judging him and others maybe we can rejoice with the Angels that a sinner has repented. Unfortunately, there seems to be an alarming trend that droves of young people are leaving the church don't plan to return. I may not care for Kanye's album but wouldn't it be wonderful if it could reach millions of young people? God can do anything! Matthew 19: 26, "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Do you proclaim Jesus is King?