Kanye West has been in the news lately — not for yet another rant, but for his newly professed faith in Christ. He sure caught the world off-guard, but public opinion is still divided about him — even among believers. As Christians, should we believe what sounds too good to be true or be suspicious? Are we too naive if we do accept him as a brother, or too cynical to believe in God’s saving power if we don’t?
Everything that hath breath praise the Lord
Worship Christ with the best of your portions
I know I won’t forget all He’s done
He’s the strength in this race that I run
Every time I look up, I see God’s faithfulness
And it shows just how much He is miraculous
I can’t keep it to myself, I can’t sit here and be still
Everybody, I will tell ’til the whole world is healed
King of Kings, Lord of Lords, all the things He has in store
From the rich to the poor, all are welcome through the door
You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’ name
Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane
(Excerpt from the song ‘God Is’ from Kanye West’s album ‘Jesus is King’)
You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the new album release by Kanye West provocatively titled Jesus is King. With such an overt title and even more overt lyrics, it’s easy to see why many Christians are getting so excited to see a major pop star profess Christ and shine a light on the Gospel. But before I answer your question, I’d like to offer some brief thoughts on how Scripture defines a true convert and what our attitude should be towards such converts.
Jesus spoke about the Gospel being the Good News that the kingdom of God has arrived on earth and that this arrival demanded the appropriate response of repentance (Mark 1:15). That reign of Christ is exhibited by a life that has changed its aims and no longer lives for ourselves but for Christ the King.
Jesus did not just preach this Good News; He proclaimed clearly that He was not just a prophet but the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah, the One who is in perfect union with the Father; the King of kings; the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus knew that His life was going to be victorious, but not in the way His disciples or the world understood. He unashamedly declared that He would give Himself up to suffer and die at the hands of the Romans, but that He would rise victorious over death in three days (Matthew 16:21-23).
So, what does that mean for a person who wants to follow Jesus? It means we are called to live a life completely transformed by God’s truth — a life lived by carrying our crosses, as we march to our deaths (Luke 9:23) in front of a watching world, and die every day to the values of the world, while living in the new life of self-sacrifice, and obedience to God and His Word.
What does the Gospel mean for a person who wants to follow Jesus? It means we are called to live a life completely transformed by God’s truth
While the world may think we have lost our marbles, in reality, we have actually gained it, because we have now come into a right relationship with the Author of Truth, when once our lives were lived running away from God. Our lives finally make sense because our understanding of God is in sync with both Himself and His creation. We have finally become truly “sane”, as Kanye puts it.
As we start walking with God, God gives us greater grace to obey His commands and ways (Romans 6:17) more fully. It’s a long process for us to become more conformed to His image over the years, but one assurance we have is that it will end well because it is God who has started it (Philippians 1:6).
Keeping this in mind, how should we think about this whole phenomenon of ‘Christian Kanye’? I think there are a few basic truths/convictions we need to hold to.
Let us call what we see as it is, so that we are always on the side of truth, and let God do what He does with his people. Pray for Kanye that he stays faithful to his confession of faith, because it’s easy to get enamoured with all this for a quick buzz. Not just Kanye, but also you and I need to stay focused heaven-wards because, ultimately, each one of us will give an account of our lives and, on that day, it won’t matter if Kanye was a believer or not, if you or I never were (Luke 13:5).
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