With all the notoriety and public acclaim, I am praying for the salvation of Kanye West.
It is big news in the secular and Christian worlds, that Kanye West has made a big, bold profession of faith in Christ. Not only that, but he has memorialized his commitment in a musical testament that many are calling life-changing. At the same time, he has started to tour the country as the premier worship leader, hosting concert-like stadium events for Jesus!
So, with all this, why would I pray for Mr. West’s salvation? It seems he’s in! He made a profession of faith, right? Maybe.
The other day I was listening to a couple of radio talk-show hosts discuss him and his new album (Do they still call them albums?). Any-who, one asked the other, “how long do you think this will last?” They weren’t joking. I wondered the same thing.
I’m not a skeptic, I’m actually concerned for my new brother in faith. I remember stories like this. Instead of Kanye West, they had the names Bob Dylan and B.J. Thomas attached. And then, we can add to that all the names of the celebrities who name-drop Jesus and for whom it seems discipleship or life transformation is unknown. The Christian world likes to cling to these conversions as wins for the faith. I’d like to encourage us to step off the bandwagons and actually pray for the salvation of people on these big, dangerous stages.
If Kanye made a profession of faith, why would I pray for his salvation? Salvation doesn’t simply mean having one’s sins forgiven. It means finding complete deliverance, every day, from the sin that encumbers us and from the enemy that wants to devour us. I don’t know Kanye, but I do know some things he needs to be saved from.
- I pray he will be saved from celebrity pastors who want to hitch their wagon to his horse. He is a big name. When you get him, you get crowds. The celebrity culture uses other celebrities to build their brand or enlarge their platform. All performers do this. The problem is pastors shouldn’t be driven by the same things performers are. I’d hate to see Kanye being used as the draw, without people really caring for his spiritual development.
- I pray he will be saved from political handlers who will try to use his faith to promote their agendas. There are always those who will try to co-opt faith to gain and keep power. They’ll use preachers. They’ll use Kanye. They’ll use Jesus if they can.
- I pray he will be saved from the crowd. I wonder what his faith is like when it’s quiet and he’s all alone. Is it Jesus’ voice he hears through the Word of God? Is his prayer life vital? He should remember that the crowds who yell, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” are usually the same crowd who demands, “crucify him!” five days later. Instead of a crowd, may he find a community of disciples who will know each other and spur each other on to knowing Jesus.
- I pray he will be saved from the need to perform. As a performer, it will be easy for him to believe his new faith is about learning to perform differently. A performance faith is concerned with changing lyrics or trading a concert for a worship service. That’s not life-transforming faith. Life in Christ is learning to rest in Him. Life in Christ is found in the quiet, humble service to a foot-washing, cross-dying servant King. Life in Christ is found as the Word and the Spirit unwraps our old motivations and gives us new identities as sons and daughters of God. If he tries to perform his way into the kingdom, he will find frustration, pain and ultimately despair just as so many before him have done.
Kanye may have been saved from sin and death through Jesus Christ, but he may also need to be saved from Christians and non-Christians who will use him as a commodity, instead of discipling him in the long-road of fellowship and following the Savior.
4 Soils and only 1 Perseveres
Do you remember the parable of the 4 soils in Mark 4:1-20? Seed was scattered, which is the Word of God. In the first instance, the soil was hard, and the seed was taken away by the birds. Secondly, there was rocky soil and the roots of the new plant never developed. When hot weather came, the new sprout died. Third, there was weedy soil and the new plant was choked out by them. The fourth soil was good soil. The plant grew healthy and produced wonderful fruit. Only one is the picture of true salvation. It ends in a life that is fruitful.
I want for Kanye what I want for all of us. I want us each to experience real saving faith. I pray for a faith that finds deliverance from hard, shallow and cluttered hearts. I pray for a faith journey that transforms us from the inside out. I pray for a faith of deep fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit.
Kanye’s challenges aren’t unlike ours. We need to be aware of the same dangers around us. These questions might help us discern what they might be.
- What clutters your heart? (worries, ambitions, frustrations distracting you).
- Which crowd are you trying to appease? (a crowd of many, or a crowd of 1 – Jesus Christ)
- Where is your faith shallow and in danger of withering away? (the goal of the easy life of your design, or the goal of enduring faithfulness).