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The Daze of Kanye: Through the lens of discernment - Focused on Freedom
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Disclaimer: I began writing this article back in October a week before the launch of the “Jesus is King” album. Through procrastination and other unplanned interruptions I am just now completing the article. Of course there has been a lot of changes in my perspective of Kanye since then but the overall focus of this article was not for Kanye in general but for the professing Christians that praised his proclamation with no foundation in God’s word as the source of authority. Anyway, check out the article and leave a comment or reach out to me on social media.

I have been mostly quiet regarding Kanye since the beginning of his Sunday services and now his profession of faith and album release but now I have to address some things for sure. You probably read the post title thinking that this article would be primarily about Kanye but guess what….it’s mainly about you. Kanye has come forward and professed his faith in Jesus Christ and if it is really true, we can all really rejoice. We don’t rejoice just because of his status, but rather any soul saved by the power of the Holy Spirit gives God all the glory and for that God is worthy of praise.

Kanye is a public figure and what we are seeing is that both the Christian and secular world is under a daze. While the daze is understandable for the secular world, those that profess to know Jesus Christ, and in return should have a love for His word (Bible), are also within a daze and that is where the issue comes in. Whether it is Kanye West or Kevin at our job or Karen two homes down from us, there is a Biblical standard on how we should respond to any and all that profess to be born again in Jesus Christ. We cannot hold some accountable and not all. Many will profess the name of Jesus Christ and we should rejoice but we must remain vigilant, sober-minded and refrain from getting into a drunken “daze”

 

Five Points to Remain Grounded and Sober-Minded

1. The authority of the Bible

The Bible is not simply a book of suggestions; it is God’s infallible word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it should be consumed daily (Matthew 4:4), there is no contradiction from God (1 Corinthians 14:33) and His word will never return void [be proven false] (Isaiah 55:11). From Genesis to Revelation, the focus of the Bible is pointing to Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer of the world. The Bible cannot be our source of truth and authority if it isn’t properly understood, taught and read. When it comes to understanding the scriptures, some will say “well that’s how to you interpret the Bible” and that makes no sense. If you read and speak English and the Bible is written in English then you interpret it in English. The issue is not interpretation but rather reading the scriptures in proper context. When you read the scriptures, you read it with the focus of 1) who is speaking, 2) who is he speaking to and 3) what time period and location is he speaking. When we focus on proper context then we will gain a better understanding of the scriptures and we will realize that God’s Word is truly living and it actually reads us (1 Peter 1:23). God speaks to us through His word (the scriptures) through conviction and confirmation of the heart. Either the Bible is 100% truth or it’s not; there is no in-between.

 

2. Characteristics of a true Christian

Becoming a Christian is nothing that we do but rather what Jesus Christ has already done on the cross. To be a Christian is to be born again in the Spirit of Christ (Matthew 3:11-12) but sadly far too many are confused on this just like Nicodemus (John 3:1-21). God is sovereign and nothing happens outside of his will and control. We have free will over our decisions but we have no control over our salvation. If we had no say-so in our physical birth then what makes you think that we would have a say-so in our spiritual rebirth?

Saying the sinner’s prayer does not mean you are born again. Being baptized (sprinkling water on the head or full submersion) does not mean you are born again. Being raised in a Christian household does not mean you are born again. No action or work that we can enact on our own will result in our salvation, it is only the work of God changing our heart (Ezekiel 36:26) that leads us to salvation.

In Christ we will now produce the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Good fruit is nothing that we produce but rather the Holy Spirit that now lives and guides us through sanctification.

  spirit discernment

Good fruit cannot be faked and works of the flesh cannot be masked

There are many that proclaim the name of Jesus Christ yet they don’t truly know Him. As Jesus said “these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8). When it comes to a true relationship with Jesus Christ, it takes place in the heart. If the relationship is genuine then good fruit will be produced. If it is not, then the works of the flesh will still be evident.  Good fruit is how we know other believers (Matthew 7:16) and while they are not always very prevalent, we must understand that the works of the flesh will be prevalent.

works flesh spirit

Those that are truly in Christ will no longer produce the works of the flesh

3. Testing the spirit of man (discernment)

1 John 4:1 tells us “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”

To truly say that we believe in Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man that came, died and was risen as Savior of the world we must also acknowledge that Satan and his fallen angels are also real. Demonic influence is real, we must truly understand that we are in the middle of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12) and we must remain sober and vigilant! (1 Peter 5:8). Discernment is not just for others but also for ourselves. We are told that we should even examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). This is why biblical discernment is not a suggestion; it is must.

As John MacArthur stated, “The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one’s ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living-a certain recipe for compromise.

Unfortunately, discernment is an area where most Christians stumble. They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God’s Word, and they unwittingly engage in all kinds of unbiblical decision-making and behavior. In short, they are not armed to take a decidedly biblical stand against the onslaught of unbiblical thinking and attitudes that face them throughout their day.” (“What is biblical discernment and why is it important?”, 2016)

 

4. Rebuking false teachers/prophets

A word that appears countless times in the Bible, often mentioned as a command and not a suggestion, is the word “rebuke”. The prophets of the old testament rebuked false teachers, Jesus rebuked false teachers and even the apostles rebuked one another when error was shown….yet for some strange reason we have ceased to call out false teaching. I know just reading the word “false teacher” or “false prophet” just made you shudder or get in a defensive pose but just know that I am not calling Kanye a false teacher/prophet nor am I even saying that I am rebuking him. I telling you what the Bible says on this matter. No emotionalism, just the sufficiency of scripture as we should all be standing firm on.

One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Timothy 4:2 and it tells us ALL that we are to “preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.(NLT) To truly know God is to know the Truth (John 14:6) and when you know the Truth you stand on the Truth of God’s Word. To share God’s Word falsely goes against the Truth that we now know through the power of the Holy Spirit. How could you not share the Truth of God’s Word? 

Remember that there is a difference between “correction” and “rebuke” and it comes down to the position of teacher and student or leader and follower. Rebuke has always been towards those that were (thought to be) teaching/leading falsely. To be a teacher of God’s word, you must stand on God’s word and to deviate would cause those that you are teaching to be lead astray. This is why in James 3:1 we read that “dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Since true believers will all eventually teach in some fashion, we are to always push to correct one another in love with the truth of God’s word; this is why I see 2 Timothy 4:2 uses that specific order. Correct the misunderstanding, rebuke the error and continue to encourage one another in love regarding the truth of God’s word. Our love to correct to correct one another with patience should always be a reflection of the love of Christ that we now live in.

We don’t hate anyone and that means false teachers but in our love, we hate what is evil (Romans 12:9). To willfully mislead the flock, typically for personally gain, is evil. Even though our rebuke may do little to nothing to sway their false teaching, God’s judgement will be upon them and without repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone then they will never see the kingdom of Heaven.

 

5. Our feelings don’t matter (see #1)

As you can see from the first 4 numbered sections, the Bible is our sole source of truth and authority. If you don’t fully believe that then you should examine yourself to see if you  are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Our feelings are misleading because our hearts are wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). If we feel something is right and the Bible says otherwise then guess who is wrong? Either the Bible is 100% true or it’s not. We cannot take the parts we like and throw away the rest.

 

I know that this introduction was long but without a proper view of the Bible we won’t have a proper view of who God is and that is how deception takes place. If you have truly been saved then you know that you are no longer a slave to sin and through Jesus Christ you were purchased with a price and that price is repaid as a slave (servant) of righteousness (Romans 6:15-23).  God is sovereign and can and will change the hearts of whomever He chooses and I truly do hope that Kanye is a born again believer not because of who he is but rather like God “who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), I want the exact thing for him. I truly want for him to grow in holiness, as we all should as born again believers, but I refuse to get drunk off the idea of who he is and get excited purely on what he is saying and lay down proper discernment in the process. I would hope that other believers would do (are doing) the same to me. Put on the full armor! (Ephesians 6:11-18) 

 

His blasphemous past

…..is not relevant and if he truly is in Christ, then his past sins are now forgiven (1 John 1:9, Acts 2:38). Kanye said that he sold his soul to the devil, he had numerous songs with blasphemous lyrics and even enacted various blasphemous visuals in promotion of his art……but God is sovereign. God can change anyone He wants and at anytime that He wants. Our focus should be grounded in forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV) says, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” When we truly know God’s forgiveness through a true relationship with Jesus Christ, then we know firsthand God’s love through forgiving us of our sins and in return we are compelled to the love of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be quick to forgive others. 

On the flipside, we forgive but we still maintain our foundation of truth rooted in God’s word as the source of authority.

 

“I want to share the gospel now”

Kanye mentioned this and we must all be clear on what the Gospel is. Romans 1:16 NLT tells us “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” The NLT version mentions “Good News” while most other versions mention “gospel”.  There are no multiple variations of the Gospel and there is only one and it is the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is this:

We are all fallen in sin stemming from the disobedience of Adam and Eve. We are not sinners because we sin but rather we sin because we are sinners. None of us are good and the only one that was truly good was Jesus Christ. God has given us his moral law, the 10 commandments, to keep but instead we continue to break them. God is fully righteous and good so He must punish disobedience with righteous judgement which rightfully should result in death. Knowing that we cannot keep His commandments alone, God came fully God and fully man as Jesus Christ (the Son) to take the wrath of the the Father that we rightfully deserved. He paid the cost that we could never repay.  By His blood shed for the world on the cross, death and the bondage of sin were both defeated! Jesus Christ came, died and was risen for the world and now sits at the right hand of the Father waiting for the time when He will return to enact judgement. Through His sacrifice we have been granted the gift of salvation and everlasting life in heaven. Salvation is a free gift but it does come at a cost…our lives. We must repent (turn away from) sin and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for the promise of everlasting life. There is no way to heaven except through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Good News reveals that our acts of righteousness apart from Jesus Christ are simply self-righteousness. Like the Pharisees, we focused on the outward appearance when in fact a true relationship with Jesus Christ changes us from the inside out. Through the Holy Spirit showing us our guilt and shame through sin and seeing that we are in the situation that we are in by our own actions, we lift our hands up to cry out to God in forgiveness and He hears our cries, forgives of us our sins and gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) and new path that brings God the glory alone. There are many ways to share and describe the Good News but there is no way to explain it without mentioning salvation comes through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. Standing on this belief will cause the world to hate you and that is a guarantee given to us by Jesus Himself (John 15:18-25). Only time will tell if this is the gospel that Kanye is referring to….

 

“Just pray for him”

In completely transparency, this article was going to initially be very critical of Kanye but I am thankful to God for Him changing my direction and not speaking on Kanye but rather speaking to the body as a whole. On a side note, I see various brothers and sisters in Christ commenting on social media with scripture on why we are to be sober-minded and vigilant to Satan’s ways. They are completely correct but I aIso see that there are numerous professing Christians that are simply stating – “just pray for him” – as a response to hearing what God’s word (Bible) says regarding these things. We are to definitely remain in prayer for God’s will to be done but that should never be an excuse to be disobedient to what we are all called to do within the body of Christ. Once again, 2 Timothy 4:2 NLT tells us to “preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”

 

The need for biblical discipleship

What this entire “daze” reveals is that we all (including Kanye) need to submit to biblical discipleship. Go back up to #1 and re-read that statement if needed. The Bible is the sole source of authority and truth and is fully sufficient. There is nothing outside of the scriptures that is needed to explain the complete nature of God as it is God’s word given to us directly from Him through faithful men. If we don’t feel that God’s word is sufficient, it only reveals a disobedient heart in feeling that we know more than what God has already told us. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13) and gives us a greater understanding of the scripture but God will never contradict Himself and His word.

What Kanye needs to do is stop and submit to biblical discipleship and what this looks like is sitting under the teaching of a man that teaches God’s word in proper context for proper understanding. A babe in Christ in just like a baby in life, both need guidance and nurturing for growth. Well what about Pastor Adam Tyson? While being a Master’s Seminary graduate gives him good credibility regarding his biblical teaching, by Pastor Tyson’s own words, he is not Kanye’s pastor and they only spoke over a span of a few weeks. Discipleship is an ongoing process and Kanye needs to cut out the distractions and sit under a good Bible teacher and learn more about the faith and what is commanded of us as regenerates in Jesus Christ. Once again, this applies to us all.

I have no problem calling myself a babe in Christ as well. I was raised in the baptist church myself but only truly coming to know the heart-changing power of the Holy Spirit in March of 2018 (learn more about my testimony here). I called myself a Christian based purely off the sinner’s prayer and being water baptized but never truly studied God;s word to know what a true Christian even looks like. All glory to God for taking the scales off my eyes and showing me His love through giving me the truth of His word. Instead of continuing to do what I wanted to do, my heart was humbled to sit under good Biblical teaching to truly learn the true nature of God. While the sanctification process looks different for every person, those that are truly in Christ all fall under the headship of Jesus Christ and we all walk in spirit and in truth (John 4:24); meaning that we walk by the power of the Holy Spirit changing every part of who we are from the inside out and we point any and all to the truth that is the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

Overall, I wanted this to be an explanation of what is commanded of us as true believers in Jesus Christ to do when it comes to anyone professing the name of Jesus Christ. I will humbly say once again that I will consider myself a babe in Christ and will always stand open to biblical correction so if anything mentioned in my post is in error, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me via email or social media. Thank you for reading and let’s remain vigilant to be wary of Satan’s lies.

 

Sources

MacArthur, J. (2016, August 18). What is biblical discernment and why is it important? Retrieved October 26, 2019, from https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA138/what-is-biblical-discernment-and-why-is-it-important.