Kanye West, the guy who once referred to himself as “Yeezus”
Kanye, the man who once wrote a song titled, “I am a God.”
Kanye, who interrupted Taylor Swift’s grammy speech.
Kanye, an admitted sex addict.
Kanye, a man whose obsession with fame and fortune brought him to the depths of hopelessness.
Kanye, whose Mom died unexpectedly in 2007.
Kanye, who has feuded with A-listers everywhere.
Kanye, who once endured a public psychiatric breakdown.
Kanye, the guy who planned to release an album this week called “Yandi.”
Instead, that Kanye dropped an album yesterday titled Jesus is King.
Jesus. Is. King.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Earlier this week I wrote about Christians missing the incredible move of God through pop culture in 2019. God has transformed some of the most powerful people on the planet and is using their platforms to share His love with the world.
The whole movement has me jacked.
Yet, many Christians remain skeptical of Kanye. They aren’t sure what to make of him and this album. Is he doing this all just to remain relevant? Is he talking up Jesus just for show?
We live in an age where you don’t need to have anything meaningful to say, you just need to remain slightly skeptical about everything to sound intelligent. Don’t get excited about anything. Always doubt. Don’t be too quick to claim any particular truth.
The poison of skepticism has infected Christianity and is keeping believers everywhere from experiencing the child-like joy of celebrating God’s movements in our world today.
Kanye called it himself in Hands On:
“What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first ones to judge me.”
How tragic that the very group of people who should be the biggest fans of somebody’s conversion experience are the most skeptical. If he has truly been redeemed by the Grace of Jesus Christ—which I believe he has—this is one of the most compelling stories of God’s redemption in our generation!
And even if you don’t think Kanye is a Christian, you can at least celebrate the fact that Christ is being preached like never before.
The entire 27 minutes of Jesus Is King is a public record of Kanye’s repentance from his past and declaration of his new faith in Jesus. It’s Kanye-level production mixed with honest lyrics of his newfound beliefs.
In high school I listened to trashy Christian rap as an ‘alternative’ to guys like Kanye. Yesterday I listened to a musically excellent album from Kanye preaching the same exact Truth.
That was enough to make me emotional.
“Everybody wanted Yandhi
Then Jesus Christ did the laundry
They say the week start on Monday
But the strong start on Sunday
Won’t be in bondage to any man
We the descendants of Abraham
Ye should be made free
To whom the son set free is free indeed
He saved a wretch like me.”
How awesome is Jesus!
How redemptive and powerful is His name!
If somebody told me in 2013 that God would one day save Kanye, that he’d leave the ninety-nine and rescue that one… I would have bet against it.
And here we are.
My view of God was too small.
God is literally saying out loud, “LOOK GUYS! I can use anybody. Transform anybody. Redeem anybody. I am so powerful and you haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible with me.”
Kanye’s story reminds me of a young Saul of Tarsus. A man whose wicked attacks on the newly-formed religion of Christianity would have been famous in homes all over the world. Christians were afraid of Saul and his men because they actively persecuted and murdered Christians for their radical faith.
It’s that Saul who becomes an entirely new man on the road to Damascus. Simply because God chooses to redeem him. That Saul who would one day believe, “Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me.”
And spent the rest of his life doing exactly that.
Except that quote isn’t from first-century Paul.
It’s from 21st-century Kanye West just this week.
Now I don’t know what Kanye will do from here. I don’t know if this album is the start or the end of the conversation about his faith. I don’t even know if he’ll keep walking closely with Jesus.
That’s all up to him.
But I do believe that Heaven must be celebrating today because the relentless Love of Christ is streaming in millions of homes across the world.
I’m tired of the skepticism.
Tired of Christians acting like the brother sulking in the field while the Father throws a party for his prodigal son.
I’m choosing to be present for the party.
If the God you’re following isn’t big enough to save somebody like Kanye West, your God is too small.
Because my God gives hope to the hopeless.
Light to the darkness.
Redemption to the sinner.
And I’m gonna praise him for it today.