Could it be that Kanye West is stepping into the awareness of his life's purpose? These erratic, emphatic moments seem to bear the hallmarks of someone who is experiencing "The Big Transformation" right before our eyes. In my new book, "The Journey to Genesis: A Discovery of Your Created Purpose", I share what this transformation looked like for the Apostle Paul, the demoniac, the woman at the well in John 4 and people like myself.
Kanye West is no stranger to controversy and his latest album and recent round of interviews are further proof of that. The controversy? You name it! West’s conversion is a hot topic of conversation, but so are his remarks about slavery, his hypocritical stance on the sins one engaged in, unbridled support of President Trump, his seemingly role as a church leader---the list goes on! However, believers have taken issue with and are the main skeptics scoffing at West’s admission of his recent confession of Christ. Earlier this year and in anticipation of last week’s release “Jesus Is King,” West assembled singers and musicians in remote locations for what has been since billed as “Sunday Service.” The invitation only service featured classic gospel songs and remakes of popular secular songs each week. The services initially went on without any preaching but as of late, preaching has been added to the service setup.
At its worst, “Jesus Is King” is a guilty pleasure you can feel good about
While the concept is wildly popular among music lovers of all ages, this is also troubling for believers and rightfully so. Over the years, we’ve seen the popular public figure profess Christ only to return to their former life when living out the conversion became difficult or simply banal in lieu of partying and riotous living. Both skeptics and defenders of West’s transformation bolster their points with scripture. The trouble is not West’s posture, but his platform as he attempts to work through this transformation. Even believers in support of the shift believe that he is a danger to himself and his sphere of influence without guidance. Earlier this week, Rolling Stone highlighted West’s relationship with Warryn Campbell a producer, label executive and pastor.
Those comparing West to the Apostle Paul could probably benefit from another glance at Paul’s transformation. After his sight was restored by Ananias he was in Arabia for three years (Galatians 1:18) and a total of fourteen years between his trips to Jerusalem following his first missionary journey (Galatians 2:1,9). West may have surrendered his life, but has yet to surrender his international platform, which is undoubtedly the reason for the skepticism. What he is doing which leads me back to a story in the bible I believe will help provide understanding.
We aren’t all Paul, but we can all be Ananias
Nothing worse than a hypocrite. Change? He ain't really different!
In Mark 5:1-20 we discover a man who lived in the tombs, cut himself and was full of unclean spirits. When the man saw Jesus, he ran and worshiped Him, and in that moment, unclean spirits were cast out of him. The people who saw not only the miracle but that the man was later “clothed and in his right mind” responded by driving Jesus out of the region.
The man wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay in the region and instead “go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” When Jesus returned, there was a crowd awaiting Him including Jairus whose daughter He raised from the dead (v22) and the woman with the issue of blood who followed behind (v34). I often look at this passage and wonder what would have happened had the man commonly referred to in his former state as a “demoniac” not told his region about what the Lord had done for him. Jairus’ daughter may have died, and the woman may have never gotten the remedy she sought, not to mention the other miracles that were by-products of his testimony.
Do you ever stop to think about whose transformation you are beneficiary of or who’s salvation testimony yours is tied to? The testimonies are already pouring in from people about the change people are experiencing in their lives watching West and listening to his “Jesus Is King” album. But, what if this is another instance of fool’s gold? Are believers no longer judging supposed trees of righteousness by the fruit they bear? Only time will tell. Some believers have spent time praying that God shut Kanye West down and others are asking God to increase the reach of his platform. But I suggest that when you pray, change the subject! Remember to thank God for the big transformation in your life. Thank Him again that He had compassion on you and accepted you how you were, where you were when you came to him.
Following the death of his mother, many like myself prayed that West would heal from the trauma of his mother’s tragic, untimely death. He worked through it publicly and many were afraid for him, fearing that the world had lost the creative genius known as Kanye forever. I’m sure many thought that the demoniac who slept naked in the tombs was also lost forever, until his encounter with Jesus. It was then that he was more frightful than ever (Mark 5:15)!
We must do the hard work of trying to understand God and not Kanye. The reality that God just may be in it after all is frightening. But, it’s time we face our worst fears about even Kanye West…that God can change and use anybody!
The BIG Transformation (excerpted from "The Journey to Genesis, A Discovery of Your Created Purpose"
On the journey to Genesis, one issue we will constantly battle is moving from who we once were to who we are becoming. Understand that who God is calling forth is not who you or even the world around you knows. The man that emerges on the journey is a shock even to himself! This happens through what I like to call the BIG transformation. God transforms us, and we conform to His idea of who we are. One of my many faults as a believer was that I understood the transformative work of God through scripture, yet I lacked a conformative response. If we will be who God is calling forth, we will have to first yield to it, then cause others to respond to our response to God.
. We all have a past and a history of small living before the Lord lifted us! People will try to imprison you with your past before they ever acknowledge your big transformation! Still, run on and don’t let that keep you in hiding! Ever wonder why “they” are around before and after the big transformation? Consider Lazarus. Jesus interrupted mourning to raise him from the dead.
You mean Lazarus died so that “they” (the multitude gathered at the grave) might believe that Jesus was sent from God? Your big transformation is not for you only! “They” were also at the foot of the sycamore tree and saw Jesus summon Zacchaeus the publican down from the tree as they murmured about it. At the foot of the tree, “they” saw him restored as a son of Abraham. Your journey to Genesis transforms you, and it’s somewhat impractical to think that it would do otherwise! Your journey to Genesis won’t leave you the same and will change not only you but the world around you, all for the glory of the Lord. “They” saw and knew you before your journey, but if they could only see you now…Bigger and Better! Get ready to come out of that dark place; you’ve been hiding long enough! Jesus calling Zacchaeus down from the tree perfectly illustrated how great God is as “a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
In the case of the demoniac and so many of us, only Jesus can make our mess our message! Are you afraid of “them” and what “they” have to say? Fear not. God wants to show you off knowing that in turn, you will show Him off to the world around you. Have you considered sharing your big transformation with your world? One of the greatest and most often overlooked transformations is the woman at the well. The woman in John 4:29 told the town to “Come see a man…” The impact of just one…that’s BIG! Thank God for His big transformation in our lives.
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As a believer, my view of the world is seen through the lens of my Christian experience. I live each day as a person experiencing life as a born again believer!