By Adam Denny
Surely, by now, you have heard of the recent profession of faith by hip hop mogul and fashion entrepreneur, Kanye West. By all accounts, Kanye seems to have been saved and given his life to Jesus as a born-again Christian. His brand-new album Jesus is King has soared to #1 on the charts and has people from every religious and ethnic tribe talking.
West broke onto the entertainment scene in the early 2000s. His raw musical skills were more than clever rhymes and punchlines; his was an art form, as he both wrote the lyrics and produced the beats to his music. Kanye made a name for himself by utilizing music from various eras and different genres into his productions. To be sure, the majority of West’s music has been an advertisement for immorality, idolatry, materialism and misogyny that found itself right at home among most secular music. But one of Kanye’s first popular songs was Jesus Walks, a song that revealed a conscience knowledge of Christianity which few in his field ever show.
I’m thrilled to see the work the Lord seems to have done in Kanye’s life. He has a kind of platform and influence far different than most of us ever will. Kanye is a worldwide entertainer whose music and fashion impact is felt from the cities to the suburbs. But beyond his platform, it is always a miracle when anyone repents and believes.
Now, though, all eyes are on Kanye in a new way, and if his conversion is genuine, he needs prayer during this season. If you are a believer, can you imagine millions of people scrutinizing your earliest days of your faith walk? Can you imagine every word, stance, opinion and theological statement being under the ultimate microscope? Think about the scrutiny that is sure to come for this man who seems to yearn to follow God and be vocal about the Lord and the truths of the Bible. Kanye will undoubtedly deal with temptations the likes of which most Christians never dream. And so I say again, we must pray for this man.
With the raw passion of a new convert and the bold lyrics of Jesus is King, I’ve heard many express how the album reminds them of their conversion and the newness of what it means to be born again. So, let’s consider how we might have desired others to pray for us during that time — and how we can pray for Kanye (and all new believers in Christ):
1. Pray he perseveres to the end.
The mark of a true believer is not perfection, but direction. While a true believer will inevitably bear a kind of spiritual fruit that gives an external form of confirmation of his professed faith, the highest mark of a Christian is that he will persevere in the faith. This does not mean there may be not be seasons of trial and testing; yet the truly born again will never abandon the faith. Because the Holy Spirit has breathed life into their dead soul, they are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and will not turn away from their Lord (Mark 4:1-20).
2. Pray he is discipled by mature believers.
Jesus commanded His followers to do more than simply make converts and walk away. He calls us to teach and train others to follow all He commands. True Christianity is a lifelong journey of obedience and submission to the Lord, a journey that cannot (correctly) be done in isolation or without the influence of others. Just as no one grows successful in any industry or skillset without others, so does no Christian grow in the faith to their fullest potential without the aid and help of other people. New believers need mature believers to come alongside of them and encourage, lovingly confront (if need be) and guide them along as a caring brother or sister.
3. Pray he is connected to a local Bible-believing church.
The new believer thrives best in a community of believers who fully submit to the authority of Scripture alone and fully commit to one another in covenant community. There is no New Testament evidence of a lone-wolf individual Christian playing spiritual cowboy on the frontier of faith. Believers desired to belong to the family of God because they knew it was God’s will (Philippians 1, Hebrews 10:23-25). New believers, as susceptible as they are to various forms of dangerous beliefs and decisions, need the people of God as their spiritual family. Pray they plug in and stay plugged in to the family of God.
4. Pray he is protected from false teachers and teachings.
From the moment a man or woman becomes a Christian, they begin to view the world around them and their own life through the lens of a child of God. This new perspective is best shaped through a steady diet of sound teaching. Jesus, Paul and the Apostles made one thing clear: The devil propagates no shortage of false teachers and false teachings to lead people astray. Much of the New Testament corrects errors and confronts false views about Jesus, the Christian faith and the purpose of God’s people.
The Devil is the father of lies (John 8:44) and seeks to rob God of His glory, in party, by twisting and distorting God’s words (Genesis 3). For this reason, new believers must be aware of the dangerous views and false gospels which permeates so much of religious life in our culture. The new believer, like a young child, is often so zealous and gullible that they are most susceptible to the lies and schemes of the Enemy.
5. Pray he withstands the assaults of the enemy.
Spiritual warfare is real. Kanye West seems to understand this, and all new believers must realize their participation (desired or not) in a spiritual war. As a new believer in a large place of influence, the temptations and troubles West may face may be overwhelming. Let’s pray he remains dependent on the Lord and fully reliant on His strength in all aspects of life (1 Peter 5:8, John 10:1-10, Romans 6).
6. Pray he is patient with his sanctification.
As it is with parenting a child, we can become easily frustrated by a new believer’s lack of growth or desire to mature. Yet, in this, we must be patient and learn to allow for mistakes and seasons of learning and growth — because God was jus as patient with us. The new believer will make mistakes and may bring reproach on the gospel – yet we must remain hopeful and bear with one another through sanctification. Let’s remember God’s lovingkindness towards us and relate to new believers in the same fashion, and we can cheer them along in the race of faith we’ve entered together (Hebrews 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:1-16).
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…” – Colossians 1:21–23a
A version of this article originally published at North Run Baptist Church.