A lot of Christians are skeptical of Kanye West’s conversion. If I’m honest, I put myself into that category. He has been hosting Sunday Services where people have been giving their life to Christ, he put out an album called “Jesus is King”, took the Gospel to the Harris County jail and held service at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church. On all accounts, we question his motives and keep waiting for the moment where he lets us know he’s been trolling us. We all remember his crazy antics (like taking the mic from Taylor Swift. We know the family he’s married into. His sinful past is also well documented. Are we doubting the power of the blood of Jesus or are we holding someone’s past against them? Would we feel the same way towards a local sinner’s conversion in our own church?
In Luke 7, Jesus was invited to eat at the home of a Pharisee. While Jesus was eating dinner, verse 37 says, “There was an immoral woman of the streets, known to all to be a prostitute” who walked into the house and knelt at the feet of Jesus (TPT). She wept as she knelt. Her tears fell on His feet, and she began to dry them off with her hair as if she were apologetic that she was getting them wet. She then brought out an alabaster box of perfume and “anointed his feet with her costly perfume as an act of worship.” Then the Pharisee said, “If He were really a prophet, He would know what kind of sinful woman is touching Him.” He did. He then shared a story of two men who were forgiven large debts, but one was so much more than the other. He then asked, “Which of the two would be most thankful? Which one would love the banker more?” Then in verse 47, Jesus said, “She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little.”
When we see prominent sinners give acts of worship, are we jealous because of their greater love for the Savior? I still don’t know Kanye’s intentions, but what I see are the acts of someone who has been forgiven much and is expressing that gratitude. I’m learning to worry less about what He’s doing and questioning my own actions. What am I doing to continue to show my appreciation for the salvation that was freely given. Was my sin as public and as “shameful” as Kanye’s? No, but the end result would have been the same without the blood of Jesus. For that, I am grateful and should be remembering what was done for me often. It’s easy to get into the rut of Christianity. It’s easy to question someone else’s heart when I should be questioning my own. Today, it’s time to worry less about someone else’s response to salvation and look at how I’m expressing my love to Christ for paying my debt too.
Photo by John Price on Unsplash
Several years ago, I read the book “Primal” by Mark Batterson. It was one of the most challenging books I’ve read. It expounds on Deuteronomy 6:5. It says, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (NLT). When you peel back all the layers of doctrines, rules, and traditions of Christianity, you will find this verse is the basis for a strong relationship with God.
Loving God with all our heart starts when we accept Him as our savior. In Luke 7, Jesus is approached by an immoral woman who weeps on His feet and then washes them with her hair. Everyone was in shocks as they watched this spectacle. Jesus used it as a teaching moment and said, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Loving God flows from a heart that’s been forgiven.
Loving God with all of our soul goes beyond the affection we feel for Him. It draws us into a life that is devoted to Him like what described in Colossians 1:10. It says, “That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]” (AMP). When we love with all of our soul, our lives reflect it.
Loving God with all of our strength is where I was really challenged in reading “Primal”. I realized that I had been neglecting the gifts that God had given me. I had been so afraid to fail that I never tried. I spent my time working on the first two portions of that verse, but not the third. While that’s good for my own growth, it does very little to help others in their relationship with God. Loving God with all of our strength means stepping out in faith, doing what we were called to do, and letting God do His part.
I Timothy 4:14 says, “Do not neglect the gift which is in you, [that special inward endowment] which was directly imparted to you [by the Holy Spirit] by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you [at your ordination].” It takes more than loving God with all your heart and soul to follow what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment. It takes doing something with the gifts He’s given you. Don’t just keep them to yourself. Give them to the world and love God with all your strength.
One of the things I firmly believe is that changed lives change lives. The greater work that God does in someone’s life, the greater the desire is to tell others. In Luke 7, Jesus was eating at the house of a religious leader. A woman in town, who had lived a sinful life, heard that Jesus was there. She grabbed an alabaster jar of oil and went to see Him. When she came into the house, she began to weep. She then bowed at His feet and wiped the tears off of them with her hair. She then poured the perfume on them as everyone in the house just watched.
The religious leader began to doubt who Jesus was. Luke 7:39 says, “When the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man really were a prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him; he would know what kind of sinful life she lives!’” (GNB). Jesus spoke up and offered a situation to him. He told of two men who owed the same person money. One person owed 500 and the other 50. Neither had the ability to pay off their debt. The debtor forgave both debts. Then Jesus asked, “Which one, then, will love him more?”
Jesus’ point was that those who are forgiven of more sins, love Him more. Those who experience a greater change in their lives show more gratitude. They had a bigger debt that was canceled than those who were raised in church and never lived a life full of sin. Both types of lives are changed when they receive Jesus as their savior and both have an obligation from that point on to help lead others to the One who can change lives. He more change we experience at salvation, the more we are compelled by love to help others.
To demonstrate this, Jesus then showed a comparison between this woman’s actions and the religious leader’s actions. He told how the religious leader hasn’t provided water to wash Jesus’ feet, but this woman hasn’t stopped washing them with her tears. He also didn’t greet Jesus with a kiss, and this woman hasn’t stopped kissing Him. Then in Luke 7:47, Jesus said, “I tell you, then, the great love she has shown proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever has been forgiven little shows only a little love.”
The greater the change God makes in your life, the more natural it is for you to want to change other’s lives. The great news is that if you’re a Christian, God has changed your life and you have the ability to now tell others what God has done for you. When you share your story of redemption with others, you open the door for their life to be changed. The more lives that are changed by God’s love, the more people we will have out there changing other people lives. The cycle of change starts with you and me.