FINDING BALANCE IN the tension of God’s love and discipline is difficult, but it’s not beyond rising talent Kendrick Lamar, who has been labeled the “biggest Christian rapper of all time.” At this point, Lamar probably needs to buy a storage unit for all of his Grammys – Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best Music Video. But Lamar is not motivated by the things of this world that tarnish and lose value. His mission is to further the Eternal Kingdom of his Heavenly Father.
In fact, he even downplays his own carefully thought-out lyrics: “My word will never be as strong as God’s word. All I am is just a vessel, doing his work.” For Lamar, this work is to find the Truth – not simply a watered-down, lovey-dovey gospel that is all too common in a society that values comfort over truth.
Restoring a Moral Compass
For the first time in history, moral relativism – or the idea that all ways of thinking and living are equally valid – has taken hold. It is the motto of the West, and it has led to confusion and chaos. In a society that highly values any and all “truths,” the real Truth is sidelined – unless, that is, it focuses on a message of profound love. And that, my friends, is the sole message of many mega-churches that preach the “popular” gospel.
Sure, God’s unconditional love – a love so powerful that He sent His only Son to die for our sins – is a defining message of the Gospel. But according to Kendrick Lamar, if we stop there, we miss the other half of the Truth. In an email to DJ Booth, Lamar explained, “God is a God of “DISCIPLINE. OBEDIENCE. A JEALOUS God.”
That’s right – God is jealous for our hearts.
As a father who seeks the love of his children, God wants our hearts. It’s not enough to half-heartedly “believe” in a god – while also worshiping drugs, money, sex, and pleasure. There is one Truth with a capital “T” – not many truths. And Lamar calls us to return to it and rediscover a moral compass.
After all, how can we say that all ideas are equal when there are regimes and individuals who brutally slaughter the innocent? The Bible portrays a struggle against good versus evil, and that war is still being raged today. Leaders like Kendrick Lamar continue to fight the good fight.
The Consequences of Sin
In his email to Booth, Lamar goes on to say that sermons he heard as a child were empty and one-sided. As an adult, he has actively pursued the full Truth, deeply engaging with Scripture. According to Lamar, “After being heavily in my studies these past few years, I’ve finally figured out why I left those services feeling spiritually unsatisfied as a child. I discovered more truth. But simple truth.”
Lamar discovered that God is love, but He is also a God of discipline.
According to Lamar, he fears God because he understands that “every conscious choice of sin will be corrected through his discipline … through your sufferings, or someone that’s close to [you].” Yes, Lamar, a rapper who is constantly surrounded by temptations of this world, does not rationalize away sin as a part of the game. He actively fights against it out of allegiance and obedience to his Heavenly Father.
An Earnest Quest For the Truth
Lamar is not preaching fire and brimstone. Far from it, he’s simply a man who is earnestly seeking the Truth – and it shows. He calls on Churches to preach the whole Gospel – not just the parts that draw in an audience. This is radical discipleship – using any status or fame as a platform to proclaim the full Truth – even if it flies in the face of society’s norms.
Lamar has issued a challenge to live in the tension of God’s love and discipline.
Are you up for his challenge?