[dropcap]#3.[/dropcap]More nuggets before the main course! Hors D’oeuvres Devotional #3.
For many musicians music is a very effective means to a variety of ends. For some, music is primarily a means of acquiring money, fame, status, etc. For others, music is most importantly a means of creative expression for the purpose of empowerment and societal impact. Of course, there are various hybrids of these goals for almost everyone, and yet for believers in the Lord Jesus another more weighty element comes into view—the glory of God. This latter idea brings us face to face with the challenge of not only the “what” but the “how” music should be used and leveraged for the purpose of bringing God glory. Often, “success” becomes the initial indicator of whether a person is doing something right or wrong, and in Christian circles in particular, if God is perceived to “use” something for a “positive” ends, this becomes an even greater confirmation that they are indeed doing something right. How God Do It is about acknowledging that our music, or lives in general, can have all the key ingredients that make for good music/art such as “swag” and eloquence (“chatter”), and God may even “use it” for some positive purpose, however, some of these things we put stock in are the very things He has revealed that He does not use lest they compete with His glory. Let all who have His heart imitate His way of doing what He wants, how he wants.
Yea…uh-huh, uh-huh…Let’s just talk…yeah…Ah…trippin’, slippin’..
Got swagga in that music/ chatter in that music/
Yeah God might use it/ but that ain’t how God do it.
I got my hop and my hippin’/
Gospel I’m spittin’/
my Pops has written His thoughts I’m not trippin’/
I drop my writtens for blocks that’s not gettin’/
what I got/ plus I drop/ ’cause it can rock Christians/
Who are rocked by the God who’s not in our pictures/
But in God’s Son we watched Him drop in our mixture/
It is not popular still I’ve got to chop with men/
who will stop for a hot second to just listen/
Ladies too/ ladies you all cute/ you bat an eye/
but nobody is exempt, we all in Adam die/
So I just straight pull up/ “Jesus”—what up?/
Go right in like it’s life or death—bullet/
In all the way/ some stay ‘cause they feel us/
Others walk away or say, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Wilis”/
I’m talking ‘bout heaven’s head resident/
Like y’all talk about every dead president/
Why your God on the tuck?/
o why He in the cut? (2x)
Got swagga in that music/
chatter in that music/
Yeah God might use it/
but that ain’t how God do it. (2x)
(You know what)…
If I was an “ordinary rapper” I would be fine/
Design my rhymes around whatever makes me shine/
Quickly make a beeline/for a dope “me” line/
Talk to the felines/hoping they say “He’s fine”/
That was the old me, I’d rap like that I/
now think that’s just blowing smoke like a crack pipe/
That mic’s now for bringing that life to cats my/
Path’s light/ all because of Jesus my flash light/
I don’t wanna force Him/ I wanna floss Him/
Raps aren’t commercial/ but I wanna endorse Him/
He was in that grave man/ Call him Captain Caveman/
We don’t have a cow/ holy cow—death it just grazed Him/
Lord of all, you ought to call Him that/ ‘cause He’s lifted up/
Sure as you ought to call a chicken that/ if he clucks
Jesus is the man can you grant me that?—fifty bucks/
Who can take away your sin/not cover that/ like sippie cups?
I’ve been on the Internet/ seeing where men are at/
Shame, nothin’s really changed/ I’m no longer into that/
I no longer club/ I know longer puff/ I don’t thug/
I ain’t hangin’ on the corner with the drugs/
This is not a boast, I’m just saying I was stuck/ I was cuffed/
Jesus came and I laid it down like a rug/
You say I found religion/ I just say I found love/
A beggar telling other beggars, “hey I found grub!”/
This is sort of like them lepers in the book of 2nd Kings/
Knew people were starvin’/ then one day they found some “bling”/
They began to party/ eat and drink—they partied/
Then they cried out, “this ain’t right man we should tell somebody”/
Oh—this is how God do it man/ this is what God chooses man/
Through preaching that’s foolish/ don’t know this you’re clueless/
If you do let’s do this/ with it you’re not fruitless/
But without it there’s no doubt/ just hang it up like Judas/[/note][/one_half_last]
How God Do It Devotional Thought
Of all the things that Scripture teaches us about Jesus, ranking pretty high is the idea that God knows what He’s doing, and how to do it. This basically says that God is all wise, which as A.W. Tozer has insightfully remarked, “…is the ability to devise perfect ends (‘the what’) and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means (‘the how’). “Sadly, we think we know better, and like the apostle Peter, rebuke some of our Lord’s ideas when they don’t “jive” with ours. There is a classic account in Jesus’ life when he had to teach His disciples this principle. He, the rabbi, had to demonstrate that His ability and wisdom trumped theirs, even extending into the realms they felt so adept and confident in—fishing. After these professional fishermen fished all night (the “wise” time to fish) and caught nothing, the Master flexed His wisdom and gave them instructions that landed the best catch of fish in their lifetime. You see, He was teaching them, and consequently us, that He even does “our thing” better than we do. If He does “our thing” better than we do, of course He does His thing better than we do.
This wisdom is always at work in all of God’s acts and strategies, and God has been known to give details and specifics about what He wants, and how He wants it. He seems to care about the “how” as much, or more, than the “what.” As early as Genesis 4 we encounter God rejecting an offering from Cain, based on some breach of “the how” the offering was to be made. We see it again in the specificity of “how” the ark of Noah was to be built. All throughout Israel’s history there were specifications on “how” to do everything—worship, war, live, thrive, the list goes on and on. Eventually, the Lord Jesus would model for the apostles, and all believers, how His kind of earthly ministry should be carried forth.
Spoiler alert—God always wants things done in a way that gives Him the most glory. It’s not good grammar but—that’s how God do it.
Jesus Himself and the gospel message are God’s wise ideas—which look foolish to the world, and “unimpressive” to those who want “signs and wonders.” However, “in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom; it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” God is pleased not only to save, but to save in a certain way. He chose One who, according to Isaiah 53:2-3, “…had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men…one from whom men hide their faces…and we esteemed him not.” Man always chooses flamboyant, impressive people and ways. We “ball so hard…u can’t find us!” We choose to use those who have more “baller status”—the more flashy, majestic, strong, eloquent and wise. Well, the Lord Jesus has shown us a different way—His way.
The church has been given the task of carrying on the mission of Jesus, in the “Jesus way.” However, as I mentioned, His ways can rub us wrong, causing us to adopt other strategies that we are more comfortable with and in. Let us constantly ask the question, “How does God do it?” “How does God ‘get the job done?’” Well, we at least know, He saves, builds, preserves, and gets His glory, not through man’s abilities, but through the Spirit-empowered simplicity of devotion to Christ and His gospel. The crux of God’s acts throughout history boil down to this. This is how God do it.
As one who does use music to spread the gospel I have applied this to my church ministry, even my rap endeavors. Not all believers have this goal in mind, but if saving, or even drawing to Christ is a claim and/or goal, God has revealed that He does this through the proclaimed and lived out gospel (Rm. 10; 1Cor 1-2). This may seem foolish, and may seem like it doesn’t “work.” However, 2 Cor. 4:2-5 disavows the use of slick tactics, and sly techniques.
“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
God is not merely concerned about the what, but also the how. You can have swagger, chatter, and can flatter, but that is not how God does it. I’ll close again with Tozer who rightly sums it up this way, God accomplishes His will in ways that firstly gives Him the most glory, and then “does the highest good of the greatest number for the longest time.”