What You’ve Been Searching For
Kanye’s Faith, Smoking and More
Okay. The podcast is called What You’ve Been Searching For. It’s the questions and topics that you, the Christian podcast listener, want to hear about. I’m going to take them one by one today, not just one topic, but several. Stay tuned. I’ve got some answers for you. This is Joel Fieri, executive producer here at Christian Podcast Central, coming to you with another episode of What You’ve Been Searching For. As I said in the opener, I’m not going to do one question or topic today. I’m going to break down a list that we came up with when we did our research on what you’ve been searching for. I’m going to just give you my thoughts on them one by one. These are questions that I didn’t think I could actually make a full podcast out of. Okay? So, I’m going to take them one by one. But these are questions that you legitimately searched for, so here we go.
The first one, should Christians get marriage advice from TV shows? Okay. No, don’t get your marriage advice from TV shows. There’s not a lot of good places to get marriage advice other than marriage counselors, good ones, who have a biblical worldview. Frankly, the best place is older Christian couples. Find an older couple that’s been married for years, that knows how to do it. Find a husband and wife where the husband loves the wife like Christ loved the church. Remember, we were talking about that a couple of weeks ago, and the wife respects her husband and honors him and is willing to submit to him because he loves her so much. Those are the people you get marriage advice from.
Like I said, good, Christian-based counselors. Don’t even get it from pastors, because I’ve known too many pastors whose marriages are not that great. So, I would say no on the TV, yes on counseling. Definitely yes on finding those older couples, those gem couples that have been married for so long that would love to sit down with younger people and tell them the secrets of their marriages. The next one, is Kanye West a Christian? Here we go with the celebrity questions again. I’m getting more and more convinced that celebrity and Christian may not go together. Okay? I know Kanye had a big change in his life. It seems like he genuinely had a change in his life. He started singing about Christ, and I saw something in his interview with him and his wife, Kim Kardashian, where she was kind of saying, “Hey, you wanted me to dress like this before, but now you don’t want me dressed like this. What’s the deal?” She couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that he didn’t want her flaunting her body, basically.
But he’s like, “I don’t want my wife dressed like that. I’m a Christian now.” So, it seems there’s evidence of a changed life there. But the thing about Christian celebrities, and this has happened as long as I’ve been alive all the way back to Bob Dylan back in the seventies, when he supposedly became a Christian and started singing Christian songs, we tend to go ape over celebrities that become Christians, and we expect them to be everything a Christian should be right away. If Kanye he is Christian, and I have no reason to doubt him, it needs time to grow, and we need time to let him grow. When I said about Oprah, whether Oprah is a Christian or not, I don’t know. But based on what she’s saying, I wouldn’t follow her example or follow her lead. I wouldn’t be putting any expectations on Kanye West either. He’s too young and Christian. So, don’t look at celebrity when you’re looking for Christian role models.
All right. The next one, a deep one that it says old as the Bible itself. The question is, does God give you free will? Yes, he does. He’ll hold you accountable to what you do with that free will, and whether or not you accept his gift of salvation. It also is intention with pre-determinism. Okay? Are we predetermined to follow God, or do we have free will? It seems we have both. That’s the tension. That’s the whole Calvinism versus Armenianism, which is difficult to say, that I won’t get into here. But, yes, God does give us free will, and we are accountable to it. Study that on your own. It’s worth looking into, but not to the minutia that a lot of people get to.
So, moving on, this is an interesting one, is living for happiness sin? I would say yes, if that’s all you’re living for. If you remember a couple of weeks back, we talked about on that judgment day, on that judgment day, when God asks you, “What did you do with my son? What did you do with my gift of salvation? What did you do with your life that I should let you in heaven?” Well, if all you did was live for happiness, for your own material gain, your own fun, I know so many people that are addicted to fun in their life, addicted to entertainment. If all you were committed to, and any free time you had was just entertaining yourself or having fun, I think you might be in trouble on that day.
So, I would say living for happiness, no, is not a sin, unless that’s all you live for. If you did nothing for the kingdom of God, if you did nothing with God’s gift of salvation, if you did nothing with your commitment to Christ to further his kingdom, then I would say God’s going to be displeased with you, from what I can tell that the Bible says. Is that fair enough? Okay, next one. What did Jesus mean when he said he who is without sin, cast the first stone? This I think goes with our judgment. A couple of the podcasts I did about judgment, specifically the one about don’t judge, lest you be judged yourself. But I think this is not judgment. When Jesus said this, when they brought the woman caught in adultery before him and he said, “Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone,” I think he’s talking about the punishment for sin right there. The punishment for sin is none of our business. It’s all up to God.
I heard an interesting thing awhile back, it was just a supposition, it’s nothing biblical, but a pastor was talking about this and said, “If you notice, Jesus was drawing in the dirt.” So, Jesus, before he said, “He who’s without sin, cast the first stone,” he was drawing something, writing something in the dirt. This pastor said, “I bet you he was writing Joe plus Maude, or Fred plus Ingrid or something like that.” The people who were holding the stones probably saw their own names in what Jesus was writing. They had been guilty themselves, and yet here they were ready to punish this woman for her sin. So, he said, “Punishment for sin is not up to you. That’s up to God.” Then when they had dropped their stones and left, he turned to the woman and said, “Go and send them more.” So, they had judged correctly that she was in sin, but, again, they were judging and taking it upon themselves for the condemnation and punishment for that sin. That’s what Jesus was getting at.Vengeance is God’s, leave it to him to deal with other people’s sins. Okay?
Finally, is smoking a sin? I would say, no, smoking is not a sin, it’s a vice. Since our society has given up, basically eradicated smoking, for the most part. I mean, if you find someone smoking, if you smell cigarette smoke today, it’s unusual. When I was growing up, that’s all you smelled, in the air, on people’s clothes, in people’s houses, on airplanes, in cars with cigarette smoke. Everybody smoked, it seemed, back in the day. What smoking was, was in a lot of ways, people’s anxiety and oral sublimation. If you look at any old movie dealing with World War II or in the society in the past, thirties, forties, fifties, you will always see people lighting up a cigarette. Whenever they were in a stressful situation, whenever they were occupied with something, it was just something to sublimate.
Well, we’ve done away with that, but a lot of vices have taken its place. We still have that anxiety. We still have that. That’s why we have an obesity epidemic. I think one of the reasons we do is people don’t have that cigarette to put in their mouth anymore, so they put chips or whatever it is. They also turn to drugs, anxiety producing drugs. Cigarette smoking was an anxiety coping mechanism. Okay? Lots of drug abuse I think has come as a substitute for cigarettes. That’s not saying cigarettes were a good thing or a bad thing, but since we’ve done away with most people’s smoking habit, and we pretty much demonize smokers, the vices haven’t gone away. It’s just been replaced by other vices. It just shows you the pervasiveness of sin and man’s need for always need for something. Okay? There’s always an anxiety release or a sublimation of something, an appetite that can’t be satisfied, or an anxiety that can’t be soothed, that we’re always going to turn to something.
We don’t turn to smoking anymore, now we turn to all of these other things. So, I wouldn’t say it’s a sin. It definitely is a vice, which is not a good thing. I guess you could say a vice is a sin, but smoking to demonize smoking the way we have, to me, it’s a little out of balance. I’m glad we’re mostly rid of it, but on the other hand, we’ve still got other problems that have taken its place. I hope those are good answers. Again, I just wanted to touch on each one of these. They are questions you asked, they are topics you wanted to discuss, and that’s what we’re here for. Next week, I’m going to tackle some more questions just like this. Hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and interesting and beneficial. So, stay tuned for that. I’m Joel Fieri for Christian Podcast Central. Thanks for listening.