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Rapper’s Satan-themed sneakers show what the culture values but does not reflect who is really in control




The Bible says that Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” when he tries to deceive the world and ensnare us in his ways (2 Corinthians 11:14). This past week, he abandoned his old subtle playbook and made himself clearly known through one of his servants.


Rapper Lil Nas X recently released a new line of shoes with Satanic themes and imagery. The shoes are colored black and red, have a pentagram and an upside down cross on the tongue, and each shoe contains one drop of human blood in the air-bubble sole.


The line of shoes dropped in conjunction with MSCHF, a New York-based fashion line, and 666 pairs were available for sale. The shoes sold out in less than a minute of their release, despite the outlandish price of $1,018 per pair (a reference to Luke 10:18, which describes Satan’s fall from heaven).


As if this demonic imagery were not enough to make the stomach churn, the art on each box the shoes come in have this statement inscribed on top of Satanic artwork: “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”


This is the lie that our culture has accepted, and every element of our culture reflects that: Art, fashion, language, activities. A brief glance at our culture shows there is nothing redeeming about what our society values.  It is not the government, politicians, or policies we are fighting against per se, but the one who is deceiving these people to carry out evil. These shoes and the wide level of acceptance they’ve received is enough to move the discerning heart to mourn.


So what are we to do? If Lil Nas X is clearly stating that evil is better than good (which all of us do when we sin), how should we fight back when all of culture seems to echo that statement?


It starts with recognizing the true nature of this war and surrendering to Jesus, the one true king.


Nothing we do in our own power changes anything in the long term. Naturally, we try to bring reform to culture through policies and ideas, which I am all for. But our war to redeem culture is as much a spiritual one as it is a physical one, and we cannot expect even our best efforts at reform to last long apart from God.


Second, we have to trust God to do only what he can do. Only God has the power to change a sinful heart (even Lil Nas X’s), give it new desires, and give us new life. We must recognize that. And we must be equally as ready to proclaim the Gospel as we are to redeem culture, because once someone is saved, their actions will reflect the new life they have received.


Third, we have to hold fast to truth. Despite Lil Nas X’s and cultures claim, there is one God who alone is worth serving.


The terms of God’s kingdom are as follows: grace and mercy to cover the penalty of our sins, a life that fulfills us in ways sin never will, and eternal life and reign with Christ in heaven. Satan’s terms are living of life of pleasure that only yields fleeting results in the short term and then serving the penalty of your sins in hell, burning in a “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).


Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Satan is continuing to press forward in this war. Our job is to be faithful servants of God, no matter how evil our society becomes.