With Cardi B's rapid rise to success, it's easy for many to presume she's being showered with God's favor and blessings. At least, that's how she and many of her fans tend to see it. Yet, as I watch fame, money, and influence inundate this young woman at warp speed, I've grown increasingly and genuinely concerned for her. Not that my concern should at all matter to her, but I share it knowing that Cardi professes Christ, yet lives a life completely counter to His Word. And because she's super vocal about every and all things - and her fans tend to hang on to her every word - I would be remiss if I didn't respectfully interject where Cardi believes her faith and her career intersect.
At present, Cardi's way up. Yet, I don't know that it’s a consequence of being blessed. In fact, I’m discerning her success isn’t actually a blessing to her at all. And, unfortunately, I don't perceive that it's God orchestrating her rise to fame. Can God, in His sovereignty, providentially use Cardi or her current career trajectory in some way for His own purposes? Sure. Is it HIS WILL that she promote what she's currently promoting or live how she’s presently living? Of course not!
As popular as Cardi is with the masses- including among those who profess to be in the Church, I find it necessary to take a moment to examine Cardi’s “glow up” in the context of God’s revealed will for His people and the unfortunate fate awaiting those who go their own way. And I believe it's important, at least for the benefit of the young Christians under her influence, to discuss whether Cardi's career is being propelled by God or if she's merely being promoted and pimped by Satan. If I let God be true and every man a liar, I'm pretty confident it’s the latter.
“ALL OF THIS I WILL GIVE YOU IF YOU BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP ME”
It’s common knowledge that God blesses His people. And it’s common knowledge among those mature in Christ that God prospers our souls, and our blessings won't always come in the form of earthly success or material possessions. Yet, we often forget that Satan can offer up his own version of "blessings" as well (Matthew 4:9). In his bold, yet futile, attempt to lead Jesus astray, Satan dared offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world and their glory, IF Jesus would be willing to bow down and worship him. Jesus, already being Lord of all and knowing the Father’s will, denied these trappings without hesitation. But it’s crazy that Satan legit tried to offer Jesus what He ALREADY HAS, much like what he did with Adam and Eve. If we would recall, Satan deceived Eve and, by proxy, Adam to eat of the forbidden tree that they would be “like God” when God had ALREADY created them “according to His likeness” (Genesis 1:26). This goes to show how raggedy and audacious Satan really is. He dared approach the very first of mankind who prior to him knew absolutely no sin, and he actually had the nerve to tempt JESUS!
So what does this mean for little ol’ us? What does this mean for Cardi?
Satan’s still prowling about today to see whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8), and I’d confidently posit Cardi’s an appealing target. Cardi’s repeatedly admitted that she’s out here for the sake of making “shmoney moves” and being a "boss". Her focus is her “guap”. Money, power and respect are her aim, and the “god of this age” is pleased to oblige.
Jesus already knew who He was and the inheritance that belongs to Him. Those of us in Christ, by God's grace, have come to know who we are and the inheritance that belongs to us through Him. But the Cardi B's of the world usually don’t, which is why Believers should be quick to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ (not Catholicism) with her and those seeking to be like her. For the past year we've praised this young lady's rise to fame and taken care to validate every fiber of her being, as if worldly success and man's acceptance is the pinnacle of one's existence- as if moth and rust can’t corrupt (Matthew 6:19-20). Most folks seem to want to see Cardi "win", and that desire seems noble. But they don’t realize or care that she stands to lose her very soul in the process.
“GOD BROUGHT ME TO THE STRIP CLUB TO SAVE ME” ~ CARDI B
The temptations of Satan are the "lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life "(1 John 2:16). He appeals to the carnal desires of men to lead them away from the revealed will of God for their life. It sends people down a path of chasing and becoming ensnared by materialism, job titles, fame, fortune, popularity, and boasting in or relying on their own ingenuity to get by in life rather than truly depending on God, no matter if it is 'God' they thank along the way.
Cardi's testimony on her rise to success highlights these themes.
While she doesn't have to dance now, Cardi continues to glory in her past as a stripper, largely because she says it's what opened up many of the doors through which she's currently walking. She met her current manager when she was a dancer. She's using her newfound influence to launch a one-woman crusade of sorts to change society's "stigma" toward exotic dancers. She even credits God for her stripping career, sharing that God brought her to the strip club to save her. By this she means to provide for herself - to put food in her stomach and pay her bills, not to come to Christ. Cardi admits that she had another job prior to becoming an exotic dancer, but says it wasn’t cutting it for her so she believes God put a stripping opportunity in her way.
Of course, we know that a) God is wholly against sexual immorality (see the whole Bible), b) God says if a man so much looks at a woman with lust he’s already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28), and c) God’s grace works to lead us out of sin, out of sinful environments, out of danger, out of harm’s way - out of temptation. For it is written: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). “Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:13-15). So it doesn't seem likely it was God who led her into the exotic dance profession or strip club environment, even for the sake of providing her daily bread. The adage may say, "God works in mysterious ways," yet God is clear in His word that He doesn't work in ways that contradict His revealed will or nature.
"I PRAY TO GOD EVERYDAY FOR ME TO BE WHERE I'M AT" ~ CARDI B
Nevertheless, Cardi considers herself a strong Christian with a close, personal relationship with God. She says she talks to God everyday, noting that she's even liable to begin cursing while talking to God because she tends to get emotional. On her new album she mentions that she prayed to God for her career and sees her current success as His response. In fact, she notes that the Lord told her she was "made for this". But I'm inclined to ask: Made for what, exactly? Producing music which glorifies whoring, stripping, materialism, violence and all of the usual immoral rigmarole found in much of mainstream rap/hip-hop? Living a public life in sin and repeatedly boasting to millions about how much she fornicates? Would a holy God truly tell someone they were made for that?
While it's great that she sees the value in praying to God everyday, the problem comes in with her conception of God and prayer. By Cardi's own words its clear her faith is based on a generic, worldly view of God rather than who He reveals Himself to be in His Word. She worships a "god" who allows her to live in sin and do as she pleases, as long as she checks in daily. That is a god of her own imagination, for the God of Scripture does not co-sign a single thing she presently represents. Cardi B is an unrepentant sinner. This isn't me making a pharisaical statement. It's a statement of fact based on the preponderance of the empirical evidence SHE makes widely available daily. God is clear that He doesn't hear the prayers of sinners (let alone prayers laden with profanity); "but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him" (John 9:31). Second, merely "talking to God" is not what makes one a strong Christian, it is LISTENING to Christ, FOLLOWING Him and being a DOER of His Word that demonstrates one knows Christ and is known by Him (Luke 9:23; John 10:27-28; James 1:22-25). It’s by abiding (living) in Him through His Word (the Scriptures) that makes one a true disciple of Jesus (John 8:31).
God IS NOT the author of Cardi’s massive and explosive rise to worldly success, especially when it rests upon glorifying everything He condemns. It violates His nature and what He’s already told us about His will for those who love Him.
"I'M LIVIN' MY BEST LIFE...MADE ME A COUPLE OF M'S, YOU KNOW"
~ CARDI B
Like others, I also want to see Cardi win. Yet, my prayer is she comes to achieve true victory through Jesus Christ. I pray she truly come to know God’s will for her life, which is to repent and Believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 1 Peter 3:9), to come to the knowledge of and understand His truth (1 Timothy 2:4); to be sanctified out of sexual immorality and toward the image of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4; Romans 8:29); and to be joyful and thankful and in communion with God always in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Sadly, however, I'm sure Cardi and her fans won’t see anything I’m saying because they’re too blinded by her “glow up”. According to Cardi, she's out here living her “best life”, citing her money, celebrity status and new cars as evidence, which is really sad in the grand scheme of the Gospel. A Christian’s “best life” isn’t to be realized on this side of eternity. This world is fallen, everything in it is perishing, and in the end the Lord will set it ablaze and lay it bare (2 Peter 3:10; 1 John 2:16). Satan has a limited amount of time to build his kingdom so he’s going to throw whatever tactics he can at the lost at rapid fire - false religions, social strife, fame/fortune, it doesn't matter. He's attempting to KEEP as many on his side as possible . But Satan’s end is the lake of fire, and anyone living this life playing by his rules will be right there with him.
As pastor and writer John MacArthur once stated, “The only way you're living your best life now is if you're going to hell.” Indeed, a Believer’s best life will be our eternal life with Christ, in whom we placed our faith. Thus says the Lord, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9). If one professes to know and truly trust Christ, they can rest in this promise and won't assume anything in this life is truly the best they'll ever know of or receive from God.
"...WHAT'S THE CATCH, JESUS?" ~ CARDI B
It's been a whirlwind of a year for Cardi B. Correction. It's not even been a full year as her debut single dropped only 10 months ago. This past week alone gives us a glimpse into her overwhelming success: Cardi B's enjoyed a certified-gold album release, a celebrated pregnancy, an endorsement from Oprah and Ellen, high-profile appearances on SNL and Jimmy Fallon, and she's among the top trending topics on Twitter. She's also slated to perform at this weekend's Coachella festival. To the undiscerning "God's plan" is all up and through her affairs. But the evidence suggests that Cardi's presently a slave to her own fleshly desires and remains subject to the seductive influence of satan's temptations. Even she's sensing something isn't quite right. After dropping $240,000 cash on a new Bentley a few months ago, Cardi made a video expressing her elation that everything in her life is going so well, though she's concerned things are going a little too well. "What's the catch, Jesus?," she asks. She then quickly resigns to the belief that He's just showing her He loves her.
There is a reason it’s easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). “Success” is a powerfully seductive snare. It can take anyone down as it tempts them to set their mind on earthly things when God’s plan is to prepare His people for eternity with Him. I can only imagine the effects of success when it comes at you seemingly overnight - especially if it's something you've always wanted! But if we want Jesus Christ more than the things of this life, God is faithful to provide for us and help us deny the flesh, follow Christ and live a life that pleases Him (Matthew 6:33; Luke 9:23; Philippians 2:13).
BE CAREFUL: IT'S NOT A THREAT, IT'S A WARNING
The purpose of this piece hasn't been to condemn Cardi B, but to use her case as a cautionary tale. This is a general warning for those who may envy her life or be tempted to follow in her footsteps. If you consider yourself a faithful Believer in Christ, know that worldly success is a major stumbling block to your ability to legitimately follow Christ. It is a real threat to your very soul (Mark 8:36). This isn't to say that Christians can't know any type of success - but the success we enjoy comes through living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Joshua 1:8; Matthew 4:4). This is "good success". We don't have to manipulate situations, compromise our faith, or sin to get ahead. If we submit all our ways to the Lord, He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6).
As for the wicked who prosper in their way, they should never be envied for their prosperity is only for a little while, and it serves to lead them to their own destruction (Psalm 37; Psalm 73; Ecclesiastes 8:13-15).
Cardi has professed to be a Believer in Christ. Yet her fruit isn’t reconciling with this claim, thus I’m left to conclude she's not a born again Believer and still belongs to the world. This means she remains a slave to her own fleshly desires and is subject to the demonic principalities at work in this world. Whatever zeal for the Lord that may reside in her heart, I would humbly appeal to that and compel her to repent and sincerely turn to Christ. Yet if she's intent on going her own way, she must know that she's traveling down a dangerously slippery slope, and she's truly the one who needs to be careful.