A thing I've been thinking about more and more lately: what exactly qualifies me two write devotionals and try to lead people to God? Who am I that anyone should listen to me regarding getting closer to God, when I myself feel like I'm running through a dark forest, looking for just a glimpse of light? I realize that I'm under qualified, inexperienced and sometimes (most times?) just plain selfish. Who am I to be a role model? I never chose to be one in the first place. (Not that I think anyone out there in internet land looks up at me or anything, but there's some kids at church for whom I feel slightly responsible in a “role model? sort of way)
God's Word tells us in 1 Timothy 4:12 that the fact that we call ourselves Christian, makes us automatic role models:
"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity.” (ISV)
Not only those in the spotlight like musicians, actors, teachers, preachers, etc. have this responsibility, but each of us, even when were young. You can have Bono helping kids in Africa, Mother Theresa doing her thing, TB Joshua healing people in Nigeria or whatever ” if people don't see Christ in you, they will never believe that Jesus is God and that He is raised from the death. People like to identify with others; look at a glimpse of our future:
Rev 12:11: "they [the Christians] conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life even in the face of death."
People don't want to hear you preach (except Christians ” who need it), they want to hear your story (testimony). They want to know why you choose to be a Christian, live pure and actually believe all these weird things (a guy dying on a cross, back from the dead, lifted to heaven only to come back and judge those who are living and those who already died ” it does sound bizarre, but when you have the Holy Spirit in you, it makes sense). A lot of people think their testimony is too boring, but remember, most people's lives are pretty boring! People find it hard to identify with someone who used to do hard drugs, lived a life of crime and corruption, smoked 10 packets of cigs a day and only then coming to Christ miraculously at the age of 8. Your story will be cool to those around you and it will make them want what you got.
It's a truth I recently learned. I will try and help people with the little that I experienced so far in life. True, you can definitely help others by reading books on subjects they are struggling with, but don't go around and claim to be the authority on the issue (like I have done so many times in the past ” please forgive me!!!)
So, go out and be real. Tell people what you believe and how you came believing it. Let your Christianity shine from the inside. I personally (and this is how I feel) don't like those T-shirts/stickers/badges that proclaim to the whole wide world that I'm Christian. I recently saw a guy with a big black pentagram on the rear window of his car, a bumper sticker that says “Your God has failed us? and license plates that read “Pagan000? or something. I have to think to myself, what is this guy trying to prove? It looks kind of silly anyway and I think most people thinks he is insane. But what then do average people think of Christian “labels?? I make mistakes on the road, I don't want people to point a finger at the guy with the Jesus-fish sticker. I get angry/annoyed in packed Saturday morning shopping malls. I don't want people to point to the angry dude in the Christian T-shirt. I don't have an agenda against this merchandise, I just wish Christians (and I include me at the top of this list) would stop acting holy, but start being holy.
I think that's enough for today. Don't make idols out of people, chances are they will disappoint you. I used to be very judgmental (sometimes traces of it will still surface) and I'm very ashamed of it. For example, I used to judge bands on whether their “Christian enough? by my standards, without giving a second thought on what these guys are going through. I still won't indulge in music that blasphemes Christ, or have dark/negative content, but I will not stick my fingers in my ears and run away from it either. (I wanted to end the devo here, but I have too much to say!!!) Imagine this: a guy's entire life is total waste. He was beaten as a kid, molested as a teen and been around bad company most his life. He has no relationship with Jesus Christ and this whole Christian thing seems just like Buddhism which he tried before, but didn't do anything for him. Then he realized he is good at making music, he spills his guts out in a recording studio (tells people how he feels ” not… yea…) then releases the album. Then those Christians come and shred the only thing he was good at to bits! And they are the ones with compassion?!
Depressing music to me is a cry for help. I guess some people out there are just plain aggressive towards God, but we need to pray for them rather than taking offense and being aggressive in return. I say it again, I choose not to indulge in other's misery, nor will I buy an album that makes the Holy Spirit sad, but I will not cower in a corner and throw stones at people who hurt deep inside.
But then, like I said, who am I that you should listen to me? All I can give you is the Word, and show you how it applied to my life so far, and I encourage you to do the same.