During our cross-country drive, we would occasionally stop for breaks. During those breaks, we’d take him out and let him do the things he needs to do. He simply loved to run and stretch his legs. I noticed he would always sniff and look around. One thing he always did was this: Almost always, he would first check out his surroundings.
This week, when you leave your house…check out your surroundings. What are you doing when you get to school (job, hanging out with friends, etc.)? First, are you gravitating to crowds that are contrary to your beliefs? Jesus associated with the disenfranchised and the lowly in stature. Yet, in doing so, He never compromised His standards, the standards of God. In this surrounding, are you the one who looks different or are you like everyone else? Remember, tolerance doesn’t mean compromising of your Christian values. You do not have to accept another person’s belief system. They do not have a heaven or hell to send you to.
Second, what language do you use when you leave? Is your language indistinguishable from those who use profanity and other colorful language? Not that you would do this but, there are people who talk differently than they do when they are around their Christian friends.
Third, are you living out the things you profess? Or, are you living the way non-Christians say you should live? Are you influencing others or are they influencing you?
Ok, we can’t as my friend Wayne Daley says, “Boil the ocean.” So, we’ll stop with these three things. Now that we’ve identified three things…what do you do about it?
- Pray for clarity
- Ask God for guidance (The Apostle Paul reminds us that we’re in a Spiritual war)
- Read your bible (How do you know what God wants if you don’t read His word?)
- Review your notes from Church (you did go to church…didn’t you?)
- Speak with your Christian friends and ask for feedback on how you’re living
- Ask for your brothers and sisters in Christ to pray with and for you
I almost forgot one thing. What do you let inside your home? Take a look at what’s on your radio and TV. In fact, check out your magazines. Do these things line up with your life style? I’ll give you an example. I was preaching in California. I wanted to drive home a point. So I decided to give the congregation something that would be seared into their minds. I received a subscription to Sports Illustrated. Because of this subscription, I was given an extra magazine. Perhaps you’ve heard of it: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Perfect! I decided to use it as teaching/preaching prop. The sermon was going well. The people were attentive. Then I pulled out that magazine. A funny thing happened after that. Heck, the entire atmosphere changed. It was so silent, I could hear what the flies were saying to each other (not really…flies don’t talk). For some reason, they didn’t think that was the type of magazine that a Christian should be looking at. Are you getting my point? I’m really not talking about whether or not you should look at that particular magazine (personally I don’t think so but that’s not the point). What I am getting at is this: Does what you read, listen to or look at match up to what you profess? James reminds us about being double-minded. Look at your surroundings. Are there “little things that don’t really matter” in your life that shouldn’t be?
Let me know how this week goes…I’m pulling for you. I want to hear about your “Incremental Victories.” I taught my subordinates about being successful through small victories or incremental victories. I know you can do the same thing in your Christian walk. I truly believe you are the key to help changing the tide of evil that you see executed throughout the world. Pick up a paper or read the internet and you’ll see the evil that is being committed. However, you can show the people in your circle of influence our Lord.
Give me some feedback so I know how you’re doing.