The world intensely watches Christians, especially those who are being proactive about their faith. It wants to see whether Christians are genuine or not. Like the lyrics to Sting’s song: “Every smile you fake. . . I’ll be watching you.”
One way some people avoid the glare of the world’s spotlight is to be inactive instead of proactive in their faith.
Avoiding the Spotlight
Imagine an NFL player that just barely did enough to make the team during the regular season. He would get a uniform, a great salary and benefits package, lots of travel, and the prestige of being “a pro.”
He would sit on the end of the bench, and do just enough in practice not to get cut. What he would not receive is media attention. He could dress like a pro football player on Sunday afternoons, but in his heart he would know he had nothing to say about his passion (or lack of it) for the sport.
There are Christians that live life the same way. They look like they’re on the team—they have Bibles, a great smile, and say “Amen” at all the right times. They even give money and attend Sunday school. But the main reason they joined Christ’s team was for the benefits package (primarily the fire insurance) and the reputation-enhancement. They did just enough to qualify, and stayed just active enough to appear committed. But their goal was to avoid the spotlight—to keep from having to talk about their faith in front of others.
Nailing the Interview
As new Christians, we had a “three-minute” testimony about our new-found faith. At that early point in our Christian life, that was easy—our testimony was up-to-date.
But what happens if we don’t remain proactive in our faith? What if after being a Christian for ten years our testimony is the same as it was when we first gave it? It’s the equivalent of a ten-year NFL veteran talking about the first game he ever played.
We have to be in the game on a day-to-day basis for our testimony to reveal true passion and power.
How to Get—and Stay—in the Game
First, make sure you’re on the team. As Josh McDowell said, “Sitting in church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car!” The only way to become a child of God, a member of Christ’s team of followers, is to place your faith in Him for the forgiveness of your sins, and receive His gift of eternal life (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:1).
Second, know the “playbook.” The more NFL players know their plays, the more confident they are when discussing them with the media. The Bible is the Christian’s playbook; it contains everything we need to know to speak with confidence about our role in God’s mission in the world. We need to be ready when we are asked to defend our faith (1 Peter 3:15).
Third, be ready and willing. In the film, Rudy, you heard a young man’s famous words, when asked if he was ready to play: “I’ve been ready for this my whole life.” Are you ready? Are you staying “under the Coach’s feet” so He knows you’re ready to get in the game? (Colossians 3:23; Hebrews 12:1)
Fourth, don’t be ashamed. When the world wants to know who you are and what you believe, tell them! Paul said he wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16), and neither should we be. He also said we believe with our heart, but we confess our salvation with our mouth (Romans 10:10).
Fifth, play to win. Don’t be one of those players who does just enough to make the team and get the benefits. If you’re going to play, play to win (1 Corinthians 10:31, 15:58; Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:7)! There will be plenty of people who’ll listen to your testimony if your heart and hands are really in it.
If you’re going to put on the uniform, get in the game so that when the interviews begin your testimony will be vibrant and fresh, and others will be encouraged to meet and know about your Life Coach.
Over the years, books have gotten nicer and been printed faster over the years, but the basic format has stayed the same. That is, until 1971.
In 1971, Project Gutenberg was created to make electronic copies of important books. Fast forward to 2017 when you can read books on any number of handheld, wireless reading devices.
The day of e-books is here and it is changing our world. Books are easy to access and store. You can take hundreds of books with you, stored in your pocket reader, and read them anytime, anywhere. For publishers, e-books are a dream come true: Once the original digital version of a book is available, an infinite number of digital copies can be sold and downloaded at barely any additional cost to the publisher.Our Urgency
As I read stories about sudden catastrophes and the damage they cause, I can’t help but think of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-39: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking… until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away.”
It’s possible to be in imminent danger without any knowledge of it or sense of urgency, but delay can be deadly. The word “urgent” comes from an old Latin word meaning “to urge.” It means that an event is occurring that is so compelling it requires immediate attention. To hesitate is to be lost.Traveling Light
For the last several decades, I have spent a great deal of time traveling—but the novelty of flying on airplanes wore off years ago. Now I consider flying the same way I do driving through Southern California rush hour traffic: a necessity of life.
Since 9/11, air travel has become more burdensome than ever. What used to take 20 minutes—getting into the airport, confirming your ticket, checking your luggage, and going to your gate—can now take as much as two hours depending on the airport, day of the week, and season of the year.
The changes in airport security have spawned a whole new industry: ways to help people travel light. In other words, the lighter you travel, the easier it is on you traveling through airports. Companies are teaching the traveling public how to “get there and back” with the least amount of hassle.
Looking back on The Jesus You May Not Know, are you wondering what to do with all that you learned? Today, Dr. David Jeremiah shares practical tools for building a deeper intimacy with Christ than you’ve known before.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah