I was nine and my brother brought home yet another girlfriend to meet my mom. My brother, Brian, who was 18 at the time was never running low on the girl admirers. As the two of them sat on the piano bench, my mom tried to engage the girl in conversation. And without fail, like all the other girls, this teenage girl could not make eye contact or have an intelligent conversation with my mom. My mom, needless to say, was not impressed.
That is until he brought home Dixie. Dixie was sick with a cold that day and was wearing her pajamas and animal slippers. Despite her cold, she shook my mom's hand and was able to hold a conversation - a very pleasant one actually. Dixie and Brian have been married now 14 years.
Dixie was sure of herself. She knew who she was and that was intriguing.
Dave and I have started talking to our kids about smoking since we see people doing it all the time everywhere we go. We have told them that cigarettes are disgusting but when you try one it's hard to not keep doing it. The other day we were at my mom's house when my uncle lit a cigarette outside. Luke marched outside and said, "Smoking will turn your teeth yellow and your insides black."
Luke repeated himself with complete certainty and just stared at my uncle waiting for his response. There wasn't much arguing he could do with that kind of statement. Luke knows what he believes and it catches people off guard.
As Christians, do we know what we believe? Do we know who we are? Are we confident in our identity that we find in Christ?
Better yet, do you really believe what you say you believe? I mean, do you believe the Bible in its entirety? Or just bits and pieces that you feel seem applicable to your current situation? Unfortunately, I think the majority of people who say they are Christians are of the latter mindset.
But I challenge you - know what you say you believe. Christianity, real Christianity, believes the Bible. Nothing more, nothing less. We don't have additional books or modern day prophets who add to the Bible. We believe from Genesis to Revelation. We take the story of Jonah and the big fish with as much gravity as we take the 10 commandments.
And with the Bible, the inspired word of God, there comes power and certainty, confidence and strength.
I have noticed lately, that so many Christians portray themselves as weak, uncertain people who are easily swayed by any burst of wind - milquetoast. They talk timidly and without any smidgen of confidence. How, may I ask, is that an inviting message of the faith that will move mountains if we believe?
2 Timothy 1:7 (The Message)
And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
Phillippians 4:13 (The Message)
Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
My faith, my relationship with the Lord is at the epicenter of who I am. It directs my decisions, my actions and my relationships. If I take every word of the Bible with as much power and truth as the next - then I must know who I am in Christ...a bold, confident person who the Lord loves.
I am currently reading the book Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears. It is a great book on the fundamental beliefs of the Christian church. I read something last night that stuck out to me, "Practically speaking, we were created to live all of life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, by the Word of God, to the glory of God. We were created to live all of life before the face of God, knowing that nothing in our life is secular or separated from the sight of God because all of life is sacred. To live otherwise is sacrilege." He goes on to say, "Rather, God has bestowed upon us the amazing ability and awesome responsibility to be his mirrors on the earth, reflecting his goodness and glory to all for his glory and our joy."
(Doctrine, pg 116,119)
So with that, I urge you to be confident in what you believe. Take great joy in who you are in Christ. Be bold in sharing your beliefs with others - in love and with joy. Don't be timid and weak - for you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!