I’ve heard it said that we should guard our reputation because in the end, it’s all we have. One wrong move and our reputation could be destroyed. But in some ways, Christians are taught to disregard reputation. We are told that we will be hated and persecuted, and that we should stand up for truth and not be ashamed of it.
Shame is such an ugly word. By definition it is “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.” It’s something that we all have experienced at some point in our lives. Maybe we made a terrible mistake or hurt someone we loved. Or perhaps we felt the shame of others pointing out our flaws and weaknesses. Regardless, none of us enjoy shame. Therefore, we all make an effort to avoid it if possible.
AFollow your heart. Be who you are. Do what makes you happy. Discover your true identity. We are bombarded by these messages on a daily basis. Our children are being raised in a culture that preaches these messages in nearly every outlet they are exposed to.
On the surface, these messages are good and wholesome. I want my daughters to be the best they can be. I desire their happiness and success. And I would love to see them discover something they love and excel at it. There is just one problem…
When it comes to our true identity, there is a big difference between being who you are and being who you were created to be.
We all enjoy a good story. Books, television, and movies all prove this point. Whether it be romance, science fiction, drama, etc. – as long as the story is good, we generally enjoy getting to know the characters and the plot. Perhaps we love stories because we can identify with them. Or maybe we simply enjoy being entertained by them. Either way, a good story will draw us in.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul presented a metaphor that would shape the way Christians view spiritual battle – the act of putting on spiritual armor. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. The helmet is often the final piece of armor a soldier puts on before marching out into battle. Yet without it, the rest of the armor seems somewhat pointless. If your head is unprotected, it will only be a matter of time before the enemy takes you down.
Lukewarm Christianity. It was a phrase I heard often growing up in the church. It’s described in the book of Revelation where God speaks to the church of Laodicea:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” – Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)
He goes on to tell them that true wealth, health and happiness come from Him alone – rather than things of this world.
Does Christianity have a future? I recently read an article asking that very question. Our world is rapidly changing. We are taught to question everything. And everyone wants proof. Does God exist? Are the stories of the Bible real? Was Jesus truly who He claimed to be?
Unfortunately, tangible proof is hard to come by when it comes to Christianity. Our faith is just that – faith. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of historical evidence for Christ, the Bible, the early church, etc. But there is also a lot of controversy. This also doesn’t take into account the very existence of God. For many, the God of the Bible is simply a fairy tale. Everyone has their reasons for skepticism, but in the end it usually comes down to a lack of proof. We can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that God exists. (On the flip side of that, we also can’t prove that He doesn’t…)
I love the beginning of a new year. It is such a motivation to start fresh. I find that I am suddenly motivated to start living better, and I know I’m not the only one. The start of a new year brings about New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s eating better, losing weight, or simply being a better person, the new year is a perfect motivation to make goals and begin again. Continue Reading
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be frightening. Nobody enjoys being uncomfortable. In fact, most of us despise it, and we will do anything to avoid it. The truth is, however, that our comfort zone can actually be the most dangerous place to be. Why you ask? Because when we are too comfortable, there is no inspiration to grow or move forward. We become content with where we are at in life. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing…it’s not exactly a good thing either. Continue Reading
What comes to mind when you think of Moses? Maybe the phrase “let my people go” comes to mind. Or perhaps you recall how he parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross over to safety. We remember the great moments of his life, but what about the not so great moments? Moses wasn’t always the great leader of the Israelites that we remember. He began his life just like you and me, and he had his fair share of ups and downs. Continue Reading
So much of life is what we choose to make of it. How we see ourselves and the world around us truly impacts the life we lead. While I was online the other day, I couldn’t help but notice all of the inspirational quotes that people shared through social media. It seems that everyone is looking for a little inspiration. We know that staying positive can change our outlook on life; but when push comes to shove, it can be difficult to not be brought down by the people around us or difficult circumstances we encounter. Continue Reading
Are you a follower of Christ? It’s a simple yes or no question. In Matthew chapter 26, it was a question that Peter couldn’t answer. Of all people, one would think that a disciple of Jesus could have answered that question with ease. He had walked and talked with Jesus. He had witnessed all of his miracles and teachings. Yet when put to the test, he failed. Peter could not identify himself as one of Christ’s followers. Continue Reading