Thursday, May 2, 2013

Self-Proclaimed "Jesus Freak"

What are people thinking about me?  Do they like me?  Do you get hung up on other people’s opinion of you?  Does this affect your self-worth?

I’ve struggled with this all my life.  I’ve always been concerned with people’s opinion of me.  I try to pretend it doesn’t bother me, but the truth is it does.

One area I really struggle with is sharing my faith. 

Remember the lyrics from D.C. Talk’s Song “Jesus Freak”…

“What will people think
When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it’s true?”

I grew up in a small rural community in Manitoba.  There was a large Mennonite population in the community and they weren’t afraid to talk about God. 

They were frequently teased and ridiculed and I learned early in life that people make fun of you if you talk about your religious beliefs. 

This perception stuck with me throughout my teenage years.  I was an easy target for teasing and bullying, so the last thing I wanted to do was add fuel to the fire by saying I was a “Jesus Freak”.

Old habits are hard to break.  This is one that’s plagued me into my adult life.  Here are a couple of things I struggle with…

Saying grace before a meal in a public restaurant
Talking openly about my faith to someone I’ve just met

Can anyone relate to this?

This morning I caught myself again…

I arrived at work early to have quiet time to read my Bible and pray before the craziness that is “the day” set in.  I was sitting on the couch in my office with my door closed. 
Here's the problem, there’s a window running vertically beside the door, making me feel like I’m the dog in a pet store window that people stare and point at as they walk by.

I started praying but my mind tricked me into feeling as conspicuous as a plucked turkey the day before Thanksgiving!  And I work at a Christian radio station!  Other than church, where else would you expect to see someone praying?!?

Why are we so worried about what people think instead of what God thinks?

Jesus has some words on this topic that are hard for some of us to hear.

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”  Luke 9:26 (NLT)

Now that’s stops you in your tracks!  What kind of relationship do I have with Jesus if I’m ashamed to admit it?  If I don’t recognize Him in my life, will He recognize me in eternity?

Jeremiah has some thought provoking words to share, too.

“…Use words truly and well.  Don’t stoop to cheap whining.  Then, but only then, you’ll speak for me.  Let your words change them.  Don’t change your words to suit them.  I’ll turn you into a steel wall, a thick steel wall, impregnable.  They’ll attack you but won’t put a dent in you because I’m at your side, defending and delivering.  God’s decree.  I’ll deliver you from the grip of the wicked.  I’ll get you out of the clutch of the ruthless.”  Jeremiah 15:19-21  (The Message)

Here God says to Jeremiah, don’t tell the crowd what you think they want to hear.  You speak what I tell you and let it change them, don’t let them change you.  And He promises to protect Jeremiah from attack and ridicule.

It’s good advice for me to remember.  What about you?  We’re here to please God, not to please people.  What people think of us shouldn’t matter nearly as much as what God thinks of us.  That’s what’s truly important!

Things To Think About…

How do you share your faith with those around you?  Are you afraid of what people will think if they know about your faith?  Are you comfortable saying grace in a restaurant, or praying in public?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

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