My wife Susan and I love to eat out at quiet, mostly adults only, restaurants. But for breakfasts, there are usually families with young children at almost every table.
Occasionally, there are families with children who are annoying, loud, disrespectful or fighting with each other. When the bedlam becomes too distracting to ignore, my wife and I will often turn to each other and ask, “What kind of parents would let their children act that way?”
How our children behave tells us something about their parents!
I’ve often joked that if I wanted to make a jillion dollars, but probably go to hell for it, I’d produce a reality T.V. show entitled, Christians Behaving Badly.
All of us know fellow Christians, or at least people who believe themselves to be Christians, who either have, or are, behaving badly. Every pastor could name dozens of men and women, right in their church, who ought to know better who are publicly embarrassing the name of Jesus.
But, forget everyone else for a moment. Does your public life add to God’s reputation or hurt it? Does your language on the job, the kinds of things you talk about having a glass of wine, or a beer with friends, make God look good, or irrelevant? Are you one of the first people, others come to with an off-color joke, or for advice about spiritual or moral decisions?
I once spoke at a men’s retreat talking about being the kind of father that your children would automatically come to for spiritual or moral advice. One guy said to me afterwards without any embarrassment said, “My wife’s really better at that kind of thing.” To which I asked him, “How did that happen?” What in the world made him think one spiritual parent in the family is good enough?
I have a short mission statement that I try to keep on my mind daily.
The purpose of my life is to make God look good.
And the verse I based that statement on is, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
In my book, The 10 Second Rule, I made this statement;
Following Jesus is the only hope I have in living this life with purpose, energy and expectation. I hope to end my days on earth still meeting young men at Starbucks who have no interest in God, being the patriarch of my family, cheering them on to godliness, making sad people smile and the lonely – laugh, giving the poor hope, pointing men back to their families, teaching the whole counsel of God and keeping God’s reputation and mine intact.
Question: Risk asking your spouse or best friend this question. “Is there anything in my life that makes people question that I belong to Jesus?”
How following Jesus works in real life.
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