I’ll bet five dollars that you are looking at my blog just because of the title. Because it’s shocking. Don’t feel guilty. Who doesn’t love a good arresting title? We’ve all done it. Looked at something just for the shock value. Clicked on a blog thinking “Oooohhh… DRUGS!! This sounds controversial. I wonder what they’ll say!”. And to be honest, I named my blog “Drugs, alcohol and rock and roll” just so you’d read it. Please do forgive me. I’m just that devious. But hey… since you’re already here. Stick with me for a minute.
Let me make a confession… I have often felt in my life that to get the attention of the world, I have to be shocking. To really change the world, that I need to be a more… how shall I put this?… alarming person. That I need to have a big testimony, raise people from the dead, wear toms, and bewail my colored past of drugs and association with the occult. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I don’t have a colored past, I was raised in a Christian home, and I have yet to raise someone from the dead. I do, however own a pair of TOMs. I guess that’s something.
But the point is, I am not that controversial of a person. And the most shocking thing about me is probably the way my hair looks when I wake up in the morning. *sigh* I guess that’s that. I can’t be much of a world changer. I’m just not shocking enough… right?
In our media saturated culture, it seems that to be influential, we must be shocking. But here’s the deal, God doesn’t care about shock value, He cares about your heart and inward integrity with him. Whether it be a flashy testimony, or a life of loud righteousness… That’s not what counts.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.- Matthew 6:1-4
Loud acts of righteousness are all fine and good, but what God truly cares about is your HEART, your FAITHFULNESS, and your OBEDIENCE. The world will reward you for what you do in public, but God will reward you for what you do in private. The day by day decisions that make you who you are. When you choose love when it hurts, forgive when they don’t deserve it, give when you are empty, pray when it feels like it’s just hitting the ceiling. God sees every single choice you make, and will reward you for it.
“That’s all fine and good, Joyness,” You say “But, have you noticed that crowds of thousands hardly get saved by hearing a testimony about doing the dishes when you don’t feel like it. Not exactly an ear-gripper.”
I have struggled with this, being a home schooled, happy childhood, pure girl. Surely no one will be won over by my testimony, right? But here’s the thing… People don’t become Christians because of great testimonies, they become Christians because Christ is working in their hearts. It really has nothing to do with you.
Testimonies of dark pasts redeemed by Christ are incredibly powerful, and I’m not cheapening that at all. If you have a powerful testimony, me oh my! Go forth and win souls! More power to ya! But, I think the important thing to remember, is that the power of ANY testimony is God. That what makes our lives amazing is not the shock of sin, but the truth of grace. Without the call of the holy spirit, the cleansing of Christ’s blood, and grace and guidance of God… there wouldn’t be powerful testimonies!
Which leads me to exhibit B:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God”- Micah 6:8
God doesn’t call us to be shocking. He calls us to walk with Him, humbly. And when you do God will work through you, in that completely humble state. It’s okay to be innocent. It’s okay to have a “boring” Testimony. It’s okay to be just who you are. As long as you are walking humbly with God, he will use you in a miraculous way. Drugs and alcohol testimony or not.
In fact, sometimes the most influential testimony is that of a clean and dedicated life. The more I have gotten out into the real world, the more I realize that my “boring” “buttoned up” testimony is stranger than one of drugs and sex to people out in the real world. Innocence and purity is such a strange thing to our culture, that when people see it, they want it. People have never experienced the cleanness of an unmarred life, and there is nothing more appealing to many people. To be unashamedly clean, redeemed, innocent and pure is truly one of the most shocking things in our culture. If you can, embrace it! And use it to draw people into Christ.
The world wants us to be loud to get it’s attention… But when did the world ever get anything right?
To conclude. Let me tell you a story.
It was an ordinary weeknight, and I was at a Chipotle with a gaggle of friends and a couple of people I didn’t really know. I had hitched a ride with someone I didn’t really know because my car was being rude. On the ride home, after lots of taco eating, the girl I was riding with, suddenly told me every shocking thing about herself. I just sat there and listened. And nodded and listened, and loved her.
After that night, there was this connection and chummy friendship and camaraderie between us, and I believe the start to something of a healing for her. There was something shocking about that night. But it wasn’t the shock of her story. It was shocking, because God taught me, in a small way, to love like He does. Unconditionally. It shocked me. It shocked her. And that’s how beautiful stories of God’s redemption happen. It’s not the sin and brokeness that’s shocking, it’s a life filled with God and his grace and mercy.
So. If you must. Live a life that’s shocking. But just remember, that the most shocking thing in the world is letting God live through you. Walking Humbly with Him… That is more shocking than all the drugs, alcohol, and rock and roll in the world.
All for now.