"Are your co-workers surprised when they find out you go to church?"
Those are two questions posed in my Sunday school class this past week at church.
"Duh. That's a little obvious. I work at a Christian radio station. Helllllo! How could people NOT know??" I said to myself. And then I mentally smacked myself for being stupid.
There's a saying, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car."
Ever heard that?
It's easy to assume that I'm a Christian by the fact that I work at a Christian radio station. But, truly, what kind of representative am I to my Christian co-workers? Do they get a sense that I spend time in the Bible daily? Do they get a sense that I'm the same Christian OUT of the building as I am IN the building?
How about people who don't even know I'm on the radio at a Christian radio station? The woman at the check out counter at the Walmart in Lansdowne...does she get the feeling that I'm different? The woman at the doctor's office in Columbia taking my insurance information...does she see something different in me than the 15 people she encountered before me?
How about you? Does your church family get the sense that you're a Christian at church AND a Christian at home and at work?
As I was pondering the questions from Sunday school, these words from Jesus kept coming to mind, "But the words you speak come from the heart--that's what defiles you." (Matthew 5:18) The words that I speak come from what's inside of me. The only way for sure that I'll know what I'm putting out to people is to watch what I'm putting in to myself.
Proverbs 13:20 says, "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble." I've noticed that when I start "associating" with certain TV shows, movies, books, or music I start to get in trouble. For instance, when I watch romantic movies, I become dissatisfied with my current love life...or...um...lack thereof - ha! I start to feel upset and discontent that I don't have what the character in the movie has. I lose the perspective that IT'S JUST A MOVIE, and God has me single for His purposes. How about movies or TV shows that have heavy amounts of curse words in them? When I watch movies/TV with strong language, I'll admit those words get implanted in my brain and will pop up in my mind usually when someone cuts me off in traffic.
So, on Monday, I decided start becoming intentional about what I put inside of me. Of course, if you're serious about something, you post it to Facebook, right? Ha! Here's what I posted on my Facebook:
Whatever I say, whatever I look at, whatever I do, I'm attempting to make this my filter today. Want to join with me? "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8
I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It's like praying for patience...you'll get plenty of practice! I started running everything through that filter and was doing pretty good. That evening, Back To the Future came on - a classic movie! Some of the best pop culture lines come from that movie! Butttttt (you could tell there was a 'but' coming on, couldn't you?), I had a problem. Among other things, I guess I haven't been aware how often Michael J. Fox's character used Jesus' name as a curse. Is that admirable? Nope. Right? Nope. Lovely? Nope, nope, nope. The minute Jesus' name was used, I should have been upset. If someone was using my momma's name as a curse word, I'd be all over them!! Somehow I managed to be desensitized because it was "just a movie." I mean, it bugged me, I cringed, yet I was still having a difficult time changing the channel. After running it through the filter of the Gospel, I knew I couldn't keep watching it. So I walked away.
I'll issue the same challenge to you that I gave myself. For one week, examine the TV that you watch. Examine the magazines that you read. Examine the movies you watch or have sitting on your shelf. Examine the music that you listen to. Is it pure? Is it admirable? Is it true - does it measure up to God's standards? Is it going to encourage you in your walk with the Lord? If it doesn't line up with the Philippians 4:8 filter, don't do it. I'm on Day 4 of my filter challenge. Here are some verses that have been helpful over the four days
"Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2
"Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically." Romans 12:11
"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." Proverbs 4:23-27
I can't call myself a Christian or a follower of Christ if I'm not passionate about protecting the name of Jesus, passionate about wanting to do the things that please Him, or passionate about following what He says. I want to be overjoyed at obeying it. So, my motto for today is, "If it's not beneficial to my walk with Christ, it's got to go." That's a little something I'm working on right now. Whaddya say? Are you in? Want to join me? It's tough, but the good news is, it will make us into better people for Christ!