Remember, You're a Christian
When I was in high-school, even though I was a marginal athlete at best, I enjoyed sports. I played basketball for my small Christian school. We played 50 games a year and participated in at least six statewide tournaments. My last two years we won 2nd in the state among Christian schools.
Which, combined with $5 will get me coffee at Starbucks. Honestly, we weren't world class athletes and none of us were going to the NBA. But to me, basketball was life. And so every single game I played was the most important thing. I may not have been a great athlete, but I was incredibly competitive. Even in pick-up games on Saturdays that meant nothing.
Often the fierce competition on the court brought out the worst in my attitude and temper. I remember often playing mad. Mad at teammates that wouldn't pass the ball. Mad at the other team for taking what I thought were cheap shots. Mad at myself for not being better. Often my temper would boil up and I'd say whatever came to my brain, regardless of who heard.
But then one day, during a pickup game in college, something dawned on me. Will this game really matter in five years? In five days? In five hours? No, it wouldn't.
But the way you act will be remembered, especially if you're a jerk. It was the subtle whisper of the Holy Spirit. And from that point on, during basketball, I've tried to watch my testimony to ensure that I'm not acting like a goof. I haven't always passed this test, but I've matured and am still growing.
Now you may not play basketball. You may hate sports. But in the arena of life, when you're away from church and in a situation that brings out the worst in your character, how do you act and react?
Here's something I often tell myself, Remember, Dan, you're a Christian. Remember, you represent Christ. You are supposed to be . . . different.
That means when a driver cuts you off, you don't swear and flash a guesture you'll regret. Because you're a Christian.
That means when you're in the neighborhood and people are saying stuff, you don't join in and say something you'll regret. Because you're Christian.
It means you forgive. You don't hold grudges. You love. You serve. It means you are the one kid who isn't cursing out the teacher in school, who is not posting objectionable things on Facebook, who doesn't treat waitresses and airline ticket agents and referees and customer service people in a way that demeans their character.
It means that you're different. Here's a question that haunts me often. If someone walked into a basketball game in which I was playing, would they see anything different in me (beside the fact that I'm out of breath, out of shape, and missing all my shots?)?
If they scanned my Facebook page, followed me on Twitter, or, even could see the way I treat those closest to me, would they say, Yeah, he's a Christian.
God calls us to live and act and think differently. So just because you have a right to do something, just because everyone else would expect you to do something, doesn't mean you do it.
Because, after all, you're a Christian.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.