Well, our week is almost over, and we’ve had two posts on faith (here, here), one on humility (here), and one on perseverance and endurance (here). Today, I have the last guest post for this week before I finish the conference, Sophie19, writing on endurance and perseverance!
“I AM NOT A WRITER. I just wanted to get that out of the way so that there would be no expectations. Not only did Ryan ask me to contribute to his one year conference, for which I am honored, but he also positioned my post AFTER several deep, well written and thought provoking theological posts. So, though I may not write as eloquently as those before me, I do have things to talk about, and thus accepted his offer.
I have what I call, “My List”. If you have ever watched Veggie Tales, then you may recall a particular episode where Larry referenced his own list, and it was an never ending assortment of things that he did not like or of which he was fearful. That’s where I got the concept from, except mine is a list of hot button items. Ryan asked me to write about perseverance/endurance, which is not really on my list except that I must endure those things which get on my nerves. If he invites me back, I’ll go over my list in detail. Despite what my family says, I’m sure I’m not the ONLY person who HATES to see people throw their cigarettes out the window. Am I right? And there’s lots more where that came from!
OK, being serious now. I have a confession. This post will NOT be about perseverance or endurance, actually. I will try to tie that in somehow to say that I gave it a shot, but, in truth, if I have a limited window of opportunity to speak to an audience of young people, I would like to be more selective in what I have to say.
Those who know me know that I abhor small talk. If something needs to be said, say it, but spare me any information that is not relevant and skip the intellectual talk. One of the tips that C.S. Lewis gave to aspiring writers was “Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one” and that is my philosophy as well.
With that in mind, I have four points that I want to present for your consideration. These are items that either I wish I had concerned myself with more in my younger years or that I have grown to see the importance of as I have grown. I have many more points, but these are the ones that you get today, and they are in no particular order of importance. And yes, they are on my list!
1. Care about current events. Do you have a credible news source that you can follow? If not, find one. (NOT CNN, N.Y. Times, Washington Post, or any other liberal slanted mainstream source.) As Christians, we need to know what is happening in the world so that we can take a stand against things that grieve God. So that we can make an educated vote for Christian politicians who will make wise and ethical decisions for our country. So that we know how to be in prayer for situations in the world. When we sit idly by, unaware or too busy to notice, Satan’s army is actively at work, and before you know it, gay marriage is allowed in our country. WE allowed that to happen, among many of the other things in our country that have quietly crept in. Also, God so loved the world, and so should we. How can we love people we don’t care about or know anything about?
2. Flee pornography. If you have not already, you WILL be faced with this. There’s not ONE GOOD THING that can come of it. It destroys lives and families. Just ask Josh Duggar. He had EVERY earthly thing one could desire, and now his life is ruined. And the whole “boys will be boys” thing is one of Satan’s lies. God has a higher standard for men and young men. He calls you to flee from immorality and to turn your eyes from looking upon worthless things. Pornography is an addictive tool of the enemy to snare boys and men, particularly Christians, to prevent them from being the Godly man they are called to be. JUST DON’T DO IT. And if you are a man or young man utilizing the internet without accountability, you are setting yourself up for failure. God provides a way out when we are tempted, but why allow a temptation that you can prevent with a filter or with a person to hold you accountable for where you go while on the internet? Your future wife will thank you, and I guarantee that that will be on the list of questions when courtship comes around in our house.
3. Know what you believe and why. This is in the top 5 on my list. Do you really know why you believe in God? If someone asked you why you believe that the Bible is real, could you tell them? Church leaders are distressed because the young people in churches are growing up and leaving their faith once they get to college. The answer, in my opinion, is really quite simple. There are many intelligent, articulate, well researched people in this world who will happily try to convince you that the Bible is a collection of fairy tales, that evolution and creation can co-exist, and that the God of the New Testament is just fine with gay marriage, and unless you have a strong, biblical foundation, you will be at a loss for how to counter their slick arguments. OWN YOUR FAITH. Do not spout what your parents have said as a reason why you believe this or that. Research it for yourself and KNOW why you believe.
4. If you want to, like, be taken, like, seriously, then, like, present yourself in a way that inspires people to treat you that way. EVERY THING YOU DO says something about you. Likewise, EVERY THING YOU DO is part of your testimony. The Bible says we are to be set apart from the world. Do you dress like the world? Are you worried about the latest trends and fashions? Do you allow modesty to take a back seat to style? Do you speak like the world? Do you allow “certain words” to season your speech just to fit in? Do not allow modern slang and filler words to dominate your speech. Watch what you say on the internet. When I want to know more about a specific person I don’t know very well, the first thing I do is look them up on Facebook and view their “likes” and their music and entertainment choices. I make a preliminary assessment of that person based upon what I find. And from what I’ve read, prospective colleges and employers are doing the same thing. Will they find someone whose likes and comments are consistent with the world’s? Likewise, if you write a blog, “little things” like spelling and grammar DO make a huge difference as to whether or not someone finds what you say credible or whether or not you come across as being lazy and not doing your best because you didn’t take the time to edit your work before posting. You are a representative of Christ and most of you probably are representatives of homeschooling. Many people already have a negative opinion of homeschooling, and you are adding fuel to that fire by not cleaning up your posts. All this to say, think really hard (and care) about what other people see when they look at you or what other people think when they hear you speak or read what you’ve written. Many unsaved people are put off by Christians who behave no differently than they do.
That’s all I have for today, folks. If you are still reading at this point, thanks for enduring this post. You are applauded for your perseverance. Ha! I told you I’d work that in.”