Make Up Your Own Mind
Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:11
I have several lessons that I apparently must learn repeatedly. Maybe I’m thick in the head or maybe I’m just stubborn, but either way, I’ve been slow to learn today’s lesson. This is one of those topics that I’ve blogged about before, but evidently, I still require further growth in this area. So, here goes.
Recently, my wife and I found ourselves trapped, listening to an individual who was talking at us and just not stopping. I won’t reveal too many details, but my wife knew I was growing short on tolerance, and she could tell that my blood was beginning to boil. In my head, I was starting to rage. Shut up, shut up, shut up! My wife knows I’m not great at being patient and so she kindly gave me one of those looks that said, I know you’re frustrated, but you’re just going to have to let this one go. She was, of course, right.
There I sat, allowing this other person to control my emotions. I was angry, indulging in hateful thoughts – what I would refer to as sin. Then, I blamed this other individual for that sin. I know I’m angry, but I wouldn’t be so angry if you weren’t so infuriating. When I chose to do so, I could step back, think about what I was doing, and stop. I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to allow this person to control my thoughts and feelings. I made a deliberate choice to be joyful, kind, and loving, and I wasn’t going to allow anyone else to change that about me.
This runs in the same vein as the teaching of Christ in today’s passage. In it, Jesus challenged those in the church of Philadelphia to actively cling to their faith so that the culture around them wouldn’t change them. They were to choose, on their own, whether they wanted to follow Christ. Then, if they decided to do so, they were to do it boldly – no matter what anyone else thought.
This is a profound lesson for us. Christianity will always be counterculture. We may enjoy times of freedom while others suffer persecution, but popular culture will never follow Christ. We’ll always be pressured by the enlightened around us to compromise, changing our beliefs and our message. As followers of Christ though, pop culture and politics are hardly the places where we should be seeking eternal truth. Each of us must decide whether we want to follow Christ. Then, if we do, we must do so boldly – no matter what anyone else thinks or says.