I heard a story at church today about a man name Joe. Joe was a thug to say the least. He drank, did drugs, and held his own in the streets. Those around him fearfully respected him. But one day, a friend of Joe’s began to notice a change in the way Joe behaved. He wasn’t drinking. He’d stopped doing drugs. He responded to people differently. And he was avoiding a lot of the trouble that usually found him. This friend, curious to the cause of the change, followed Joe to church, and when the pastor held the altar call at the end of service, Joe’s friend ran to the altar, grabbed the preacher’s legs, and said, “I want to be like Joe.”
The pastor was confused. “You mean Jesus,” he said.
Joe’s friend responded, “I don’t know Jesus, but I know Joe! I want to be like Joe!”
One of my favorite sayings is, “You are the only Bible that some people will ever read.” That phrase sticks with me because it reminds me of my responsibility as a child of God. I must live a life that shows others who Jesus is and what God’s Word says. The way I conduct my day-to-day life should inspire others. They should desire to follow me as I follow Christ.
I began to truly seek God’s face once I graduated from college in 2004. And many of the people around me will testify that they saw a dramatic change in the person I was in college and the person I became post-college. It felt wonderful to know that others were noticing the growth of God in me and that His light in me was inspiring others to seek Him as well. But as of lately, I’ve been feeling a press from God to make even more changes in my life.
While the changes I’m feeling pressed to make may not appear as dramatic as the one’s I initially made in 2004, they are much, Much, MUCH more difficult for me. The changes have to do with forgiving people who have wronged me, treating others well despite their flaws, and loving people as God does—basically becoming a manifestation of God’s love on earth. That’s extremely difficult for me because I am a passive-aggressive, vengeful person by nature. I find joy in letting those who have wronged me know that they’ve messed with the wrong chick. And I have a talent for cursing people out (sometimes without even using profanity)!
So I am at a crossroad at life. I can indulge in the things I enjoy and be who I am by nature, or I can force change, so that I continue to illustrate the life God intended His children to live. Many may say, “That’s easy! Go God’s way!” But it’s never easy to change the very nature of your being. Do you realize how many prayers of repentance I’m going to have to pray for the many slip-ups I’m sure to have on my journey of loving like Him?
Despite all of this, I’m up for the challenge. I’m going to do what I have to do to love like Him, so I can continue to get my follower count up. I want those around me to run to a pastor and say, “I want to be like Kia” because I am well aware that I’m the only Bible many people will ever read.
One of the best moments of my life came when I called my friend complaining about my journey of abstinence (which is a WHOLE ‘NOTHER BLOG!!! 🙂 ). She basically told me, “Kia, you can’t stop because you are my inspiration. If you can do it, I know I can too.” In that moment I felt I had accomplished God’s mission. I want that feeling again! It’s that feeling that causes me to be completely dedicated to living a life that inspires others to live like Christ despite the sacrifices that accompany the lifestyle.