Do we show our love for Jesus in a “bumper sticker” or in how we live our life? Either way, its the example we are showing students.
Driving on the freeway today I saw a bumper sticker that said, “No Jesus, No Peace…Know Jesus, Know Peace.” Cute, I thought to myself. But it made me think, am I showing students how to love and praise and worship Jesus in bumper stickers or in the way of living my life? Bumper stickers get right to the point, but I want to be an example to students, not in sound bytes, but in the way I act in all situations. When it comes to words, I’m good and witty and clever, it’s one of my spiritual gifts. But I don’t want students to think that “God is my Co-Pilot.” He’s the pilot. Period. I’m not even worthy of being the guy who cleans the plane after a flight. Students need to see that when I get angry, I don’t start spewing a ton of four-letter words, when hard times come my way, I still praise God for what is good and try not to dwell on the bad.
I used to be the “bumper sticker Jesus” guy. I knew the right things to say, but usually didn’t put them into practice. I knew about tithing, but didn’t, I knew about prayer, but usually waited until I was in a bind before I would turn to God in prayer. I knew about the need for a quiet time everyday, but I seldom made the time for one. I’m happy to say I’m not that guy anymore. If I go a day without a quiet time I feel it, I begin to feel disconnected and I don’t like how that feels. I’ve learned to pray throughout the day, not just in the morning or when I go to bed. I want to help students by-pass the “bumper sticker Jesus” time in their life and have them put good, solid ways of worship and praise into their lives. I want to be a good example.
It’s not just about saying the right things at the right time. It’s necessary to live out what you talk about with your students. I can say “love your neighbor,” but if I don’t live that out, what good is it? It not only pushes me backward as a Christian, it shows my students that I don’t really care about what I’m teaching them. If I don’t care, why should they? Is it easy to tell people what they should do and then continue living our lives the way we want? Absolutely. But it’s not what we’re called to do. Maybe you’re not realizing that you do this. Now is the time to evaluate: am I a “bumper sticker” Christian, or am I someone that people know live out God’s Word in my life every day?
What are some steps you take to make sure you’re more than just a “bumper sticker” Christian?
Matt Reynolds and Steven Orel are volunteer youth workers at Saddleback Church. They approach youth ministry from two different generations and perspectives. Look for lots more from them in the future — for now you can follow them on Twitter and check out their previous blog posts here.