Image Vs. Substance

In Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, he says, “Saul was all about image, but David was all about substance.”  He’s referring to the fact that David danced when the Ark of the Covenant entered Jerusalem while Michal, Saul’s daughter, felt contempt for him (Bible: 2 Samuel 6).  Batterson goes on to explain that Michal was the daughter of a man who was “kingly” where David didn’t worry about looking regal as he celebrated his excitement about God.

This comparison between Saul and David struck a chord deep within me.

I have someone extremely close to me who accuses me of projecting a certain image even when it isn’t the truth.  To tell the truth, I strive very hard NOT to do this, though some Sundays my smile might be strained as I fight against Satan’s desire to make me crumble under my past bad decisions.

I asked on Facebook recently if I was a complainer.  The answer ran the gamut as I expected since different people know me from different times or for different lengths of time.
But one answer made me feel good – that I was real.  I strive to be real.  It helps that I’m a preacher’s kid whose life has been told from the pulpit for the last 35 years.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been used as an illustration in a sermon because I lost count years ago.
Honestly, it’s only bothered me a few times.  It made me live a transparent life and I believe that is something that God has called me to.

I’m not a natural parent – I’ve covered this before.  I don’t need anyone jumping to convince me otherwise.  Just this morning, I came home from the bus stop to Jeff and Joe playing Sequence for Kids.  Jeff needed to go to work, so he tagged me in.  This was SO HARD for me and he laughed many times as he finished getting ready and listened to me trying to teach Joe the rules of the game.  I do not “play” with kids easily.  I love kids and can teach them with no problem – I’ve gotten some wonderful words of encouragement and love from my preschool students from last year and this year.  I can read books and teach Bible lessons and push swings, but I don’t PLAY well with kids.  I don’t imagine easily or enjoy being outside all that much.  I do love reading to my kids and watching movies with them.  I do my best, but I’m not the most natural at this game.
I’m not a fantastic wife… Catch Jeff in a moment he’s willing to be honest about me.
I am not cuddly.  I am barely affectionate. I am snippy. I am tired. I am consistently overwhelmed, yet can’t show a good reason why.  I’m not a very good housekeeper, so it isn’t chores that are wearing me out.
I love to sit and read side by side or watch movies (though I rarely want to watch something he’s picked and tend to whine about it).  I love to go places and travel and really love to experience things with him.
But I don’t fill the role of wife the way I thought I would OR how I promised to him I would.

I’m a Christian, but I’m not great at recruiting others…
Just this afternoon I came home to find rescue vehicles outside my house for the neighbor across the street.  Based on the number of vehicles and actual police cars, I deduced that this was not going to end with them reviving him from a diabetic episode.  His wife arrived and her sister-in-law rushed to meet her as they dissolved into tears.
He’s gone and all I can think is that I’m not sure I ever shared Jesus with him.  And will I be able to share Jesus with his wife as I tell her I’m sorry for her loss and take food and try to meet needs that might be there.
We’ve lived across the street from each other for ages.  They used to see the church van parked here.  There is no doubt that they know my family was a Christian family.  They might even know so much as the fact that my daddy is a preacher.  But never once have I asked them to come to church with me.  Why not?

I’ll be asking her how I can meet her needs.  I think our church as a grief group – I’m going to check and give her information if so.  I need to not just tell her I’m praying for her, but to actively talk about my faith with my neighbors – the people that I meet when I’m walking down the street.  I see these people every day and while I’m sure they’ve seen the PRAY stickers on my car, I need to be sure I witness.

As a young high schooler, we watched a movie at camp about teens who died in a car accident.  They were standing outside of Heaven’s gate and one of the teens who was going to Hell asked a teen who was (potentially) going to Heaven why she had never told him what he was missing out on.  It scared me out of my mind, but not enough to carry that fear for others…
My friends know I’m a Christian.  Heck, this political season has brought that out more than any other time in my life.  I’ve spoken my beliefs in many ways on social media – not wanting to judge anyone, but not wanting anyone to perish… but I don’t think I’ve mentioned Jesus to my own neighbors.

I don’t want to project an IMAGE.
I want to project the SUBSTANCE of God in Me.

What about you?  Do you follow Christ?  What about when it means you don’t agree with your friends or connections on social media?  What about when it makes you unpopular or brings about ridicule?
Don’t get me wrong – I believe that we should love all people – whether we agree with them or not – but are you sharing with those you love what the Bible says?  You can do that in love.  They don’t have to agree or even walk away from what the Bible says is sin.
We all know that every person who shares Biblical views is a hypocrite because we ALL SIN…
But are you projecting the SUBSTANCE of God in YOU???
Am I???

I want to conform to Christ instead of this World.  Pray for me, will ya?
Pray that I will be more worried about the substance of my life – to my husband, to my children, to my family, to my friends and to total strangers – than the image.

The road to Heaven in narrow and I want the line to get in to be long and full of people who have seen God’s evidence alive in me.

Sorry for the ramble today… pretty sure this was all over the place, but it was too much in my head and I needed to get it out.

Please pray for Joan Bailey.  She’s the wife of the man across the street who passed away this morning. Pray that I’ll be able to meet needs for her and that I’ll find a way to share the love of God in her grief.

Thanks, friends.

And for those of you who love me enough to read my thoughts even when you don’t agree with them – if you’re local to Richmond and want to come check out the church I attend, TELL ME!  I’ll give you directions and details.
If you’re not local to Richmond – I’ll help you find a church where you are.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

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