“Haiya! I am serious! You guys think I am joking?”
You would hear this kind of statements from many young people today. A statement filled with some ‘woishe’ kind of felling, as we say it in Kenya. A feeling of helplessness bundled with uncertainty and maybe shame in the outskirts of it. Many young people seem to be caught-up in what they would call ‘ignored passion’. Why is ignored? Because, for them, they are ‘seriously’ trying to share something to their friends that is of critical importance but their friends are not just getting it. They are mocked at times and other times they feel like they are being persecuted and suffering. Well, maybe we need to dig in a little deeper into what the situation, more often than not, looks like. For, if my friends do not always take me seriously- and not just one or two but most of them, then I need to step back and ask myself why? Why would they not take me seriously?
SHEEP AND WOLF
We are all familiar with the sheep and the wolf. They are all animals used in the scriptures to point out to two distinct characters. One is of the foolishly obedient type. The sheep. This animal is a pointer of the harmless, foolishly and unquestioningly obedient, humble, content type. They do not disturb like their cousins the goats who would rather be high in dangerous heights finding how steep the balance can get. Sheep, in real life, is very easy to manage. As long as it has food and the shepherd’s voice is not rare, they are all okay. They also walk together in their flocks and tend to keep it narrow and basic. In fact, the Bible tells us that when we become members of the body at salvation, the great shepherd brings us in to his fold. We are the sheep who hear his voice, he knows us and we follow him. I have never heard anywhere of a sheep that was stubborn or life threatening. At least not in the years I have lived.
The other animal, the wolf, is known for all the wrong things. Wolves walk in a pack and are always looking out for something to kill and eat. They are not gentle by nature and unless otherwise, they are wild and ready for bloodshed. Wolves get very furry and unless you see their long pointed ears and long waggling tails, you would actually almost confuse them for sheep! They have pointed mouths, which make them distinct and of course, their long legs for chasing and canines for tearing into flesh. In essence, they are too different from the sheep and the Bible uses them as animals of disguise. They masquerade as sheep among the fold so that they can tear a flesh or two unnoticed. Wolves are not shepherded for they are wild and they definitely do not have the same body smell like the sheep.
When a sheep is among other sheep, the sheep will know their own, the same way the wolves will know their brother among them. In their own packs and flocks, they can never in deception because something must sell them out. Either their smell, their body features of something. It must always play out. There is therefore no way that a sheep can try to prove to a wolf anything. It does not need to. Why? Because if it is a sheep the wolf must know it. And if it is a wolf, the sheep must know it. What is the point here?
BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS
When we became believers, a miracle happened in us. God took the old heart out and gave us a brand new one. That means that he changed our attitudes, desires and character. 2Corinthians 5:17 says that we became a new creation. At the core of our existence, we are brand new and not just refurbished. Someone who is born again and has new desires and attitudes and character does not need to go out there trying to prove their newness. Who needs to be told that a car is new? If it is new, it is new! It will look like it, smell like it and sound like it. But if it is old, we will know it, and no outer mechanics can change the fact that it is old. On the other hand, those who are not in Christ are dead in their trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1-3. They have no capacity to act as if they are alive. They smell dead, look dead, act dead because they are dead. They know their own dead when they smell them and when they hear them and when they see them. They share the DNA of the dead! When a wolf does not understand wolf language then the wolf is not a wolf! When a sheep does not understand sheep language then it is not a sheep. When a sheep starts understanding wolf language and vice-versa such that the wolf has no conviction for change then the wolf is not really the problem. Why? Because the wolf knows a pretending sheep when it sees one!
When the spiritually dead fail to see the reality of being alive, it is because of two things. One, that their eyes have been darkened to the light of the Gospel’s glory. This is not something a man can do. They need a miracle of faith! God must work in them to make them alive together with Christ. But secondly, God has designed life such that our lives are the very witness and testament to the Gospel that saved us. When people walk with us and they are dead in sin, they need to smell the scent of life and see the light of the Gospel in our character and lives. This is what will poke them to want to move from the dead to life. Not us, but the light that our lives have been shining. 1Peter 2:11 calls us sojourners, alien, passers-by, and urges to live like it. It is this kind of expression of faith that makes the above statement melt away!
Friends, people will not take seriously if, when they are with us, all they see is who they are as well. Unbelievers will not take our message and us seriously if they do not see the difference. When we walk like them, talk like them, laugh at what they laugh at, act hopeless and helpless like them, and how do we expect them to be like us? How will they see the light if the light we claim to have is as clear as their darkness? Convincing, ‘woishe’ like words will not help at all. We were saved not to go and try hard to prove the seriousness of our message but so that we seriously live out the message and the people will see the seriousness of it. So yeah. My friends will not take me seriously if what I am claiming to offer is not something that has gripped me as their sin has gripped them. If I am not consumed with and in the life of Christ, I should not expect the glories of Christ to shine before the unbelievers. My friends will not take the Holiness of God seriously if in me they see filthy mouthed and sin entertaining person who acts without fear of the sovereign. They will not see the need to run away from the Wrath and judgment of God if in me they see a person is compromised, licentious, and callous. They will not see their true state as Sinful and Rebellious against God if all they see in me is someone who has no boundaries and has an opinion and way out of every circumstance especially in things; they consider part of their world. They will not take you seriously if all they see in us is someone who does not see the need for Repentance before God. If they do not see me deliberately walk away from the path leading to death, then they will not take repentance seriously. What we are saying is, if our friends will take us seriously, much as we need pray that the Lord would remove the veils from before their eyes, let us also purpose to model to them the gospel in our lives. When the Son is lifted up, it is not a question of if but of when, in regards to drawing men away from sin and to himself is concerned.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16