Thursday, May 3, 2012

Live Like That

“Live Like That” by Sidewalk prophets is a song that has really stuck with me and become a sort of running theme in my life since it was released months ago. Maybe that’s because it continues the themes of both Passion and Rekindle or maybe it’s just something God has really been trying to drill into my head during this season of my life; either way, the challenge expressed in these lyrics is both powerfully convicting and incredibly inspiring for me, and I hope it at least makes you take a minute to stop and consider what David Frey (Sidewalk Prophets’ lead vocalist) is saying here.

Sometimes I think
What will people say of me
When I'm only just a memory
When I'm home where my soul belongs

Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of us
Was my worship more than just a song

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that

Am I proof
That You are who you say You are
That grace can really change a heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don't know my name
Is there evidence that I've been changed
When they see me, do they see You

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that

I want to show the world the love You gave for me
I'm longing for the world to know the glory of the King

I want to live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You

If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back

I want to live like that
I want to live like that
I don’t know about you, but the lines that most stand out to me are the questions that he’s asking of him. He’s examining his own Christian walk, which is cool for two reasons in my opinion. One, it’s always good to remember to keep our pride in check and make sure we’re continuously living what we say we believe, as opposed to letting or lip service suffice. And two, I like that his challenge is directed toward himself instead of questioning the listener. This way, the audience isn’t a defensive posture and immediately turned off. It’s as if by challenging himself, he’s opening the door for the audience to do the same in their own lives.

So, I guess what I really want to do is go through the lyrics (mainly the questions expressed) and try to convey what’s in my heart to you guys when I hear this song.

“What will people say of me when I’m only just a memory, when I’m hope where my soul belongs?”

What is going to be my most enduring/endearing quality when I’m seventy-three and a half years old? Or better yet, what is going to be the thing that is most mentioned at my funeral? It should be the most important things about me, the things I dedicated my life to, right?

The sad truth is that most people live and die without moving anything more than the dirt it takes to bury them. I don't want the highlights of my life to be meaningless partying or hanging out, doing nothing when there's so much more I could be doing with the 50+ years that I have left on this planet.
As a Christian, my relationship with God and the advancement of the gospel should be the defining aspects of my life. What I do for God, the gospel, and my community now and throughout my life should be the things that people are left talking about after I’m gone, because those are the things that are important and lasting in such a temporal world.

“Was I love when no one else would show up? Was I Jesus to the least of us?”

I drive through downtown Charlotte almost every day on my way to work, and if you don't know, Charlotte has a decent sized homeless/runaway population that can be easily seen lining the streets. The problem is that I'll find myself avoiding acknowledgement, adjusting the radio or organizing the junk in the passenger's seat when I'm stopped at countless red lights, pretending I don't see the neediness in the faces in the crowds, ignoring "the least of us".

And it isn't just the overtly needy that are so overlooked. It's the quiet guy sitting in the back of my classroom, it's the girl I might walk past every week who is just one broken relationship away from either falling apart or embracing hope. I attend a college ministry that meets on a campus of over 22500 students, or to put a gospel spin on it, 22500 immortal souls that are going to spend eternity somewhere (to quote my pastor). I imagine there are many missed opportunities to love and share the gospel every day.
So why do I constantly let the opportunities go by? It's as simple and as tragic as dismissing the hurting because I assume that someone else will help. I wait for someone else to do what God's telling me to do. And if I'm being honest with myself, this is a sin issue that I need a lot of work and correction in.
"Was my worship more than just a song?"
In other words, am I really thinking about the lyrics behind the worship songs that I sing on a Sunday morning or a Thursday night or has it just become as routine for me as getting dressed in the morning? I don't want my worship to be absent-minded lip service when it should be about praising the king of the universe.
And I'll take it a step further and say that worship isn't just singing songs on Sundays. Worship is my daily quiet time, my prayer life, my conversations with other people. The way I live my life should be an expression of my worship to God and I don't want to be apathetic about it. My desire is to live a purpose-driven life for God.
"Am I proof that you are who you say you are, that grace can really change a heart? Do I live like your love is true?"
2 Corinthians 6:3 says "We (speaking of Christians) put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited".
As a Christian, my life should reflect the love that He showed us. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us. We cannot forget that he is a wrathful God who hates sin and must punish it...but as Christians, we are called to love the way he did. Love should be the watermark of every Christian's life. Do I love enough to lay down my life?  
I need to be the proof that God is loving by showing love to other people. And I need to be proof that grace can change people's angry, bitter, ugly hearts by being completely open with how mine has been changed. I should be a walking, talking billboard for God's love and grace, but do I really live that way? If I look just like the world, my ministry has no merit and if I'm discredited, the gospel that I'm supposed to be representing is discredited.
"People pass, and even if they don't know my name, is there evidence that I've been changed?"
 It's funny how you don't notice your life really changing day to day, but when you look back, you can see this huge difference in who you are, or when you always have that one relative every holiday that says "Oh, look how much you've grown!" and it makes you wonder how other people see you (people you see every day, people you've lost touch with, random strangers).
I just got a job at a soda shop and I've been a little overwhelmed that people somehow notice a difference in me and automatically ask if it's because I'm a Christian. And this was before they even knew who I was!
Living a life of obvious, radical discipleship is something that I've been really challenged to pursue this year, and to see fruits of that is seriously inspiring me to keep growing and being open in my relationship with God to the advancement of the gospel. I've never been more excited about anything. If I could encourage you guys in anything, it would be to pursue a relationship with God wholeheartedly, so that it projects the light of Christ into the world.
Even if people don't know who we are, there should be evidence of God's grace and authority in our lives.
"When they see me, do they see you?"
Again, as a Christian, I am to always rightly reflects God. My purpose is to point people to Him. When people see me, they should see Christ and it should be obvious. This is probably the lyric that makes me truly stop and think every time I hear this song. When I do sing it, I sing it like a prayer question to God and as a challenge to myself. It might just be one of the most important things to ask ourselves daily, "When people (random strangers, the cashier at the gas station, the family I'm serving in the restaurant, the youth kids at church, etc.), when they see me, do they see God reflected in how I'm interacting with other, in my modesty of what I wear, in my temperament.
"I want to live like that and give it all I have, so that everything I say and do points to you.
If love is who I am, then this is where I'll stand, recklessly abandoned, never holding back. "
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation".
If I am now to be characterized by Christ's love, instead of the worldly identity I had before, I need to be passionate about living like it. It's about taking an enduring stand for Christ, no matter what, not just making a one-time, spur of the moment decision. I need to stop holding back and toning down my Christian walk. Sometimes that can be as simple as not turning down my car radio so that nobody knows I'm listening to Christian music, or it can be as radical as signing up for overseas mission trip in places I know to be notoriously bad for persecuting Christians.
I want to live in a way that brings the most glory to God, regardless of what I might have to sacrifice (since any "sacrifice" I could make would pale in comparison to Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross, let's be honest). I want to be radically on fire for Christ and use my life for eternal significance.
"I want to live like that."

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