There are some who have a way with words. They create new worlds and give life to breathless beings simply by stringing together the perfect arrangement of letters. Places like Narnia, Hogwarts and Middle Earth feel so real you have to remind yourself they’re just words on a page.
We’re drawn to these worlds and others like them partly because they’re a way of escape. Getting lost in another land and time through inked pages allows us to remove ourselves — or our brains, at least — from the present and have conversations with heroes, wizards and talking trees. Suddenly, we’re no longer the ordinary person living that average life. We’re on the front lines fighting evil.
Putting down the book
Which makes it even harder to put the book down and return to this world of flesh and bone. While we’re reading, we have courage and honor to fight for what we believe. But while we’re living day-to-day, we have fear merely to talk about our beliefs.
Wait a second, you might think. I’m not afraid to talk about my beliefs — I post Biblical things on social media all the time and respond to a frustrating status whenever I see one! While expressing beliefs on social media is one way to start a conversation, what about your face-to-face conversations? God provides ordinary situations for us to grab hold of and glorify His Name. Like our heroes fighting evil, we are to fight against the laziness and fear that takes root when we should be using our words to praise God.
Nature is ahead of us on this one. The mere presence of God’s creation points to His power, and if trees really could talk, each sway of their branches would be in praise to God. Why are we not more like that? Why do our neighbors think we’re just “good people” instead of Jesus-followers? And why does an entire work day go by without our mentioning the Name of God once? Why are our conversations with other Christians filled more with political hate talk and gossip than with encouragement and prayer?
A few challenges
We’re commanded to go and tell the truth of the gospel. We’re also commanded to praise God in our everyday. And if we remain silent, “the rocks will cry out.” Yes, trees and rocks talking are all proverbial, but the image of nature crying out to God can stir your soul to action.
So here are a few challenges to help the courage you feel while reading about Hogwarts transfer to reality.
Pray. Every single person reading this is in a different situation. While these words speak to a general conviction, prayer is needed for you to learn what your specific fear is when it comes to remaining silent. Ask God for wisdom to know how to pinpoint areas in need of action.
Admit. We are all human, and therefore we all struggle with sin. While you may not want to admit it, deep in your soul you know there are more ways for you to praise God. Admit to yourself and confess to God the areas you don’t want to surrender to Him. Maybe you’re addicted to gossip. Or you’re shy and don’t know how to talk to your neighbor about your faith. Maybe you’re proud, and you don’t speak about your beliefs with love but rather with attacking or demeaning statements. Whatever is true of you, remember God created you to glorify Him, not for your own desires.
Act. There’s no time like the present! Once you know how you need to improve your words to glorify God more, then start. Right away, no more stalling. The longer you don’t use your words in a way to praise Jesus, the more awkward it will feel. Tell someone else what you want to work on, and ask if they’ll hold you accountable. You’re not on your own, but you are responsible for your words and actions.
Don’t use the “I’ll start my diet tomorrow” line. Don’t hold back praise or hide from the front lines. The words you read from characters in books are just that: they’re characters. Made up, created to bring entertainment. Your words live and change in reality. And that is why you must use them to praise your Savior. Because if you don’t, the rocks will cry out in your place.
Let’s Talk About It: What area of your life do you need to work on when it comes to praising God?