“For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will live in them and will walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ Therefore ‘come out from their midst, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the All-Powerful Lord.” (1 Cor. 6:16)
It was the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving, and we were on our way to Watkin’s Glen for our yearly end-of-the-season camping trip. With the American elections only a month away, we had fully expected to see the thousands of lawn signs we passed on the way. What did surprise me was that all the lawn signs were the same colour. The message was clear: everyone in this region planned on voting for the same candidate!
I was idly reading the signs to pass the time when we came upon a particular house. The propaganda sign on his front lawn was the same colour as all the others, and I already knew that it would say, just like all the others, “Vote for _____”. It wasn’t until we were almost past the house that I realized how wrong I was. The sign didn’t say “Vote for __________”; it said, “Anybody but ___________”, giving the name of the same candidate everyone else seemed so keen on electing!
I realized something important, then: I had almost missed the home owner’s message! With his lawn sign being the same colour and style as all the others, and with the same name highlighted in bold letters, it had been necessary to look closely to see there was a difference. I had to wonder if the home owner, who was so obviously against the candidate all the rest in the region seemed to be supporting, realized that his lawn sign might not be depicting the message he was trying to portray…
This thought stayed with me for the last 100 kilometers of our road. You see, we all portray a “lawn sign” for our souls. This “lawn sign” tells the world whose party we belong to–The Lord’s or the world’s. I belong to the Lord’s party, because I have been bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20, 7:19) and I’m covered by the blood of the lamb (Rom 5:9); and as a result, though I am in the world, I am no longer of it (John 17:16, see also 16:9). Is this the message portrayed by the “lawn sign” of my soul? Or, like the one above, is it so similar to the ones of the world that you have to really look close to see it’s different?
Am I being too harsh? I mean, so what if I dress the same, talk the same, watch the same movies and act the same as those around me. It doesn’t change the fact that I am still God’s child. And I do wear a cross around my neck, don’t I? Doesn’t that clearly tell people I am a follower of Christ?
But how close do people have to look to see that cross? And even if they do see it, will its message speak more loudly than my actions? I think not.
My mother has a wonderful expression: “actions speak louder than words”, and James says something powerfully similar: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18 ESV). I have been set apart as holy: “For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” (Heb. 10:10 NLT). If I truly want to tell the world that I am a child of God, then I need to change the colour and the style of my “soul” sign! If I want people to understand the message I wish to portray, I need to make sure the words everyone reads on my soul do not say, “I belong to the world” I need to be different!
When you look at the church at large, you see very little difference between it and the world. You see that the percentage of divorce is just as high. There are just as many rebellious kids. There are more and more incidences of couples living together before marriage. It’s like we’re saying, “Yes, we’re saved! We are forgiven, so we can go on living the way the rest of the world lives!” The problem is that this attitude puts the wrong-coloured lawn sign in front of our souls. We may be declaring that we belong to God’s party, but the world won’t notice. Our sign looks too much like the signs declaring allegiance to the orld, and instead of furthering the kingdom of God, we may actually be furthering the kingdowm of the world! Meanwhile, the Bible tells us we have overcome the world. This doesn’t mean we put a cross on the back of our car. It means we are different, set apart, that we follow God’s commands, that people can see Jesus in us.
I think I’ll try to look at my “soul” sign from a different angle from now on. I want to ensure that it looks different enough from those around me that it will be noticed. What about you?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.