Do you know who is watching you? Sometimes I forget that I have chosen to live my life under the watchful eye of others. Mostly because I never directly chose to be a “public figure.” In the very beginning of my journey, it was a hard thing for me to deal with because of the criticism it earned me from those closest to me who claimed to believe in me. I was leveled with heavy accusations of trying to promote myself over Jesus. Ironically, all I was doing was sharing my faith in Jesus with others.
My message has always been a simple one and it has never been, “Look at me!” For almost twelve years now, it has always been, “Look at Jesus!” I made a simple decision back in 2006. That God could have my life to do what He wants with it. Not that God needs our permission to do what He wants with our lives. He is sovereign and our Creator. Our lives are already His to do with as He pleases. Whether we like it or not. The apostle Paul really drives this point home in Romans 9 with an argument that most of us don’t like:
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?: On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say tot he molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? – Romans 9:19-21
We get so caught up in the argument over predestination when we look at this verse that we forget all about Paul’s point. Is God not the potter? Are we not just His clay? As the potter does He not have the right to do what He wants with His clay? We would not even exist our Potter hadn’t chosen to breathe life into His pottery. We would just be lifeless lumps of clay sitting on God’s pottery shelf. He has every right to do whatever He wants with all the 7.6 billion lumps of clay He is currently allowing to live on His earth. If that offends you then you need to check your faith.
Eleven years ago I sat in jail, under the impression that I would spend the rest of my life in prison, and told God that my life was His to do with as He pleases. Not because He needed my permission. But because I realized how foolish it was for me to ever think that I had any claim to do what I want with my life. Every decision I’ve made since then has never been because I wanted people to look at me. But because I was willing to lay down my ridiculous claims to my life so that my life could be used to cause people to look at Jesus.
When I chose to become a church planter it wasn’t because I wanted to plant churches that glorify Joseph Sterling. It was because I was convinced that planting churches is the most effective way to proclaim the glory of God in the gospel of Christ in both word and deed. When I started this blog it wasn’t because I wanted people to go, “Look at Joseph!” It was because I love to write and wanted a creative outlet for my writing. I could’ve done anything with this blog and my writing. But I chose to use my love of writing and this creative outlet to proclaim God’s love for us by sharing my life and faith with complete strangers around the world.
When I chose to publish Slaying Goliath it wasn’t because I wanted people to look at me. It was because I believed it contains a message and tools that can help people become the giant slayers God is calling them to be and change the world right where they are using tools they already have at their disposal.
In all honesty, in every decision, I never once thought about the fact that making those decisions was going to cause people to look at me. Because the cry of my heart has always been, “Look at Jesus!” All this reminds me of something Paul told the Corinthians:
“For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.” – 1 Corinthians 4:9
I can’t recall any record in the Bible of the apostles saying, “Lord! Make us a spectacle to the world!” No. They just realized and accepted what most of us will struggle with till the day we die – that their lives belonged to Jesus to do with as He pleased. They lived in abandonment to this truth and as a result became a spectacle to the world. But unlike most of us Christians today, they didn’t try to be a spectacle to the world. They were just obedient followers of Christ living out their faith.
I was reminded of all this recently through a message from one of my cousins. He had messaged me asking for help with something and it took me over two weeks to get back to him. When I responded I apologized for the delay and he said, “I know you been making moves so I know you weren’t blowing me off. You are doing God’s work so I understand.” The part about me “making moves” made me laugh. I’ve never seen myself as “making moves.” I guess that is what I’m doing but I’ve only ever seen myself as a regular guy living out my faith. It just so happens that has made me quite a spectacle to some people.
But his words were a reminder. I read it and thought, “Oh yeah, people are watching me.” I seriously forget this on a regular basis because I’m busy “making these moves.” The thing is, we’re all being watched by somebody. Our influence always extends further than we realize. Sometimes it extends further than we want it to or further than we want to admit. Do you know who is watching you?
I don’t think God is asking all of us to become a spectacle to others. But we are all a light in the darkness and our light was never meant to be hidden. Be true to your faith in all that you do and let your light shine. Because people are watching you.