Messages come at you everywhere you look.
Your phone, your iPad, your android, your radio, your TV, your parents, your job, your church, your school, your home, your roommates.
Messages come at you constantly. Do you ever turn them off? Did you know that you can? When do you broadcast your own signal? Do you have a signal, something to give?
Because the world needs to hear what you have to say.
A friend messaged me on FB the other day. We’ve never met in person. But somehow our spirits connect. His post wasn’t long, he didn’t use big words, and he wasn’t trying to dazzle. It was just an honest message that encouraged me and gave me the shot in the arm that I needed to keep going, to keep writing. It was the right message at the right time.
Your words can do that for others, and you can just be yourself. You don’t have to put on a show, be a preacher, an ordained somebody, or a seminary graduate. In fact, having too much education or a title can slow you down.
Look back, learn, and then let go
You need to take hold of this truth: your mind is the gatekeeper of your soul. What goes in – and comes out – is your responsibility. The valve is somewhere in the ethers of your brain. Sure, your parents and teachers took care of that for a while, and for that you may thank or curse them depending on what you got served.
But now it’s all you. It doesn’t matter what came before. Look back, learn, and then let go. Don’t look back to wallow in self-pity; look ahead.
Brothers, I haven’t put my hands on it yet (perfection); but I do this: I no longer care about the mistakes of yesterday and I reach for the future, I storm forward to the goal, the prize of heaven’s call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3: 13-14 (White’s Revised Version, 2014)
This present moment is yours. What you do now will change your future. But you’re bigger than making life a pity party. Use the present to change your life, and bring others along with you.
Pick your own path, gatekeeper
The world is in a mad frenzy of communication these day. People serve up whatever they want, everywhere in the world. Some are sincere, but that doesn’t make them right. Others are just plain old con artists. You don’t have to listen to them. You’re the gatekeeper, remember? You choose what goes in, which will decide what comes out.
Listen carefully to this:
A good man has stored up good treasure in his soul, so he says good things. A bad man has stored up evil treasure in his soul, so he will say evil things. The mouth will speak that which abounds from the soul.
Luke 6: 45 (White’s Revised Version, 2014)
Above, I have replaced what is traditionally transliterated as “heart” with “soul”. The reason for this is simple. People know the heart is the seat of emotion that drives your reactions and responses to what life sends your way. It is more right to say that your soul is the receptacle of your treasure, i.e., that which you store up inside. It is the storehouse of memory and material that you can draw upon when you need to act in any situation.
So take care what goes in, gatekeeper. It will change you, for good or for ill. Don’t let others pick your path for you.
Change the conversation. Change the world.
Many people spend their whole lives like one-way radios, only taking in whatever signals the cosmos sends to them. Like sponges, they lap up the milk that is spoon fed to them. It’s time to grow up. There is little enough meat available in the world. We need more hunters. Get on the hunt. Fill your soul with what is good, and you’ll have something to say.
Meditate carefully on those disciplines; stew in them, and everyone will see you grow like wildfire. Pay close attention to your own convictions and to your teaching; doggedly pursue these things, because you will rescue from danger and holistically restore both you and your listeners.
1 Timothy 4: 15-16 (White’s Revised Version, 2014)
Did you hear that? Change the conversation and you will change, your friends will change – and so will the world. Your words have the power to save people from harm. Your words can heal and restore.
Your convictions matter. Meditate on what is good and true until it becomes as much a part of you as your own soul. Ask God for help in this. He will lavish you with truth as you set your mind to the task, gatekeeper.
Then, prepare to launch your message. Set up your transmission tower. Start a rock band, a class, a book, an e-group, an acting troupe, a FB page, a book club, a podcast, a forum, a blog, etc., etc. The possibilities are endless. Just get on a platform.
Or you can join conversations that are already happening – like this one. Start commenting. Speak your mind. Talk back to the gestating carnival. Interrupt the gossip, the chatter, the useless banter. Cut in on the weather, the news (what was the last good news you heard, anyway?), and sports.
Make people think beyond the norm. Some won’t appreciate it and will tune you out, but so what? Others will thank you for it.
The people of this world are too precious to let it go. Yes, God can invade and make everything romantic and utopian with the snap of His fingers. But He won’t. Because He’s counting on you to care enough to act and He gives you the brains, muscle, and mission to do it.
So what’s stopping you?
This one’s dedicated to Dev. Thanks for speaking out, my friend!