Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine who is on the verge of becoming a Christ follower. We were talking about the Bible, tossing around different reasons of why we read it, how we read it, and the different ways of applying it to our life. She mentioned that some of what she had read seemed like just stories, and wondered what the purpose to that was. I had the opportunity to share with her that God recorded these stories for us to read so that we could learn from other people's examples. She noticed that he was descriptive, he told who the person was, often times, calling them by name and where they lived. We discussed how it is helpful to read about the ways that other people succeeded in their walk with God. It is encouraging and gives us goals to strive for.
Then we began to talk about the stories that didn't seem to go so well. Some of them end up being good, like King David and his horrible choices with Bathsheba. Or Peter and his denial of Christ. But some of them are just plain horrible. What about Judas? Things didn't turn around for him...he committed suicide. We talked about the way these stories warn us about ways to NOT behave sometimes.
God is so smart! It just blows me away...He thought about ways to show us how to obey Him and please Him and also the consequences of doing the opposite. God uses people, all kinds, to speak to us. He uses people in scripture and He continues to use people that are in our lives right now. I began to share with her some of the ways that God has done that in my life, starting with the person who exampled Christ to me the first time I was introduced to Him. She found it fascinating as she could come up with people who have helped her see Christ...or not see Christ, in her life so far. It was so cool to see the light come on!
Through out my life as a follower of Christ, He has brought people into my life and He has accomplished a wide variety of things through a wide variety of people. Some of them have exampled God's love, compassion, and mercy. Some of them have challenged me to take the next step, to walk in faith and to be obedient to God's word. Other's have been straight up examples of what not to do as a Christian. Warnings. All of these have become my stories. And because God uses people, my stories sometimes include others. Unlike the Bible, I do not usually include names of these people or where they live. (although some of my friends are waiting to see their name again! Yes, Ashley saved my ice cream sundae from dripping all over me! She is a great friend and God uses her for good things in my life!)
Sometimes, I will post my stories on this blog. God uses them. He puts them on my heart. He gives me lessons for myself and sometimes for other people. Sometimes they are examples and sometimes they are warnings. The friend in this story reads this blog and she sees examples and warnings. She is cool and she is learning that Christianity is good, that Christians are not perfect, but that they want to be like Christ...when they really follow Him. She is noticing that there is a price to pay for making a decision to accept Him, but also that the blessings are infinite and eternal. She is learning about examples and warnings from the people in her life. Me too.
(My friend, Angela, took this photo in Central Park last weekend! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?)