First day of school, freshmen year of high school. I was excited, I felt all grown up. I had a green binder with a clear cover, the kind you could 'unzip' and put pictures and papers underneath. It was like your own personal billboard, proudly displaying the symbols and markings of your identity. Wanting to establish my new, high school identity, I chose several images carefully, and placed them on the cover of my binder. This was one of them:
It was from liner notes of Motley Crue's "Theater of Pain" album. (On cassette, by the way.) Nice, right? My dad didn't think so.
I was shocked when my dad snatched my notebook out of my hands, and demanded I remove the picture of the four nice young men with teased hair, fishnet hose, and women's makeup. "Why?" I protested. "I like this!"
My dad looked me in the eye, and taught me a lesson I haven't forgotten. "Who do you want people to think you are? Do you want people to think you're like these guys? Because that's what you're saying. You're saying you are just like everybody else. Just like the world. And you are called to be different."
Of course, at the time I just thought he was uncool and a total buzz kill. I didn't see what the big deal was. After all, it was just a picture.
But I get it now. I belong to Jesus, not this world. 1 Peter 2:11 says we are to live as aliens in a foreign land. In the world, but not of it. How I present myself, who I associate myself with, what I get involved in doing...it all matters, and it points to my identity.
Do people look at me and see Jesus, or just another somebody who looks just like the rest of the world?
This is our theme at The Branch's VBS this summer. Make sure your kids are there to learn they are called, set apart, and not of this world. Registration is open right now.