Someone said, “your actions are too loud I cannot hear what you are saying”. I couldn’t agree more. Our lifestyle speaks louder for what we believe than what we say about what we believe. As Jesus himself said our faith will be judged by the content of our character, not just by preaching. Powerful preaching accompanied with signs and wonders is awesome, but the miracle the world really wants to see is people with what i call “Fireproof character” – people that maintain their love, integrity, humor, calm and hope irrespective of the circumstances.
Fireproof personality is not about status (what one has or doesn’t have) but how one handles status. We all need to be around those that can inspire us to handle challenging situations with courage and enjoy our pleasant times with humility.
Fireproof attitude is the product of love. Apostle Paul said
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but without the love of God (Zoe), I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I have no love , I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but end up without love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (1Cor. 13:1-7)
As I watched a documentary recently I was delighted to learn that almost the entire group of the Roman soldiers that persecuted Jesus became ardent converts. Their conversion was instrumental in making Christianity an official religion of the Roman Empire. In fact, many of them were persecuted and killed because of their unwavering faith in Christ. What turned their heart to Jesus was not His miracles or His teachings but how he handled persecution with courage and grace.
As execution squad, the Roman soldiers were used to executions but up to that moment they had never crucified a person who maintained calm, composure, grace and love as Christ did. This very attitude that was also apparent in Jesus’ followers throughout church history was responsible for turning the world up side down.
Paul and Silas had just finished preaching as they were mobbed, stripped severely beaten, and thrown into a maximum security prison. The jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Despite all this Paul and Silas didn’t lose heart, instead they were praying and singing hymns to God as other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill However, Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here! ” The jailer then fell down trembling before Paul and Silas and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? ” Acts 16: 22-30
The Prison Officer was not moved by their preaching or by a girl’s miraculous deliverance that happened earlier when Paul and Silas prayed for her. The jailer was drawn to God by their unique attitude throughout their ordeal. Despite being inhumanely treated and their bodies beaming in pain, Paul and Silas still worshiped God joyfully up to the point when the prison doors slammed wide open and the shackles fell off. This in itself was remarkable. Nevertheless, what was even more remarkable (to the prison officer especially) was the fact that all prisoners (including the most dangerous criminals) remained in their cells despite being absolutely free to escape. This, and only this, was the cause why the jailer decided to surrender his life.
To be a victim of evil is common in our world today, but to maintain a sense of love and grace in the face of evil is indeed uncommon. Experiences like this, I believe, are what God will use to draw the world to Himself in these times. Like never before the world is littered with unprecedented material wealth, amazing technological advancement, dazzling beauty and tantalizing entertainment. Yet people are frustratingly unfulfilled because love, hope and meaning are in short supply.
I’m always inspired by Saint Francis of Asisi’s words, “preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” Character is our greatest ammunition in our Gospel arsenal. As the saying goes, people don’t care about what we know until they know that we care.
Fireproof personality, as aforementioned, is the product of love that eminates from the Holy Spirit; it cannot be faked or gotten otherwise. We put it on by inviting the Holy Spirit into our heart through worship, and surrender to His leadership.
Are you feeling down? Try to put on the fireproof character and feel how splendid it is.