A Go with God moment.
- So in the end, whose voice has the most profound influence in your lives?
- Who is whispering in your ears?
- Who do you trust?
- In what direction are they pointing you?
- Are you following their advice?
That series of questions was what I left hanging with you last week. If you recall, I was asking a simple yet reflective question, “Who are the people who influence your thoughts and in the end, your life choices?”
Each of you knows how important people are to you. Building and maintaining relationships is the highest value of just about every student on the IWU campus. Please re-read that last line, “Building and maintaining relationship is the highest value here.” As if all relationships are created equal. And as if they are of equal value to your life.
Listen to John 1:6-7, “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.” The man named here is who we know from the Synoptic Gospels as John the Baptist…but in the Fourth Gospel he is simply referred to as the “testifier”; as the one who points his friends toward Jesus. If you keep reading the Gospel of John, this “testifier” is heard from again and again;
- This is He who I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me.” (1:15)
- I am the voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the paths of the Lord.” (1:23)
- “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (1:29)
- I saw the Spirit of God come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him (1:32)
- I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God. (1:34)
- Look, the Lamb of God (1:36)
Now, after listening to John over and over, watch the response of John’s friends; “When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
So, I ask the question again, “Are all friends created equal?” Do you treat all your relationships on the same level? Let me be practical. Ladies, does your significant-other speak to you like John? Is he whispering in your ear words that point you to Jesus? Or are your conversations less than edifying? Men, what about your friends? Do they raise your level of faith? Do they help you with the practical application of your morality? Or do you walk away from far too many discussions spiritually depleted?
Why am I so concerned? Well, in recent months I have had multiple conversations with current and former students who are all of a sudden questioning the veracity of Jesus. They seemed to be following the Lord so closely and then all of a sudden, they changed the course of their life-decisions. There was one common ingredient; the level of credibility they placed in the voices of people that no longer believed. Their influencers had suddenly shifted, and it should not surprise anyone that eventually, so did their faith. You actually follow the people you open your heart and mind to.
Please do not hear me as saying anything as foolish as, “Break all ties with anyone who is not a fully devoted follower of Christ.” We do not need to isolate ourselves. Nor do we need to be afraid of being tripped up at every turn. But I think we need to ask (and answer) the question I voiced above, “Who is speaking into your life?” And are they pointing you to Jesus or causing your eyes and heart to wander?
Please allow me to probe this deeper over the next few weeks, but in the meantime; hear the prayers of your professors. These are men and women in whom you can trust.
Our cry is that You open the ear of every student so they can over-hear the prayers of their professors that quietly yet faithfully serve to fashion both their hearts and their heads.
We cry out to You on behalf of each student.
May we treat them as Your sons and Your daughters.
May they sense a spiritual adoption in their relationship with us.
May each class open them up to the vastness of Your Kingdom possibilities.
May each hallway greeting be seen as a divine encounter.
May each Baldwin meal exhibit a sacramental flavor.
May each chapel service conclude with both seen and unseen consecration moments.
May each dorm prayer meeting assist in the forming of the Imago Dei in their inner most being.
In the end Lord, May the students You fashion during their four year quest on these hallowed grounds become co-labors with us; all for Your Glory.
Now, Go with God.