|Volume 25 Number 3 March 2023
Louis Rushmore, Editor
What kind of person do you want to be? There are so many different facets of who anyone of us is in relationship to other people, as well as regarding our relationship with the God of Heaven. Briefly, consider what kind of person you want to be, generally, just as a person. In addition, if married, what kind of a spouse do you want to be? As a child (of any age – everyone is a child of parents, also of any age), what kind of person do you want to be? If you have brothers or sisters, what kind of a person do you want to be to your siblings?
Are you an employee or an employer? What kind of a person do you want to be as an employee? What kind of a person do you want to be as a coworker? If an employer, what kind of a person do you want to be to your employees? Beyond that, what kind of a person do you want to be to your neighbors? What kind of a person do you want to be as a citizen in your community and nation; are you a good earthly citizen? More importantly, spiritually speaking, what kind of a person do you want to be as a good citizen in the kingdom of Heaven; what kind of person do you want to be as a Christian?
To a large degree, one’s environment impacts a person as he or she develops into the kind of person he or she becomes. Yet, one can choose for himself or herself into what kind of person he or she becomes. Often, though, people resort to the wrong resources for their development. Some devices – actually vices – mold persons into sinners rather than into saints; think about how alcohol and other drugs fashion persons.
Some people decide the kind of persons they want to be by following the majority around them. They reason, “Everyone else is doing it; why can’t we do it, too?” Exodus 23:2, though, warns, “You shall not follow a crowd [“multitude” KJV] to do evil” (NKJV).
Making bad or ungodly choices, followed by sinful actions, has destroyed societies over and over throughout history (Genesis 6:5-7). Look at the world today; look at America. What do you see but history repeating itself. Furthermore, not even the children of God are immune to their demise for making bad spiritual choices. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6). “For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge” (Jeremiah 4:22).
Many individuals decide to imitate family members as they develop into personhood; it’s the idea that if it was good enough for mom and dad, it’s good enough for me. Still, others mold themselves after what they see or hear in their movies, music, videos, social media, the Internet and peer pressure. Once, God purged the world of evil and violence with a universal flood (Genesis 6:5-12), but a second and final purge of fire is coming (2 Peter 3:10-12).
To what ought people resort to help them develop into the kind of persons they want to be? The Bible – especially the New Testament for people living today – ought to be the source to which everyone turns to mold a godly character. The Word of God – the Bible – is the divinely provided and preserved road map from Earth to Heaven. It can mold and shape us as we need to be – ready for the return of Jesus Christ and entrance into the eternal home in Heaven.
Walking Bibles can also help us to become and to remain the persons we ought to be. We can mimic fellow Christians who exemplify Jesus Christ in their lives. The apostle Paul exhorted Christians at Corinth, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1; cf., 4:16). Similarly, the apostle wrote to Philippian Christians, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Philippians 3:17; cf., 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Hebrews 6:12).
It matters what kind of person we mold ourselves to be. Yes, one’s environment contributes to molding one’s character, but we have individual responsibility for the kind of person we have become. Heaven and Hell hang in the balance – the only two possible eternal alternatives in the future of every soul. The kind of person we have molded ourselves to be will determine where we will spend eternity! So, what kind of person do you want to be?
If you don’t like what you see in yourself – the person you have become – as long as you are alive and the Lord Jesus has not yet returned, you can become the person God wants you to be. You can prepare to meet God in the Judgment (Amos 4:12). Jesus is Lord (Luke 6:46), and if one does what He commanded to become a Christian (Mark 16:16), you can be saved from your past sins (Romans 3:25; Acts 22:16). Erring Christians need to repent and pray (Acts 8:22). Today, be the kind of person God wants you to be.
I must admit it; sometimes I get lost! I never get lost intentionally, but somehow it still happens. When traveling, especially in places to which I have never been, I get turned around, go in the wrong direction and sometimes even repeat those same steps many times. It always amazes me how just one small wrong turn can throw me completely off course. Thankfully, there are lots of helps to aid us in keeping on the right course when traveling (GPS, maps, signs, etc.). Without these helps, I would spend more time lost than on the right path. There are some things that a person must know, even given the great helps of travel, in order to navigate safely and successfully. The same is true when it comes to navigating each day, not physically, but spiritually. Sadly, not all the signs, GPS coordinates and maps are always correct. In fact, there are signs all over the place spiritually that will most certainly cause us to stray off course if we do not remember certain navigating essentials. What does it take to navigate successfully through life?
Firstly, we must have a destination. No one can simply just get in a vehicle and drive somewhere without knowing where he or she wants to go. This should be obvious, but amazingly many are trying to navigate through life with no idea where they are heading! Just think for a moment of the chaos in which people would find themselves if they simply got in a car and started driving without a destination in mind. Yet, spiritually many do this every day. Knowing life’s destination keeps us focused despite other road signs that surround us. When our Lord took on human flesh, distractions from other road signs were all around, and yet, Jesus knew where He was heading and kept on course. “…My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34 NKJV). Even as a young boy, Jesus knew His destination (Luke 2:49). Was it not knowing His destination that caused Jesus to endure the pain and suffering on Calvary (Hebrews 12:1-3)? Surely, this is why at the end of His sojourn on earth, Jesus could triumphantly say, “…It is finished…” (John 19:30). It is very easy to get turned around on life’s journey, but keeping our destination at the forefront will aid in our navigation each day.
Secondly, we must have directions. This point makes me smile. Why? Because often people are quick to give directions to places on earth, whether they know how to get there or not! On numerous occasions, I have asked for directions, only to have two people begin arguing on how to get to where I wanted to go. “Go down here and take a right.” “No, you go left.” I usually just smile, say, “Thank you,” and drive on, realizing the ones giving directions were more lost than I was. This is so true spiritually! There are so many ready to give directions to navigate life’s journey, but they are lost and are in no place to help another lost traveler. What if there were just one set of directions that would take us all on the same journey to the same destination? Oh, thank God, there is! The Bible must be our North Star in life, or else we will never reach the right destination. Think for just a moment how God’s instruction manual, God’s directions, would fix life’s problems for everyone. The Bible could eliminate social ills (murder, rape, racism, lying, injustice, hatred), family ills (divorce, child neglect, abuse, same sex marriages, homosexuality and transgenderism) and personal ills (laziness, drugs, alcoholism, overeating, being miserable and selfishness). Sinful directions will mislead every time! Read Psalm 23 and just note all the wonderful blessings that come from following the right directions. Incorporating Psalm 1 into one’s life will make one godly and cause him or her to flourish! Jesus is the only way to a truly abundant life, both here and in eternity (John 10:9-10).
Thirdly, we must have determination. Have you ever started on a journey somewhere but then lost your gusto to keep going? Unless we are truly determined, we will stop short of the destination, because there are many things to impede the journey. Just think for a moment physically. Traveling seems to always be impeded (slow car in front, accident, construction, breakdowns, fuel stops, etc.). If we are not really determined to reach the destination, we will quit. Spiritual travel is no different! There are mental struggles, spiritual struggles, family struggles and church struggles, all of which can impede spiritual travel. What keeps us going is determination! What kept the apostle Paul going (1 Corinthians 2:2; 9:24-27; Philippians 1:21)? Our determination must outweigh distractions and discouragements if we are to navigate life successfully.
Interestingly, everyone who is born into this world is navigating life. Some navigate successfully, while others navigate sorrowfully. It is not a matter of if we will navigate, but it is a matter of how we will navigate. What is your destination? What directions are you following? Are you really determined to navigate successfully? I must admit it, I sometimes get lost, but thankfully, God allows U-turns and welcomes us back when we turn to Him. Amidst this busy street called life, stop, take a moment to really think and ask yourself, “How am I navigating?”