As a pastor working with young people primarily, nothing warms my heart more than seeing and hearing a young person stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ in a public setting. I got to see this first hand at the Distinguished Young Women’s event at the high school on March 20th.
There were only eleven girls participating, but the majority of them are active participants in local church youth groups. There was a moment where each girl had to answer a question into the microphone for all to hear. The question was, “What is the one thing you are most sure of?” It was amazing to hear at least 4 of the girls speak of the knowledge of God, or at least referencing some truth about God was the one thing they were sure of. Even one girl proclaimed the gospel by telling the audience she was most sure of the fact that “God sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins.” This is a big step of faith for two reasons.
The first reason is how it reflects spiritual maturity. In a platform such as Distinguished Young Women, the temptation is to flaunt yourself. Your makeup has to be perfect, your routine: flawless, your smile: continuous, and your public speaking answer: concise and clear. You are basically trying to present yourself in the best possible light. So, to use the occasion of a public speaking answer to deflect attention away from yourself, and towards God, is spiritually mature. It reflects a heart that is pointed toward glorifying God, a desire to exalt God, and a willingness to deny self. What if the judges don’t appreciate ‘god’ answers, or what if they don’t believe in God? The girls would be taking a big risk…and they did for the glory of God. As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (John 3:30).
The second reason speaking about God is a big step of faith is because of the possible repercussions from their classmates. I understand in our small community there are a lot of Christian students at Shafter High, but do not be fooled, there are many who are just as antagonistic toward God and the gospel as anywhere else. I wonder if these girls considered the backlash they might face at school on Monday after DYW. Would their classmates laugh at them for talking about ‘god?’ Or maybe those classmates would snicker and laugh behind their back embarrassing them from afar? I think these girls didn’t really mind those possibilities. This shows maturity in the area of fearing God and not fearing man. Fearing man is caring more about what people think than what God thinks, but fearing God is caring more about what God thinks than what people think. These girls showed the fear of God.
I think we could all learn something from these girls. Are we spiritually mature enough when we are praised or tempted to exalt ourselves, to deflect all honor to God knowing that He has blessed us with every good thing we have? Or, are we spiritually mature enough to not fear the thoughts and words of our peers because we care more about what God thinks of us than what they think?
Some might say the DYW event was not the time or place to talk about God. In return I ask, when is it going to be the right time or place? We keep telling ourselves that and pretty soon we have never spoken about God to others. We are forever looking for the ‘right time.’ If you are looking for the right time, now is the right time. If God has given us the voice to speak, the words to say, and the listener to hear, then now is the time to speak of the things of God.
Pastor Mark Scialabba