Content & Images © 2008-2014 - Rachel Miller, Ink Road Originals LLC, All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another Ten-Second Interview

I spoke once before on a Christian's testimony and how it is shaped by our behavior in public events.  That post can be read here:  The Ten-Second Interview

Today I want to speak again (briefly, because I have so much to do) on this topic.  Perhaps we have the act, the costume, shall we say, of being a wonderful, loving public Christian memorized so well that we don't fear that a crowd of perfect strangers will get the wrong idea about us.  However, what about the times when the only ones who are watching us are people who know us?  If we had a follow-up ten-second interview, that is, a second, testimony-defining moment in our interactions with an individual, would that person's impressions of us change?  Would our friend still know that we know Jesus?  What if the second, ten-second interview came at a time when we were not paying attention?

The last time I wrote on this topic, I meant the phrase "ten-second interview" to mean the glimpse of you upon which people base their impressions of you, such as what they would gather from talking to you in an autograph line.  I quoted a verse I will repeat here:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6: 45 NIV)
The ten-second interview reveals what is in the heart, usually.  In that brief moment, how a person behaves and what comes out of that person's mouth usually tells us all we need to know about character and choices.  However, many people can pass their first ten-second interview easily--I mean, their first meeting with a stranger--but the real contents of their hearts comes out later, when they let their mask down, either because they don't care any longer, or because they are distracted.

There is no riskier move for such a person's "rep" than to befriend someone and let that person into their lives.  From that point forward, they are always being watched much more closely than before, and their friend notes every ounce of hypocrisy that peeks out through the cracks.

In light of this, I don't think you can really know a person until you see that person undergoing a test--whether it be persecution or temptation.  These situations bring out the worst in the best people, and how an individual reacts is a clear signal of what is in that person's heart.  As the Apostle Paul wrote:
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10: 12, 13 NIV)
The Greek word here translated as "temptation" can also mean "testing."  When we are distracted by a source of testing or temptation, whatever it is, our friends will not see the righteous actor--they'll see the person underneath.

This is no cause for worry, if we are listening to God.  He will preserve our testimonies, even when we are not looking out for them!  The verse above promises that God will give us a way out, and that means a way not only to escape the temptation or trial, but also to keep our testimonies intact during the process.  You see, temptation and testing brings out the worst in us, but it can also be a way to show off the best we have to offer--our obedience and attentiveness toward God and His laws.

So what should we do when we are tempted?  Take the way out (see how Joseph did this in Genesis 39: 6-12).  Our friends will see this and be impressed, not because they think we are strong and impervious to weakness, but rather because they will see that our faith, and our God, is stronger than our weakness.  This is the desired outcome of "the follow-up ten-second interview."  Just as before, it ends up being less about us and more about the God we serve.

Something to think about this week. Until next time, stay savvy!


Shannon said...

This reminds me of a great object lesson my pastor gave once—he held a cup full of ice, and started shaking it until a few pieces fell out. Then he asked us why the ice fell out. The automatic reply would be, “Because you shook the cup!” But he explained that it came out “because it was in there.” When life shakes us up and puts us under stress, what comes out of our mouths and how we act isn’t a result of the circumstances, but rather of what was already inside. We must hide His word in our hearts so that in the difficult moments His strength will show through!