If you have to create a billboard that promoted a relationship with Jesus, what would that billboard say if you couldn’t mention life after death or how He helps you through difficult circumstances?
If you’re like most, while you can envision a catchy slogan or a memorable slogan that’s Biblically sound and is as true as it is motivating, it’s not uncommon to not have something on the tip of your tongue.
Crisis Only Situations
Reason being is because conventional church culture tends to promote discipleship as something that comes to bear primarily in the context of a crisis.
- Prayer: help me, heal me
- Bible Study: guide me, guard me
- Praise and Worship: save me, show me
It’s a constant rehearsal of who we are apart from Christ with the result being I’m not, I don’t, I can’t and I won’t.
You see it in Scripture…
In John 16, Jesus says that in this world, you will have trouble. Earlier in chapter 15, He says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. In Romans 7, Paul talks about the tension that lingers within him, as far as how he knows what he should do, yet he can’t get it done. He describes himself as, “wretched.”
Apart from Christ, we are destitute and yes, we are in desperate need of assistance.
It says so in God’s Word, we reiterate it repeatedly in the way we process ourselves and the world around us…
…and so Christ becomes this Divine Survival Kit. He’s that File Folder we reach for every time things go south and He’s the crutch we use to prop ourselves up with because, after all, there’s no way we can stand up on our own.
But you have to keep reading.
In John 16:33, Jesus says that…
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)
In John 15:5, He says that apart from Him we can nothing, but just before that, He says…
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)
And when Paul is lamenting his situation in Romans 7, he goes on to ask who is going to save him, and then he answers his own question…
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom 7:24-25)
When you process things in their proper context, the message isn’t so much a reinforcement of how insufficient we are as much as it’s highlighting the all-sufficiency of Christ!
We are more than our wounds and better than our sin. Not because of who are but because of Who Christ is in us. And while it’s healthy and appropriate to remember just how toxic sin is (Jas 4:9) and just how outrageous it is that God would love us enough to take upon Himself the death that we deserved, the name of the game is not to sit on the bench and lament our shortcomings, but to get out on the field and put some points on the board (Eph 2:10; Titus 2:14).
That’s part of what makes this question such a healthy exercise.
It compels a comprehensive appreciation for the whole of God’s Word that pertains to who we are and what we’re capable of when we embrace Christ as the Filing Cabinet and not just a File Folder.
Our Marketing Campaign
That said, what would your billboard say?
Here’s some ideas…
It’s All Good (Romans 8:28) – everything has a point and that makes both the good and the bad something that can be processed in a way that avoids either pride or despair.
Pray Big (Jn 15:7-8) – no, you’re not being given a blank check. God doesn’t give you everything you ask for anymore than you would give a four year old an M16 just because it’s his birthday.
That’s not love, that’s neglect.
The point here is that you can dream and you can know that if God’s in it, than you get it done.
Reek of Excellence (Col 3:17) – whether it’s the way you work out or the way you mow your lawn, everything needs to be done in a way that reflects well on your Heavenly Father.
That’s not something to obsess over, but it’s something to shoot for. And when you make the effort to give 100%, 100% of the time, inevitably you become the kind of person that people don’t just hire, you become the kind of person people promote (Prov 22:29).
Being a Christian gives you an edge. Your work ethic, your decision making, your career, your role as a husband and a father – all of these tasks and responsibilities become opportunities to excel when you’re deploying the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) and the Power of God (Phil 2:13; Col 1:29).
And when you’re doing it right, you’re not just profound statement plastered on a billboard, you are genuinely…
Joseph was eye catching (Gen 41:37-38), David was eye catching (1 Sam 16:6-13), Paul was a brilliant Pharisee (Acts 22:3; Phil 3:5), a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28) and a follower of Christ. His religious training, his intellect and his citizenship combined to make him…
Look at Matthew 5:16:
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:16)
However you want to craft your billboard, be eye catching. Make those on the outside looking in wonder how you’re able to keep all of your stuff in one bag and make them want whatever it is you have.
In Christ, you don’t just endure, you excel.
It’s all good, pray big, reek of excellence and be eye catching.
Now, go out there and make a difference!