My oldest son has officially finished high school and is getting ready to embark on the next phase of his life. As I am nostalgically thinking of that time in my own life, I am also thinking of the things God has taught me since then.
This is the first post in a three-part series where I am remembering lessons I have learned later in life that I would love for my son know now...
I chose this post because it reminds us that our biggest and best way of introducing others to Jesus will likely come from what we consider the normal, small portions of life. The closer we walk with God, the more "His normal" becomes "our normal"...the more His life will stand out to others, even if we don't necessarily notice.
Swim strokes and the effect of a quiet life
originally posted on July 15, 2016
I’ve raced in a handful of triathlons. No crazy, Ironman distances; but I have completed several of the short, “sprint” distances. When I started, I figured that biking I can do, running I can do, but it was the first event that scared me the most – the swim. I had taken swimming lessons as a kid, but as an unpracticed adult, my activity in the water fell more into the “not drowning” category rather than in the “swimming” category.
After a friend lent me a DVD on swimming for triathletes, I began practicing several times a week. Sometime later, on one particular night, I was at a local gym and was using their lap pool. A friend of mine was in the first lane, getting his laps in. I was in the middle lane, just doing my thing. Shortly after we started, an older lady started using the other outside lane for water aerobics and walking.
During one of my breaks, the lady turned to me and said, “I’ve just got to tell you. You have a very quiet stroke.” I chuckled a little bit, and then thanked her. She had apparently been comparing my smooth stoke to the thrashing around my friend was doing in the next lane over. My wife had previously told me that at races, my swim sticks out in comparison to the others; she says it looks like I’m moving with the water instead of fighting my way through it, like everyone else.
By the time the older lady gave me the compliment, I had practiced this style of swimming so much that it had become second nature. I didn’t even notice I was doing it – to me, I was just swimming. After thanking the lady for her compliment, I informed her that my swim stroke was something I had been taught, it didn’t come naturally. I also told her that it was a skill that she could learn as well. She immediately shook her head ‘no’ and said, “I really don’t think so.”
Similarly, Paul gave Timothy instructions for the church in Ephesus that if followed, would stand out to culture around them.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
How we live is an indicator of our relationship with God our Savior. Paul tells Timothy that the best kind of life, one that shows we are walking close to God, is a tranquil and quiet life where our godliness and dignity are on full display.
When we focus on knowing God well and practice ways to imitate Him, our godliness will become second nature. While our “God-like-ness” will feel normal to us, the tranquil and quiet life we lead will stand out to those around us.
God and His love for us is so big that He wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth – the amazing thing is that we are his main ambassadors for doing so. Paul says we fulfill our role as God’s representative in two ways: through praying for our leaders and living a godly life.
These two things will give us the platform to reach out to everyone with the same love that has been extended to us. Some will desire the life they see in us; others won’t believe that it’s possible. As ambassadors, we’re just responsible to represent God. It’s not up to us to convert anyone, that’s God’s arena.
We have to keep in mind that the gospel will be communicated through our lives before anyone will likely read the Bible on their own. Honestly, the people in my life will read the ‘gospel of Ken’ long before they read the Gospel of John. Living a tranquil and quiet life will not come naturally for us, either. But with practice, we will begin to inherently reflect God and all His attractive qualities.