I’ve always thought that good Christians are like bad public speakers. I know what you’re thinking. “Christians shouldn’t be like anything that’s bad!” Am I right? Well, don’t worry, I will explain this, but before I do, let me explain the qualifications of a good public speaker.
One class that every college student has to take as a prerequisite for any degree is Communications, or public speaking. On the first day of class, every student is handed a list of the elements of a good speech. Basically, it is a list of suggestions to become a good speaker. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- A good speaker makes sure that the material they cover is relevant. They alter their message according to who is in the audience.
- They try not to draw attention to themselves through gestures, words, or dress.
- They DO NOT MEMORIZE. One of the key elements of a good speech is that it’s lacking a memorized rhythm. Instead of memorizing, they should become familiar with their speech, and just talk about what they know about the topic they are covering.
- And lastly, the most important thing, something that is drilled into our heads from the very first day, is to NOT READ. It is in all caps on the list. NO READING. Instead of keeping their eyes on their paper, a good speaker looks up and engages the audience by making eye contact. The problem with this is that you see the audience. And not only can you see the people, but you can read their expressions, which gives you a good idea of how you’re doing. When everyone looks bored, it’s time to throw in an attention grabber.
Now, how does a bad speaker compare to a Christian? Well, let’s start with the first item:
- A bad speaker doesn’t change his message, no matter who’s in the audience.
Our message as Christians should be unwavering. We should not alter the message of salvation for any reason. “Relevant” churches are dead churches. Romans 1:16 says this, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Our purpose is to take the unadulterated gospel to the whole world. (Matthew 28:19-20)
- They attract attention by the way they talk and dress.
As God’s children, we are called to serve the Lord through holiness. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which not man shall see the Lord.” Holiness shows that world around us the level of our commitment to God.
In Exodus 28, God is explaining the garments that the priests had to wear. In Exodus 28:36-38, it says this:
“36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity if the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.”
Holiness is so important to God, that He literally had His priests wear it on their forehead. And, just as if we were wearing it on our foreheads, our holiness is obvious to others. The way we talk, the things we will and won’t do, and the way we dress attract attention from the world around us. Matthew 5:14 says “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” And just like a bright light in a dark room, or a city set high on a hill, we attract the attention of those who are hungry for truth.
- They memorize every word of their speech.
Psalms 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” The only way we can live the way the Bible tells us to is to know what the Bible says. Not only should we read the Bible, but we should memorize it, so that when situations pop up that test us, we can know the answer because we know the scripture.
- They read their speech.
This goes with #3. If we are going to live for God, we have to read His letters to us.
As I mentioned before, the problem with being a good speaker is that you are looking at the audience instead of your notes. This allows you to see their reactions to everything you say. It’s very easy to tell when you’re boring someone, or you’ve offended someone, or someone doesn’t agree with you.
But when a speaker is focused on their notes, they are completely oblivious to the negative reactions of the people around them. They keep to what is in their outline and they don’t waver.
In the same way, when we as Christians are completely focused on the Word of God, we become more focused on pleasing God instead of man. We don’t care what the people around us think, because we aren’t living for them, but we are living for the One who made all things. We are looking, not to this temporary world, but to the Creator of heaven and earth and the kingdom He has prepared for us.
So, there you go. That is how a good Christian resembles a bad speaker. Although the comparison is, perhaps, a bit strange, it is accurate. We, as Christians, are supposed to live only for God, not those around us. In order to stay focused on the One we are living for, it is important that we stay grounded in His Word, reading and memorizing it. When we are trying to please God, we will attract attention, but it will be the attention of hurting people. When people see that there is something different about you, they will not rest until they find out what it is. This opens the door to evangelism, and you will have the opportunity to share your testimony to those who are hungry, and show them the path to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.