The point behind this exercise was to create a one-word sentence that defines you.
That defines your faith.
That serves as a compass in tight situations when you have to think fast or answer hard questions. Or serves as a filter to run through all of what is competing for your attention.
And then defines you in the future when you are dead.
In other words, how people remember you.
That year I chose as my simple statement “Christ and Christ crucified.”
That’s served me well. And it still serves me today. But…
Fast Forward to 2012
Last November I stumbled across a similar idea in Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth That Motivates Us.
Pink shares an anecdote where Carol Boothe Luce confronted John F. Kennedy with this statement:
A great man is one sentence. Abraham Lincoln’s was ‘He preserved the Union and freed the slaves.’ What’s yours?
My mind was off to the races.
Throughout December and the early part of 2012 I sketched some ideas. Here are three of the more memorable ones (memorable is debatable):
- “Nobel prize winner of literature and professor.” How insanely self-serving, right? Not even punctuated with a verb. Fail.
- “Innovated literature and raised a godly family.” Okay, half of it seems to be on track. But raising a godly family, while noble, is not all-encompassing. It is, in the scheme of Christianity, short-sighted. Let’s try again.
- “Slave to Christ and walking New Testament concordance.” All right, much better, don’t you think?
This is actually how I have it written in my journal/daily calendar:
That is how I would like my grave stone to read.
The first half is obvious and sound, but the second half I think may come off like I want to be a warehouse of biblical trivia. That is, an intellectual snob.
The purpose of becoming a walking New Testament is established on these three verses:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
In other words, I want to renew my mind. I want to encourage and exhort believers. And I want to share a sound faith with unbelievers.
Things impossible to do with out a solid foundation in God’s word.
By the way, this is not to neglect the Old Testament. This is just a recognition that absorbing the New Testament into my bloodstream will be more than I can handle.
Your turn: Do you have a simple, clear statement of faith? Please share.
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