Recently, I sat alone at a Braves game and enjoyed some down time while waiting on the church youth group to arrive. I was anticipating an amazing night of connecting with students and adult leaders from our church. I was not anticipating being the laughing stock of the entire stadium.
While I enjoyed the experience of people-watching, I didn’t realize that everyone was watching me on the “Clueless Cam”. For nearly a minute I sat with no clue that the world was watching me. As you can tell from the video broadcasted on social media, the entire stadium and social media circle were aware of my lack of focus and evident interest in what I was looking at, rather than what others could see.
This humorous and true story serves as a reminder of our need to live out life with a steadfast and focused commitment to the Gospel and to live with an outward perspective.
FOCUS IN SUFFERING
When we read Acts 16:25-34, our attention may quickly focus on the sad reality of Paul and Silas being in prison. Their persecution is painful to watch. Yet, our attention should be on their focus on Christ and their ability to exercise joy in suffering.
While Paul and Silas had every reason to whine, moan and complain, they instead chose to focus on exalting the name of Jesus, even in their suffering. What a testimony and example! They were not zoned out. They were focused on lifting high the name of Jesus, even when they had every reason to focus on themselves.
SUFFERING WITH PURPOSE
Perhaps their joy was found in trusting that God would deliver them like He had done in the past. Perhaps joy was found in an unwavering trust in the purpose and call of God. There was no doubt in their minds that God had brought them to Macedonia. Read Acts 16:6-10 in case you need to be reminded. This confidence impacted their attitude, and it is clear that others took notice.
The other prisoners were listening intently, and we read later that the jailer in charge experienced life change. The beauty of this story is that the purpose of Paul and Silas being in prison was to position them to share Christ with those who needed to hear the truth that can only be found in Him.
Too often we navigate through life like we are clueless. Rather than appearing to be clueless about the joy of the Gospel and our desperate need to spread hope, we should intentionally live with joy and purpose. This confidence will change the way we see others, and even change our attitude toward our own circumstances.
You may not end up in prison, but life will certainly bring challenges. The sinful world we live in causes suffering, and the people of God are not immune. Let us walk in confidence and joy as we allow the faithfulness of God in the past to shine bright in the present.