Dear One Direction Fan,
I get how Liam, Niall, Harry, Zayn, and Louis melt your heart. I do. They’re sexy, they’re funny, and they’ve been coached by the very best to know just how to tug at your heartstrings.
They’re your life. You feel like they complete you. Like they’re perfect. Like they love you even though they’ve never met you.
I don’t know how to break this to you gently, but . . . it’s all one beautifully packaged lie.
The truth is, they don’t know you. They probably don’t even care about you—other than to be grateful in a vague sense that as one of their millions of fans you give them the attention and acceptance they crave.
See, ultimately, they’re no different than you. They, too, have an emptiness—a wild, restless craving to be loved and accepted.
So they get up on stage after stage to sing songs someone else wrote that play to your insecurities and send your emotions soaring and your tears falling. And then they walk off the stage and probably never think about you twice . . . or at least not in a way that’s in your best interest.
It’s not that I take pleasure in deflating your world. It’s just that I know One Direction won’t always be there for you. Like every other band in history, they will be replaced. Like every other human in history, they will die.
But through it all, their Creator and your Creator will live on. This God who sings songs over you and stores all your tears in a bottle.
This God who knows everything there is to know about you, including the number of hairs on your head.
This God who sent His Son to step onto the stage of time and perform for you on the cross because He knew you could never perform well enough to meet His perfect, holy standard.
This God who raised His Son to life again so in Him you, too, might experience new, crazy-free life.
That’s what I want for you. That you’ll turn from your idol and worship and serve your Creator rather than One Direction—so you can experience true joy. That you will personalize His promises the way you’ve personalized One Directions’ lyrics. Promises no boy band could ever fulfill like:
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
“I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
His love is not a beautifully packaged lie. It is real. Real enough to bleed, to pursue, to wait, and to win your heart.
“Dear One Direction Fan” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.
If Jesus says we can expect persecution (and He does), then I sure want to know how to prepare for it. So with the help of Thomas Watson’s book The Beatitudes, I came up with the following eight ways to prepare for persecution:
1. Get to know Jesus better. In the words of Watson, “A man can never die for him he does not know.” Are you satisfied with what you know of Christ, or do you long for an even closer friendship with Him?
2. Store up God’s Word in your heart—especially His promises to those who suffer for Him. Promises like Matthew 10:28–33, Mark 10:29–30, Psalm 91:14–16, 1 Corinthians 10:13, and Matthew 10:19–20.
3. Read the stories of those who have been persecuted for Jesus. Sure, some of the details may make you squeamish, but these stories will infuse you with courage and give you examples to imitate. My recent favorite is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. There are so many more, like the story of Perpetua, a courageous woman who died in AD 203.
4. Don’t be so quick to always defend yourself; trust God to be your Defender. This is tough. We’re proud, and proud people tend to think they’re above suffering. Are you willing to let go of your high opinion of yourself and trust God with your reputation?
5. Replace fear of man with a healthy fear of God. Jesus puts it like this in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul [men]. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell [God].”
6. Treasure truth. In a world filled with lies and confusion, wholeheartedly seek after truth and lovingly share it with others. Don’t be easily swayed by people’s words and arguments. Examine everything you hear against the truth of God’s Word to test whether or not it’s true (Acts 17:11).
7. Pursue righteousness. Jesus says “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matt. 5:10, emphasis added). Run from evil. Repent of your sin. Keep a clear conscience before God. Pursue Him.
8. Look for ways to deny yourself rather than always pampering yourself. I used to know a guy who regularly slept on the floor rather than in a bed. I’m not recommending that, but if you always choose the very best for yourself, you’ll have a hard time when you experience real suffering. Besides, Jesus told His followers in Matthew 16:24–25, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
“Before a man can die for Christ he must be dead to the world,” Thomas Watson said. The apostle Paul lived that way. In Galatians 6:14 he said, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
How do you plan on preparing for the very real possibility of persecution? Tell me about it.
“Eight Ways To Prepare For Persecution” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.