All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful but not all things edify.
— 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NASB)
Early in my Christian walk, I searched for real-life women heroes I could follow and emulate. I did not have to look far for there are quite a few outstanding women in our church. These women are vivacious, energetic, expressive, full of grace and wisdom. I pinned them to my mental hall-of-fame wall and took note of what they do, how they act, how they speak, the words they speak; of the ministries they are involved in. Sure they make mistakes but these are minor and far between and most importantly, they make fun of themselves and laugh at their mistakes. I read what they read and studied what they studied (or at least I tried to).
These Christian women are a far cry from my heroes in my teen years. Back then I used to admire women who had the courage to do what they want, to challenge authority and knew how to live a ‘free’ life. It was the 70’s, the time of rights, movements, unrest and moral decay. But I didn’t know the meaning of the last phrase then. All I saw were active people living whirlwind lives and it was the kind of life I wanted — until I saw their downward spiral.
What makes my Christian heroes so different from my former heroes, besides the obvious contrasts? Let us see:
- My Christian heroes are fully aware of their liberties more than my ex-heroes. For the latter, they knew their limitations and society’s restrictions and they dwelt on these. Dwelling on the negative made them angry, bitter and rebellious. It was always ‘going against authority’ rather than ‘fully living within the boundaries’. For my Christian heroes, living fully within the boundaries God set for them, they feel secure, free to express themselves and to explore more. There is security and confidence that what they do is approved by the Lord.
- For my former heroes, making a statement meant defying society and authority, of shocking people to set new trends. Within or outside the law, as long as nobody sues you, then it was alright; so come and join the bandwagon. My Christian heroes have the liberty to speak as others but they grace their words and season these with God’s truths and life-giving words. They have the liberty to act as others but they decide wisely. They are careful that they do not cause others to sin or stumble; and they do not misrepresent Christ.
- My ex-heroes were living for themselves, it was all about them. My Christian heroes have a sincere compassion for people: Christians and for those who do not know the Lord. They know that their actions and words impact the people around them thus they take their responsibility of leading others to Christ very seriously. They witness moment to moment, day by day, using their life as proof that God exists and the He is good and faithful. My Christian heroes live very purposeful lives.