Humans are often self-centered. Certainly some are moreso than others. Even people that do a lot for others, inevitably fall victim to thoughts about how they are concerned for their own priorities. The opening words of Pastor Rick Warren's best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, are explicitly meant to get people away from that thinking: "It's not about you." The book clearly sets the tone, at the outset, that Christians and prospective Christians need to be focused on living their life the way God commanded his followers to so that they may be a part of his Kingdom of Heaven for eternity.
I took the 40-day journey just recently and read Warren's book. For those who aren't familiar with the book, in the preface, Warren explains how the Bible designates 40 days as a spiritually significant time period. Thus, as Christians, if we too are able to set aside 40 days to reflect on the word, then our personal growth in faith ought to be more meaningful. Warren accommodates this Biblical maxim by dividing his book into 40 chapters, one for each day.
Admittedly, I missed a couple days around Christmas, so my journey spanned 40-plus days. However, I can reflect now, as I did along my journey, that my faith has deepened and the clearness with which I see the tenants of faith in everyday life is more apparent. To be clear, I had a strong faith before reading this book. My family has been met with some of the hardest challenges life has to offer. Through reflection on those challenges, faith has provided the strength needed to overcome them. Matthew 19:26 says, "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" This passage has been adapted throughout time to make decorative wall-hangings and signs for the inside of homes, but its origins are Biblical and its message is eternal. Without God, the horrid tragedies in life would never be able to be conceptualized; instead, humans would suffer and ultimately be destroyed by that which can never be explained without Christianity.
I'm sure some readers of this article debunk all of what I'm saying. They choose to live their lives constantly questioning religion. I'll pray for them, as our God asks me to. To those people, I challenge you, read Warren's book. Take the 40 days. Keep an open mind. Reflect on each lesson every day. I tweeted each day's lesson. Maybe you can blog yours, post a Facebook status or keep a journal; doing so will help to internalize and apply every day's message. If you're still recoiling at the thought of doing this, remember, "it's not about you."
To the others reading this article, fellow believers who have already accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, will you get a copy of the book and take the journey? Will you tell others about this article? At just about 24 years old, I've faced as many secular influences as probably any member of my generation has, as elements of American society attack faith almost daily, instead of respecting the free-exercise clause of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. I've come across many people, raised outside of "Church," not completely comprehending faith, but understanding of my faith given the witness I have occasionally-shared; those people should only serve to empower Christians to help spread the good news, rather than making believers shut-down and introvert themselves. Instead of trying to keep from whatever feigns of embarrassment believers think they're avoiding, they should embrace that which they've been blessed to believe, and share why they believe it, in living The Purpose Driven Life.