Very rarely will I purchase a book because of it’s title, much less one of it’s chapter titles. But this changed for me when I glanced at the table of contents of John S. Leonard’s book Get Real: Sharing Your Faith Every Day. Leonard’s title of Chapter 4, For Christ’s Sake, Be Normal, drew me in.
In this chapter, Leonard writes that in our desire to show others how different we are because of Christ, we’re not making ourselves any more appealing to the nonbelievers around us. In fact, we are presenting ourselves as weird, strange, and bizarre (p. 42-43).
How do we become normal?
By being real. By quitting our act that everything is always “fine” and letting people see that we actually encounter trials and pain. When we’re normal and open about our difficulties and struggles, writes Leonard, Christ in all his power and glory will come pouring out of the cracks in our lives (p. 43).
Could it be that what others need to see in us is not super sainthood but a daily need of Christ’s grace and mercy? Leonard makes it clear that it is not the super-spiritual examples who generally have the greatest impact upon non-Christians. He writes that those who have the greatest influence are those of us who have to live what are considered ordinary lives, but who live them for Christ (p. 47).
A Great Example
Leonard shares how he uses Halloween as his attempt at being normal. Halloween, which he thinks is an incredible time to meet neighbors, is his time to be extra friendly and generous by giving away tons of great candy to all who knock on his door. What kid will not remember the house that gave out the best candy in the neighborhood?
Shouldn’t you give out some kind of gospel tract or Bible with that candy? Not according to Leonard. He writes: I am not against passing out Bibles and tracts–just don’t do it on Halloween, especially instead of giving out candy. It isn’t what people are expecting, and you cheapen the faith by doing so (p. 49).
Be interested in others
We should not think, however, that being normal means that we as Christians are not distinct from the world. If we follow Christ, people will think we are “crazy” at times. But we should go out of our way not to be weird (p. 47). And for Leonard, this means becoming interested in the things that most interest others (p. 48). This does not give us an excuse to sin but to instead show others what it means to follow Christ in the everyday events of life.
Get The Book!
Now though I was enticed to buy this book because of one chapter, the entire book is worth examining. It is an encouraging read and one that I think will be of great benefit to those who need help in sharing the gospel with others.