The Presbyterian preacher Harry Rimmer told the story of a young man who entered the army. This young man was in the habit of studying his Bible in his bedroom each evening and then kneeling down to pray before retiring for the night. He knew, however, that the army barracks would be a real test of that nightly routine.
The barracks certainly didn’t disappoint as the young fellow found himself surrounded by scores of rough servicemen. They joked around, made crude comments, and cursed. His first instinct was to read his Bible by keeping it half covered under his blanket, but then a wave of conviction came over him. He thought, “I’m a Christian! I must take my stand for the Lord. I won’t hide my faith. I’ll just do as I did at home.” So he took his Bible, read a chapter, and knelt down to pray quietly beside his cot.
When the other men noticed what the young man was doing, a few of them sneered. In just a few minutes, though, the barracks became strangely quiet as others who respected the new recruit’s devotion hushed those who sneered. After a while the talk began again, but this time without the crudeness and cursing.
The next night when the young man opened his Bible eight other men dug out theirs and did the same. Within a month every soldier in the outfit respected the young Christian so much that they would defend him against anyone who dared criticize him. Even more than that, they would bring their troubles and questions to him and ask for counsel. Rimmer concluded the story by saying, “He influenced more men for Christ than half a dozen chaplains could have in a year of Sundays.”
The world can be a rough, course, vulgar place, and being a Christian who tries to live a holy life in its midst can be difficult. Do the people at your workplace tell dirty jokes? Do some of your fellow students use profanity? Do you feel like you would be mocked and ridiculed if you were caught on site reading your Bible or praying? Welcome to your army barracks.
What would Jesus have you do? The answer is found in the example He set. Did He isolate Himself in a cave atop a mountain and shun the “real” world? No. Did He only converse with His devout followers, people who thought and spoke like He did? No. Did He act one way in private but another way in public? No. What He did was live what He preached. And what was that? He told His followers to resist the urge to hide their light under a basket and let it, instead, shine before men (Matthew 5:15-16).
So, Christian, I hope you take this post as a call to arms. Stop hiding your light under a basket. Those around you need to see it burning brightly for your Savior. Who knows what domino effect you taking a stand for holiness might start? My guess is that there are others in your setting who are just as offended with certain things as you are. They just need a leader to show them how to express it. And that leader can be you!