There’s a lot of ways to “be cool” these days. Drive a sports car. Know the names of A-list celebrities. Have hundreds of followers. Go to an esteemed college. The list goes on. But y’know what’s not so cool?
To be a believer in Jesus Christ.
Yeah, that one will make your “likes” dip a bit. Just for fun, find a profile on Instagram or Facebook that posts both normal, day-to-day content as well as Christian content from time to time. Look at the likes on their “loving the beach” photos, and then a photo where they share their faith. Generally, those likes disappear like the obsession you had in middle school and then realized how dumb it was your freshman year of high school.
There’s a fun song by Rend Collective literally called “I Will Be Undignified”, and a while back, I was listening to this in the car (really loudly) and I got hit with how true the song is.
And I will be undignified
And I will praise the Lord my God with all my might
And I will leave my pride behind
And I will praise the Lord my God with all my life
According to Merriam Webster, one of the definitions of dignified is this: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed.
There are about five million ways to be dignified in the world. Win an Oscar. Tweet something “controversial”. Go on fancy trips. Post a make-up-less selfie. Better yet, pose on a cover without any make-up. The list goes on.
Now, to get the definition of undignified, just do this: the quality or state of NOT being worthy, honored, or esteemed. (Shocking, I know.)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” ~ Matthew 15:18-19
As believers, we are not of this world. (John 17:16) This is not our home, and that means that this place is only temporary.
Which means we shouldn’t be storing up our love and likes and awards down here.
Listen, it’s great to be looked up to. I once held a position at a job that put me in that position. People looked up to me. Wanted to know my opinions. Thought I knew everything. (Spoiler: I did not.) But then I had to say things that weren’t in line with what people thought, and oh boy. I went from “dignified” to “undignified” in a matter of weeks. Esteemed to …. not.
For a second, I got a baby-spoon taste of what it was like to be undignified, in the world’s eyes. It’s funny how things are so polar opposite. One action can be met with shaking heads and scoffs, while others applaud and “love” it. The world hands out awards, while God weeps, or the world gives a collective middle finger while God nods in approval.
How do we become undignified, but dignified at the same time? Rend Collective’s song mentions laying down pride. That’s a hard one for me. HARD PASS. Being undignified for Jesus means laying down my pride – the part of me who wants to be loved by all, who wants to get a round of applause button after everything I do …. I want to be dignified in the world’s eyes.
But James (isn’t James so awesome?!?) says in his namesake, in verse 10: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. This verse is plopped in the middle of James calling his readers adulterous people for their friendship with the world. He tells us to submit ourselves to the Lord, resist the devil, etc.
To become a friend of God, to live dignified for HIM alone requires us to lay down our pride. Anything that belongs to the Lord must to be surrendered to him. And with that surrender, with that humility, we are lifted up. We become dignified for the Lord of the universe. For Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins.
Who would you rather hear “well done” from? Man, who will perish, who will continually sin, who will turn their backs the minute you do something different, or from Jesus Christ?
It’s easier said than done. As is most things. But all it takes to start is make the decision to be undignified. Listen to that song on high, on repeat, and learn the lyrics. Blare it from the housetops if needed. Be okay with not being cool. And know that while you may be like the forty-year-old dad who doesn’t know how to open his phone and hates Facebook here, you will be honored up there.
I don't care what the world may say
There is liberty where You are