I have naturally curly hair. For those of you who have naturally straight hair, I’m going to let you in on a curly-hair-insider phenomenon known as “clingy curls”. Clingy curls occur when curly hair naturally sheds and wraps itself around everything you own—fingers, arms, feet, cups, cell phones, the couch, kitchen chairs, you name it. The curls just don’t fall to the ground, like straight hair would. It is very irritating to me, and to everyone who lives with me. I leave little presents everywhere I sit.
I recently had a particularly irritating clingy-curls morning. My hair was everywhere—all over me, all over everything I tried to touch. Standing in my kitchen making school lunches, I had a thought that made me laugh out loud: If anyone ever tried to link me to a crime, it would be s-o-o-o easy. All they would need to do is just look down for the trail of curly hairs I would leave behind with all that DNA on it! I laughed at myself for a few seconds, then stopped dead in my tracks as the Lord used the moment to illustrate an important truth to me. He whispered to my heart: Wherever you go, I want you to leave traces of ME behind.
I’m not talking about carrying a Bible everywhere you go, or holding up a sign on the side of the road and shouting “REPENT!” I’m speaking of the silent witness we have the privilege of being every single day; the things we have the opportunity to stand for, or decide against; the way we act towards others; the way we love others, or don’t; and yes, the way we witness with our words.
I have come to understand that I learn best with illustrations and parables which paint a picture in my mind. It also takes me a few exposures to the lesson for it to sink in. The Lord knows this about me and takes advantage of it. He uses many, many things in my everyday life to teach me or to drive home a point, little things that stop me cold, followed by “Ooohhhh, now I get it” revelations. That moment the other day was one of those times: Am I leaving UNMISTAKABLE evidence of my faith everywhere I go?
Daniel is a fantastic example of one who lived out his faith. Of course I have been studying the book of Daniel lately—that’s God for you, drilling something into me from all angles. You are familiar with the Sunday school version of Daniel. He’s the one who was a buddy with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar attempted to have those three burned in a fiery furnace for refusing to bow and worship his false gods. They declared the one true God would protect them, and He did. They emerged from the furnace without so much as a minor burn or hint of the smell of smoke on their robes. Daniel is also the one who was thrown into the lion’s den for refusing to bow and worship when King Darius told him to, and came out unharmed.
Further along in the book of Daniel, chapters 5-6, we see another fascinating account. To give you the Cliff notes version of what is going on, Daniel had a relationship of sorts with King Nebuchadnezzar. He interpreted dreams for this king, and in return gained favor with him and was placed in a high position.
After Nebuchadnezzar’s death, his son Belshazzar became king. Just like his father, he had crazy dreams and visions. He was very upset by a vision and called for all the magicians, fortune tellers, etc. to interpret it, but none could. His queen suggested, "There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers” (Daniel 5:11, NASB). King Belshazzar called for Daniel. When he arrived, Belshazzar said, "I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you” (Daniel 5:14, NASB).
The next king was Darius, who had this to say about Daniel: Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm (Daniel 6:3, NASB).
Think this through: Daniel, through the kind of life he chose to live, had a reputation that spanned three kings. He lived true to his faith and everyone knew it. He left evidence of his God everywhere he went, so much so that for three generations, kings would call on him when they needed advice.
Imagine having the kind of reputaion where people say or think: I‘ve heard of her; she has the Spirit of the Holy God within her! Oswald Chambers explains it like this: "It is not what a man does that is of final importance, but what he is in what he does. The atmosphere produced by a man, much more than his activities, has the lasting influence." - OSWALD CHAMBERS, Baffled to Fight Better, 51 L
The questions at hand are these:
Like Daniel, would there be enough evidence to convict me of my faith?
Do I create an atmosphere of lasting influence?
Like my clingy curls, do I leave love, grace, forgiveness, understanding, and wisdom in my wake?
Does the world see the light of Christ shining out of my cracks?
I will forever be reminded of Daniel’s life of faith every time I pluck a clingy curl from my shirt. Trust God to drill this into me with an illustration I will never escape. As I leave a trail of evidence behind, with my DNA on it, I will be prompted to also leave a trail of evidence with God’s DNA on it.
"I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you” (Daniel 5:14, NASB).