Friday, December 12, 2014

It Matters How You Live

I love country music.

Now, before my jazz-loving, corny-lyric-hater friends click off this post, allow me to continue. I want to tell you a story.

While I do love country music, I am very picky about what I listen to. And most of the time Pandora gets it spot on, but every once in a while, they sneak a song in that has me quickly flipping back to Chrome and hitting the “thumbs down” button.

But this time…I stopped. The tune was catchy (really any country tune is pretty catchy), the crooners’ voices the right mix of twang and spice. Yes, my ears perked up. Then my brows dropped. The lyrics were far from what I could call acceptable listening material and I was ready to flip to the next song, but the lyrics paused me again, for an entirely different reason.

I’ll give the quick and easy Casey paraphrase: “Prayin’ on Sunday and cussin’ on Monday…”


So I listened again and sure enough those same lyrics repeated themselves. My heart cracked a fissure’s length and I wanted to wave my hands, stop the music and holler, “wait, that’s not right! Do you realize it matters how you live? It’s not just today. It’s not just tomorrow. It’s everyday living in Christ with your life as a blazing flame for Him.”

But no one was listening to me in that editing room.

My great-grandfather and grandmother
My great-grandfather was an old salt-of-the-earth farmer. A bear of a man, he towered over my great-grandmother, with hands like slabs, calloused out of hours working over the farm ground he loved.  He was the iconic overall-clad man of America.

He died years ago when I was tiny—I don’t remember the man at all. At his funeral my dad asked one of his cousins, “Did Grandpa know and trust Jesus as his Savior?”

Why such doubt about my grandfather's salvation? 

Because Grandpa had one statement to say about church people: he didn’t smoke. They did. He didn’t drink. They did. From their actions and for all intents and purposes, he lived a cleaner, holier life then they did. What made them any different than the rest of the world? He didn’t see one.

Ultimately, his choice for salvation, was just that his choice. He owns that choice.

But those “church people’s” lack of living for Christ greatly influenced my grandfather.

I’ve been called legalistic for my stance on how I believe my life should be lived: purified and holy in Christ. 

I’ve been told it’s ridiculous for me to expect Christians to walk in this same path of purity and holiness in Christ all the time.

What do I look back and tell them? How you live your life affects everyone around you.

My grandfather looked at a church and saw a white-washed tomb. What made them so different that he should change to follow their God? There wasn’t a difference. So he didn’t.

So you’ll forgive me if I’m on fire. You’ll forgive me when I look you directly in the eye, lower my shoulders and speak it like it is: it matters how you live.

Let the world, made up of the individuals you run into every day, see you and see something beautifully different.



(My grandfather's story doesn't fully end here. Next week, I want to share a sliver of someone's life who did show Grandpa Christ and how it changed the thread work of my family story.)  


  1. Great post Casey. Yes, it matters how we live. We are called to look differently in the eyes of others. After all, we are followers of Jesus aren't we? My life reflects how others see me. We screen the movies we see before going. What kind of witness would I be if I walked out of a movie theater and there was a friend I was witnessing to coming in and asks me, what movie did you see? If I saw a R rated movie with all the cussing, nudity, etc. what witness would I be to my friend? (Have to be careful of PG-13 movies too!)

    That's my 2 cents worth!

    Judy B

    1. My dad has a very similar philosophy, Judy. It makes your actions and what you say and do seen through a completely different and clearer lenses. It's a perspective you can't get away. I appreciate your stance, Judy and sharing it here. I completely agree with what you've said!

  2. I hope this doesn't come up twice, but it looks like what I typed disappeared when I was signing in to my google profile.
    Your post made me think of a song by a Christian artist, Bruce Carroll. I haven't heard anything new from him for quite some time, at the time he was considered country. He had a song that included the line "you're the only Jesus some may ever see", such an important thing to remember.

    1. I haven't heard that one, but I definitely need to. Thank you for sharing that suggestion, MaryAnn--and that IS so absolutely true. Our world is so godless, we are often the only Jesus people will see. Really makes one thing about their actions!

  3. Wonderful! I was waiting for this post and it was well worth the wait! Love you sis! You are such a wonderful godly person!

  4. Thank you for this post. I have had this discussion with many of my friends, and they think I am trying to be legalistic. Some of the things I do (wear skirts, have long hair) are personal choices that I don't think all Christians are called to. However, principles like modesty, a difference in what we talk about, and the things we spend our time on should be very different than that of the world.

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