Keeping Him Real
Why You Be Frontiní? (Stop Playing Church)
By Jacob Garcia

While growing up in New York City, I learned, somewhat, how to adapt to the language and the common phrases that were used in the areaís everyday language, which, for some reason, made me feel as though I could express my thoughts and opinions more freely. As a teenager, Iím sure that I could have worded most of my statements with correct grammar, but there are just some sayings that donít have an alternative.

As a young Christian, I found that many of my fellow classmates, some of which I recognized from other churches, would not converse with other students about the wonderful gifts and blessings that God has to offer. I remember how I stood out of the crowd, not because my beliefs were different, but because I voiced them. Even now, as an adult, the truth that comes right from the word of God, seems like "inappropriate" discussion to many people and even "outrageous." It seems as though truth and justice arenít always the American way. At times, many live a lie in an attempt to put up a front for the world. I know for a fact that with the truth, persecution can sometimes rise against you. My classmates ridiculed me and mocked the very words that came out of my mouth, which, most of the time, came right from the Bible. But that didnít bother me so much as the fact that my brethren from the local churches in my neighborhood, seemed to have taken a vow of silence when it came to the gift of salvation. If anything, they just joined right along with our unbelieving peers.

On one occasion, during lunch, I was put on the spot by some of the students who came right out and asked me, "If I were to put a gun to your head and told you to curse, would you do it, or would you die with your belief?" At that moment, the situation of Job chapter 10 came to my mind. He, when confronted with similar circumstances, would have chosen death, receiving the gifts that come from upholding righteousness. I simply replied that death would be my choice, for "in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil.1:20-21) I was then asked "Why you be frontiní?" As grammatically incorrect as it sounded, I still, to this day, cannot understand how they could have asked me why I was putting up a front when I publicly confess and believe in Godís plan of salvation through the death of Christ Jesus, His Son.

At a young age, I came to recognize "the front" that can develop from not having an established relationship with Jesus Christ and just "playing church." It is wonderful to be able to have the joy of the Lord within us. That is especially true at church, in the house of God. But what an even bigger joy it is to be able to independently experience His wonderful and divine presence all about us everywhere we go and with everything that we do. Iíll tell you, brethren, I have yet to see someone who, when putting up a front, has succeeded on their spiritual walk with Christ. Conversely, I have definitely seen growth in popularity, financial gain, and sometimes even outstanding recognition for a well managed life in Christ. Let us always remember, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this manís religion is in vain." (James 1:26)