devozine

Spiritual Practice

LEARNING TO BE FAITHFUL

Matt Maher

I believe that having the “mind of Christ” means we make a conscious decision to surround ourselves with people and things that glorify God so that the things we look at and listen to and the people we allow to influence us help us to become like Christ.

Matt_4990_R1 2Growing up, I was exposed to all kinds of music, people, and religious beliefs. Living in Newfoundland, Canada, and then in the United States, I experienced many different cultures and kinds of people. I grew up listening to every kind of music imaginable and still enjoy an eclectic mix of musical styles. My family introduced me to a wide spectrum of theological perspectives, but I really wasn’t interested in church. Only after my parents divorced and I moved to Arizona with my mom did I finally become involved in the church.

Discovering People Who Are Like Christ

As I began to explore my faith more seriously, several people influenced me both musically and spiritually. First and foremost, I think of Tom Booth, who is an amazing musician and a faithful disciple. Tom taught me the art of good songwriting, the importance of stage presence, and a sensitivity to the flow of worship. He taught me how to develop lyrics that speak about not only the faith but also the lives of the people who listen to our music.

Matt_4921_Retouch 2Another person who influenced my faith was the late Rich Mullins. Rich was involved in a musical being put on by St. Timothy’s Catholic Community, the church I attended in Mesa, Arizona. I was asked to play the part of the man who betrayed Christ. In playing that role, I was constantly challenged to consider how in my own actions and in my own heart I also betrayed Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Rich, with his candor and his humble approach to life and to salvation, was an inspiration to me.

Mark Hall, of Casting Crowns, is also an example for me. I admire his commitment to his family and to his home church as well as his desire to live a godly life and to teach others what it means to walk faithfully with Christ.

God has also surrounded me with a great team of people who share the desire to know and follow God’s heart in our music and ministry. As close friends and colleagues, we challenge one another on a daily basis to sharpen our focus on Christ and to pattern our lives after his.


mattmaher_aliveagain_cvr-hi 2Finding Faith in the Bible

As I seek to be more like Christ, I continue to look up to other people and try to follow their example. I also try to follow Christ, living as he lived, standing for what he believed in, and loving the unlovable. I have discovered that the best examples of faithful living are found in the Bible. One character that particularly inspires me is Mary, a teenager who willingly surrendered her life to the work and the mystery of God. The Magnificat (see Luke 1:46–55), Mary’s prayer of praise offered by the first human ever to accept Jesus Christ into her being, was the inspiration for “Great Things,” one of the songs on my album Empty and Beautiful. It reminds me that in everything we experience, God is up to something amazing and holy.

 

DIG DEEPER

Consider Mary’s prayer in Luke 1:38a (NRSV): “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then read Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 26:39b (NRSV): “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”

What would it be like to be in a position to change the world because of your willingness to obey God? What do you do when following Christ is hard and understanding the larger plan for your life seems impossible? In times like these, when following your own plans is easier than obeying God, try praying as Mary and Jesus did, proclaiming daily that you too are willing to surrender to God’s will.

mattmaher_empty&beautiful_press-main_hi 2

Matt Maher Matt's album Empty and Beautiful challenges us to become like Christ by emptying ourselves and being filled with his beautiful grace. Learn more about Matt and his music at www.mattmahermusic.com.

—from devozine (September/October 2009). Copyright © 2009 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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