As a budding chemist, you have just come up with the greatest idea for freezing a soft drink without losing its fizz and snap. You write up your idea explaining the chemistry behind it and why you are sure the carbonated fizz will not be adversely affected by the freezing and thawing process. You submit your article to the leading scientific soda journal for publication.

Your parents, grandparents and all your uncles and most of your aunts think it is a great article. Even your cousins rush to purchase the next three editions of the soda journal but your story never appears. Finally, you get word back and your heart sinks. Your story has been subjectedto a ‘Peer Review’ and it was rejected. Other chemists have reviewed your article. They concluded you were out to lunch and your methodology was seriously flawed. Your parents might think you are an outstanding young chemist; they may be wowed by your brilliance, but your professional chemist peers gave you a thumbs down.

Spiritually, what kind of reviews do your peers give you? How you act around your parents or when you are visiting Aunt Bertha may be different than how you behave around your peers. Auntie may email your dear parents and tell them what an outstanding young gentleman you are. “A perfect, humble, gracious, caring, saintly, one-of-a-kind, young Christian man, indeed,” they write. BUTwhat reviews would your peers give you?

David was only a teenager, out in the fields caring for his father’s sheep. He was a bit of a harpist and seemed to enjoy plucking strings making music for the Lord. King Saul was battling unpredictable mood swings.  Music seemed to be an effective therapeutic intervention for him. The palace officials put together a Search Committee to select a suitable therapeutic musician.

A young member of the palace staff suggested young David.

One of the young men answered,

“Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite,

who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech,

 and a man of good presence,

and the LORD is with him.”

(1 Samuel 16:18)

It wasn’t his father or Aunt Bertha singing his praises; it was a peer. Another young guy who met David somewhere along the way and was  deeply impressed with his musical talents, his courage, the wise and careful words he spoke and his spiritual depth – “And to top it all off, the Lord is obviously with him!”

You can show up at Bible Conferences and look good. You can dress up on Sunday mornings and make your debut and the elders nod their heads and say: “A fine Christian she is.” You can participate in family devotions around your dinner table and your parents are thrilled. You can send an email from college and tell them about attending the Bible Study and they are greatly relieved that you’re still on track for the Lord.  BUT what side of you do your peers see?

If tragedy struck and a funeral was being held for you, would your peers be shocked to hear what your Sunday School teacher or an elder or the preacher had to say about you? Would they look at each other, roll their eyes and whisper: “Wow – that’s a different side to him than what we saw!”

Do your peers say what David’s peer said about him: “And the Lord is with him?”

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ

Peter Ramsay

[email protected]