At an early age, I remember hearing about a man named Billy Graham. My grandmother loved his ministry and would speak of him often. I can remember hearing her talk about how inspiring his sermons were and how his commitment to the Word not only brought so many to Christ, but impacted how people viewed the Christian faith.
In elementary school, I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This book was different than most books I was assigned to read. It was not only a magical story, but it had a deeper meaning that I hadn’t seen before in other books. There was a line that especially stood out as I read.
“It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
This line is in reference to Aslan who represents Christ throughout the Narnia series. We serve a creator God who is able to use creative people, such as C.S. Lewis, to beautifully paint pictures of His character. The image that that line conjured in my mind when I first read it was enough to stop me dead. God in that moment said,"I AM WILD. I AM NOT TAME. I AM NOT BORING!"
As a young teenager, I came across another author named A.W. Tozer. He wrote about the Christian life in a way that was inspiring and awesome. His descriptions of pursuing God and knowing God were unlike anything I had read before.
In The Pursuit of God it states: “He is, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him. Love and mercy and righteousness are His, and holiness so ineffable that no comparisons or figures will avail to express it. Only fire can give even a remote conception of it. In fire He appeared at the burning bush; in the pillar of fire He dwelt through all the long wilderness journey.”
God is an all consuming, purifying, uncontrollable FIRE!
Today, as I look back at these snapshots of my youth, and my experiences with these icons of the Christian world; I see that being exposed to their ideas and theology early helped to form foundations for my own faith. The influences that I took from these men helped to shape my ideas of what it is like to live out a Christian faith. To always remember and put into perspective what Christ did for me on the cross. To love and serve my God with my heart, soul, and mind.
These men, along with so many other men and women of the past and present, offer such great gifts of wisdom not only to adults but to children. The world is a dark place, and there are so many influences out there that bombard our kids on a daily basis. Looking to Icons like J.I. Packard, Elizabeth Elliot, Charles Spurgeon, Fanny Crosby, to name a few, can teach our kids early about Christianity. God uses these brilliant men and women to create pictures that will inspire our imaginations and forever imprint on our hearts the awesomeness of who He is. They can give our children a sense of what faith and following Christ looks like beyond the church, parents and teachers.
As a parent myself, I hope to introduce my children to these figures at an early age. It is my hope that through reading and listening to these great men and women, that God would reveal things to their young minds, and allow them to connect to Him on a deeper level.
Which Icon of the Christian faith has inspired you?
Lisa Joens is the Associate Producer at Theo Presents. She and her husband Brandon work along side each other on the Theo Productions. She is also a mom to two wonderful little kiddos.