I am not ashamed to say that I am a Christian; I have loved Jesus as my personal Lord, Savior, and Friend since I was old enough to reason. Nevertheless, I would be the first one standing in the imperfect line, should one ever be made. As the Apostle Paul once said (and I paraphrase), “I do everything that I don’t want to do and I don’t do anything that I want to do.” I recently read an article in the January 16, 2012 issue of TIME Magazine about Queen Elizabeth and the example she has set for Princess Kate. While it listed 5 specific lessons that the new Princess could apply as she settles into her new position of royalty, I gleaned 6 which Christians would do well to implement as Image-bearers of their Namesake.
1. Honor the title:Queen Elizabeth understood that the title she bore was something entrusted to her by her country and her people, it was not something she could own. However, while that title came with extreme privilege and fame it also came with great responsibility. Its honor rested in her hands. She could either malign it and drag it through the mire of scornful behavior and disgraceful irresponsibility, or she could elevate it by conducting herself as one with trustworthy character. And so it is with the title of ‘Christian.’ Whatever follows after the title has been given will be associated with the name, hypocrisy or humility.
2. Resist the lure of celebrity and cultivate humility: Every queen has the opportunity to become a household name by providing material for the media and pictures for the paparazzi. And what female does not dream of being a princess or royalty so that she can wave to the adoring masses? A favorite phrase among Christians is “I’m a child of the King” or “I’m a princess because my daddy’s the King.” Likewise, I often see Christians strutting around with a “Treat me well, I’m royalty” look. Queen Elizabeth resisted; she preferred the background and many times was overlooked because of her discreet conduct. She had taken to heart the advice of her Queen Mother: be “the vehicle through which this love for country can be expressed.” May we Christians do likewise: not seek the limelight by by patting ourselves on the back for our good intentions and high ideals, and loving to take credit for our successes. Instead, may we be inconspicuous doers of good.
3. Stay with your look; it shows confidence and reassures the public: the Queen knew how to gradually change her look to be appropriate with her life stages, but it was gradual enough to not appear flaunty or insecure. She also knew what colors and styles to wear depending on the occasion and setting. Christians should also learn to be consistent in our conduct, values, and words so that we can be easily recognized wherever we go. The Bible says that the world should know us by the love that we show to those around us. If we change our ways depending on whether or not we are surrounded by likeminded people, we are sending the message that we are not assured in what we believe. And if we are unsure, is it truly worth believing? When we mess up we’re always ready to extend grace to ourselves and thank God for second, third, and hundreth chances, but we take little responsibility for the fallout of our mistakes and, sometimes deliberate, choices to be self-focused. We are often very quick to demand mercy for ourselves, but first to cast judgment on others. We focus on external religiosity, rather than internal refining. This displays Christianity in a very negative light to the world.
4. Master your brief: From the time she was very young, Queen Elizabeth was immersed in the history and details of her country and future responsibility. Before she attended any major discussion, delegation, dedication, or dinner, she studied the background of the people she would be meeting with, as well as the purpose of the event. This always earned her further respect, for the people realized that they and their country mattered to the Queen. And so it should be for Christians. Are we well-versed in the Bible and its commands for godly living? Are we familiar with the history of our faith and the multitudes of saints and martyrs who laid the stepping stones of Christianity upon which we now walk? Do our children understand why we believe what we do? We often accept mediocre results because “we’re only human,” instead of excellence because “we’re children of the King.”
5. Embrace the countryside and its pursuits: Queen Elizabeth enjoyed the countryside and the people of the country. She knew it was important to get away from the busyness of city life and royal business in order to remember and understand what it’s like to be human. Christians must take time out of the chaos of living in order to remember why we are here and what life is all about. Just as Jesus took time out to be still and commune with His Father, so should we. And in those times He will comfort, heal, and instruct us in the way we should go.
6. Support William without overshadowing him: This is obvious enough when referring to Kate, but Christians need to apply this in reference to Jesus. The world sees individual people, but we want them to see Jesus. When we do something that is not the normal, selfish thing to do it is delightful to bask in the glory of praise; in those moments the focus has overshadowed the One for whom we live and serve. Let all we do be in His name and for His recognition, for without Him we would not be.
You might say that my expectations are too high for the average human being. Probably so. Nevertheless, I must say that if we choose to bear Christ’s name than we are no longer in the league of average. We have assumed a divine legacy and must give our lives in keeping the royal standard from being trampled beneath the filth of ignorance and disgrace.