Friday, May 20, 2016

What's Your Title?

This morning as I was searching through Amazon for the video to accompany today's Song of the Day, I was disturbed by some of the results that came up under my search.  I typed in "If Not for the Love of Christ," but that was not the first or even second thing that popped up on my screen.  On the contrary, the song was several items down the page.  If you're familiar with Amazon, you'll know that the items are listed according to popularity (which is, unfortunately, why none of my books show up on the first page unless you're searching for the exact title or my name, <sigh>).  That means that every item listed above the one I was looking for was more popular and had sold more on Amazon.

Here are a couple of items that struck me by their titles alone:  If God Gets Angry Why Can't I? and If God Is Not for Me, Then He Must Be Against Me.  I don't know about you, but as soon as I read each of these titles, red flags went up in my mind.  The first struck me as a petulant child making excuses to have his/her own way.  The second brought to mind someone who is going through a rough patch in life and has resolved himself to the fact that God is his enemy.

Disturbed, yet intrigued, I had to pull up the two books and read through their descriptions.  It turns out that I was pretty close on the first one and way off on the second.  The first book is about how we all have feelings and emotions and that all of those emotions are a good thing and are within us to serve us (there's that red flag again).  Dangerous ground, to be sure!  The second is actually a work of fiction about two military lovers (both men from what I can tell) who are separated when a "Stranger" from above enters their relationship and promises salvation for the soul.  Honestly, without knowing where the story is headed, I don't know what to think about it, but I do know this:  I would change the title.

As a writer of ten years, I've come to two important conclusions:  (1) People do judge books by their covers. (2) People are drawn or turned away from a book by its title.  For example, I am drawn to books that use titles that I can relate to such as, "You'll Get Through This" or "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World."  These titles relate to me what the book is about, and the topic is one I want to know more about.  With a title like, If God Is Not for Me, Then He Must Be Against Me, what kind of readers is it going to attract?  Those who feel like God is against them.

Whether you realize it or not, we are all book covers of salvation's story, and each day we plaster a title across our face (i.e. an expression).  Some days our titles read, God Is Good!  Ask Me Why or I Am So Blessed, and they attract others who want to know more about the topic.  Unfortunately, some days, our titles turn to those of distress like I Can't Face Another Day Like Today or I'm So Weary of This Fight, and guess what happens.  Yep, we invite the gloomy guses to our company and scare everyone else away.  One glance in our direction is enough to make most people scurry away.

Please understand, I'm not saying that we should plaster a fake smile on our face as we go about our day.  What I'm saying is that we shouldn't have to.  Our smile should be real because our joy is.  Yes, things may be hard.  Yes, the day may seem bleak.  And sure, we may be going through a rough patch.  But if we'll keep in mind that if God is for us, no one (and nothing) can be against us, we'll find the way to smile genuinely through our tears.  And others will see that smile and inquire about the strength we have to praise in the midst of our storm which will, in turn, open the door for us to be witnesses for Christ.

As you go about your day today, keep in mind that the world is studying your "cover" and reading your "title."  Will they desire to know more or be turned away?

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? - Romans 8:31

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