Interim Chaplain Joshua Chiles led Erskine’s chapel service Oct. 1, speaking on the role personal character plays in a relationship with God.
“He wants your heart,” Chiles told the students, adding that “God wants to use your life.”
The chaplain preached from 2 Chronicles 12:9-10, examining King Rehoboam’s lack of character. In the passage, Shishak, king of Egypt, took away the golden shields Rehoboam’s father Solomon had made, and Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields. The text explains that this happened because Rehoboam turned his back on the law of God after inheriting the kingdom of Israel from his father and grandfather.
Speaking about the shields, Chiles told his audience that they should strive to be like gold, a precious metal, rather than like bronze, a common and less valuable alloy. Too often, he said, people settle for the common so they can be accepted by others. Believers should live in a way that is worthy of their inheritance in Christ.
“Do you want to be popular with people or do you want to be popular with God?” he asked.
Chiles laid out five points to focus on in order to live for God: “divine power over human effort,” “committed living over carnal living,” “genuine over generic,” “examples over excuses,” and “repentance over appearance.”
In his first point, “divine power over human effort,” Chiles said that God must be the driving force in the Christian’s life. The believer should not try to live independently of God’s power because “you will never be in a place where you do not need God.”
He also exhorted students to be committed to the eternal God rather than to temporary pleasure. This commitment will lead believers to stand out in the culture; however, it is better to be “genuine” in faith, pleasing God, than to be “generic,” fitting in with the crowd. Believers should strive to lead by example, not making excuses or blaming others for their problems.
The chaplain’s final point focused on “repentance over appearance.” He used a story from his childhood to demonstrate that people should be less worried about their appearance and popularity. When Chiles was a teenager, he wanted a gold chain to impress his friends but could not afford one. To keep up appearances, he bought a fake chain that looked genuine. This chain caused his neck to break out in hives. Chiles explained that this was the moment he realized that appearance is not important. Popularity will not matter in five years, much less at the end of our lives. Instead of focusing on outward appearance, believers should focus on repentance of sin and relationship with God.
“Are you giving yourself to God?” Chiles asked the chapel audience.