Does Your Lifestyle Reveal or Conceal Faith?

The deep, unmistakable rumble of multiple V-twin, Harley-Davidson engines caught my attention. From the back seat of my family’s station wagon, I began peering around for the choppers headed our way. Before long, a group of long-haired, hellraising Bandidos roared past wearing their familiar denim vests with the requisite red and gold patches and rockers on their backs. It was the early 1970s, and my family was living in Corpus Christi, Texas. The sight and sounds of the Bandido Nation were becoming common place in the Sparkling City by the Sea, and I was always thrilled to see the outlaw bikers and their choppers roaring past, even though those around me warned of their hellion ways.

Jump forward a few years. Now, I’m driving my ’64 El Camino in the Texas Hill Country outside Austin with a friend up front with me and two more in the back. I knew the rumbling sound instantaneously and immediately began looking around for the pack of brothers. As the horde of red and gold bikers rolled past, my friends began passing liquid refreshments from our cage to the iron horsemen. The Bandidos were out in force that day and smiled approvingly at the free beers as they roared on down the highway toasting freedom.

I had other encounters with bikers through the years. My buddies and I really ticked off a lone rider one night in Austin with the constant blaring of our car’s horn at a stop light. After a thrilling game of chase and the stalling of our vehicle’s engine, the biker dismounted his trusty steed, rushing toward the car swinging a mace and chain. My friend got his car restarted, and we escaped just in time with the auto – and perhaps our lives – still intact. Then there was the biker bar we sometimes visited as underage teenagers, although we rarely stayed very long after being tapped on the shoulder by a burly bearded man insisting we move along.

My guess is that you, too, have heard the sound of rolling thunder and seen long-haired outlaw bikers on top of scooters wearing their colors – a vest covered with colored patches testifying to the world who and what they are.

Hells Angels, Bandidos, Mongols, Outlaws, Pagans, Warlocks, Vagos … they all wear their own unique colors, but the message is the same – they are part of a specific group and will die defending their brothers. An outlaw biker’s vest also includes other patches that bear witness to things like the wearer’s sexual exploits, drug use, and marauding ways. Look closely at the cut and tattoos, signs that will reveal if the person has killed for their motorcycle club. A biker’s colors, persona, tattoos, and scooter tell all those around to step aside – one big, bad, freedom-loving man is coming through and he has a pack of brothers watching his back.

My guess is you are wondering what all of that has to do with a website on Christian living. Consider this – when you see an outlaw biker wearing his club’s colors, don’t you instantly know, at least in part, the message they are proclaiming? But when people see you, how long does it take them to know you are a Christian? Does your life testify to your Lord? Do your ways acknowledge him? Can your brothers and sisters in Christ trust you to defend them?

In Matthew 5:14-16, the Bible states, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

In truth, while we are called to stand up on the holy precepts of God and stand out by living a holy life before men, we are instead standing on the holey principles of man and thereby living a holey life. It is an active and daily decision to follow God, and it’s a decision we are failing to make both individually and collectively.

Mark 7:21says,For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

However, we are called to be more – much more. Remember, Matthew 5:16 instructs God’s children to Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Christ said it this way, “take up your cross and follow me.”

In short, are we who we say we are? Can others tell we are Christ-followers by watching our actions? All too often, the testament of our lives says the answer to those questions is an emphatic no.

My life may be similar to yours – one where first love dimmed and yielded to complacency. One filled with the joy of salvation but sadly, in years past, occupied too by a multitude of sins, like drunkenness, divorce, ungodly addictions, or sexual indiscretions. Maybe your sins are different – greed, gossiping, and gluttony or perhaps pornography and prostitution. What is it that controls your life and negates your witness?

As a native Texan, I grew up enamored with the history of the Alamo and that time, long ago, when a line was reportedly drawn in the dirt by Col. William Barrett Travis. Do you recall the story? Col. Travis drew his sword, cut a line in the ground, and invited his fellow defenders to stay and fight until death.

As the story goes, he proclaimed, “We must die. Our business is not to make a fruitless effort to save our lives but to choose the manner of our deaths. Continuing his impassioned speech, Col. Travis added, “I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line.”

All but one man – a French soldier of fortune – is said to have crossed that man-made barrier. Commander Jim Bowie, lying sick on his cot, even asked to be carried across the line.

While historians argue over the truth of the ‘line in the dirt’ story, the outcome is indisputable – at least 182 Texians died there that day while more than 600 Mexicans were killed or wounded. That battle was a turning point in the Texas Revolution. Less than two months later, Santa Anna and his Mexican army were defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto.

My friend, you are God’s warrior, and your turning point is near.

Will you cross the line and fight for Christ? Will you stand firm, be bold and steadfast when faced with life’s battles?

We must stand firm, die to self, take up our cross, and follow our Savior. We should be more. We can be more. We must be more – minute by minute, hour by hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We must be His hands and feet, a city set upon a hill – His message of salvation to the nations. Our lives must be a clear and visible testament to the transformative touch of our loving Father.

If you like and are blessed by the content created by Outrider Ministries for Christ, we encourage you to regularly visit our website while also telling your family and friends about us. Never forget – you are important to us and vital to our success at spreading the word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. May His abounding love, mercy, and grace be upon you.

Bradley "Outrider" Harrington

I’m just a guy who cares about those who are all too often ignored and forgotten. I understand that most people won’t walk through the church’s doors, especially when not invited or they feel out of place. So, after sitting on the sidelines for far too many years, I finally decided it was time for me to hit the highways, byways, waterways, streets, trails, and back-alleys of the world to encourage the disheartened, proclaim the message of Christ, serve those in need, and pray for you.

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