Dying to Self with Speech from Arrested Development
Known for their hit songs, “Tennessee,” “People Everyday,” and “Mr. Wendal,” Arrested Development was founded by Speech and his friend Headliner. In 1993, the group won two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. They were also recognized as Band of the Year by Rolling Stone Magazine. We interviewed Speech in 2007 and talked with him about his spiritual journey and the importance of dying daily to oneself.
Speech reflects on his spiritual journey.
“I wasn’t looking for God at the time. No, I guess I was looking for God, but not a Christian God. Nisha, a sister in our group, kept inviting us to church, but my wife and I weren’t really interested. We had seen hypocrisy in churches, but we finally came, about six months after first being invited. We didn’t really like it too much, but we saw that there was something interesting about it. There was a certain joy, a certain family connection that we saw. We went back and we were asked to study the Bible by some members. I always have liked those kinds of invitations. This was very different and I ended up believing in Jesus.”
“Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:5-7
Speech shares how he daily dies to himself and how marriage and children are a great training for it.
“It’s a daily thing. It would be way too overwhelming if I tried to do it all at once…I find marriage is one of the things, one of the refining things, marriage and kids. A lot of times people don’t deny self when they’re single, but when you want to do this and the wife wants to do that…I have two kids, ages nine and twelve. I don’t know if my way’s special, but I believe that children should obey. You see so many families where the kids don’t obey. To me that’s sad, because there’s a blessing in obedience, and kids are much more joyful when they obey. I think in our time, having our rights…obedience seems rough; it seems harsh when I say it to a fellow American. I don’t know how you or some other American reading this will see it. I know it’s a biblical thing, it’s totally healthy, it’s loving, it’s positive. It’s sad that the word has been stolen, the joy of the word, the awesomeness of the word, even when it comes to the joy of adults obeying God.”
Invite a friend. Whether it is to church, a Bible study, or an outreach, invite a friend that doesn’t know Christ. It can be intimidating to go to any of those things if you haven’t been before. Try and share with your friend what the time will look like. Ask them if they have any questions. If you can try to ease any fears or hesitations that they might have. It can help to meet up beforehand so that they don’t feel like they are going alone. Afterwards, grab a meal or coffee and ask them what they thought of their experience. If they are open to it see if there is an opportunity for you to share how you came to Christ and see if they would like to start a relationship with Christ. They might not be ready. They might have more questions. Be willing to meet with them to help answer their questions or connect them to a small group leader or pastor that can help them too.
Pray for someone who doesn’t know Christ. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker or classmate. Make a list of the top five people that you would like to see come to know Christ. Write it on an index card. Put the index card somewhere that you will see it daily. It could be on your mirror as you get ready for work, in your Bible, or on your steering wheel. Commit to daily praying for those five people. Ask God to soften their hearts to the Gospel. Ask God to show you what might be holding them back from starting a relationship with Him. Pray that God would give you the words to share with them. Look for opportunities to share your faith with them. It might be a conversation over coffee or inviting them to an event at your church.
Die to yourself. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to die to yourself. It can be difficult putting aside our dreams and desires. But God wants us to die to those things. He will often resurrect them through His will. Remember that His plan is the best even if it may not seem like it at the time. Pray and ask God to show you His will and His plan. Ask your small group leader or pastor for wisdom and guidance.
To read our entire interview with Speech from Arrested Development, click here