“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”-Matthew 5:14-16
Years ago, I worked with this guy who had a crazy foul mouth and crazy foul stories. He was a nice guy and all, but just don’t get on his bad side. One night I hear worship music. I hear someone singing along to Third Day. I walk over and it’s this one guy singing. My mouth was open and I was shocked. I asked what the deal was, did he get saved and start going to church? Nope, he answered, he’s always been saved for years. I walked away baffled.
Our belief in Jesus is the same as walking around with a light in a dark place. He wants us to be careful what we say, how we act, how we react around others who don’t know him. I think most of the unchurched keeps an eye on anyone claiming to be a Christian and carrying around a bible. I also think a lot of the unchurched remain unchurched because they don’t see any difference in the way Christians act and react than anyone else. This quote is attributed to Ghandi-
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
True? Hmmm, hard to argue that one. I recently taught a high school ministry class on hypocrisy. Most of the kids agreed church members can be hypocrites. Sigh.
So how can we shine our light the way Christ intended?
Watch our motivations-Are we ticked off about something? Because it’s okay to be ticked off. Jesus got ticked off in Matthew 21:12 at people taking advantage of others. I get ticked off because I’m not getting my way. See the difference? Jesus gets mad because he’s concerned about others. I can get mad when it’s concerning my selfishness. Why are we acting or reacting a certain way? Is it for us, others or God?
Don’t follow the world, follow Jesus-Every day, we want to follow our own way. We think of ourselves first and what we can get. Jesus wants us to follow him in everything we do. It’s very easy to say, well, everyone else is doing it. Everyone else is watching this series on HBO. Everyone else is reading these books. We kind of want to go along with everyone else, but Jesus was known for going against the grain. “Do to to others as you would have them do to you.” What about getting even? “Blessed are the meek…” What? Shouldn’t I be going higher and farther and stronger and faster than anyone else?
This life really isn’t about us, it’s about God. It’s about how awesome he is, how wonderful he is, how loving and gracious and merciful and forgiving he is. Most of us are not close to being any of what he is, which is why we need to shine a light for him, not us.