First of all let me apologize for the long gap between posts! It's been a long season with Bible Bee and the competition continues with nationals studying.
This year at work I was talking to a Christian friend who doesn't go to church. We were talking about the Bible and our spiritual walk and I brought up the subject of church. A girl nearby spoke up, "You don't have to go to church to be a Christian." Now I know this perfectly well, and was not saying such to him, but it really got me thinking. What is Christianity? Is it just some label we wear when we hang around Christian friends? Is it just believe in Jesus and be saved, and then live like nothing happened?
Maybe you were saved at an early age like I was. Or maybe to you Christianity is something you trashed long ago. Or maybe Christianity is a whole new concept to you. Maybe you've read about people who gave their life to Christ and had a 180 where everything changed for them and they started talking about Jesus to everyone. If you were being raised up in a Christian home when you became a Christian, maybe you didn't experience a miraculous 180 when you were saved. Maybe you've wondered, why is there nothing different with me? Is Christianity really supposed to make a difference in my life?
The answer to that last question is yes. And to answer the previous question, instead of asking "why is there nothing different with me?", let's ask ourselves this question: Why am I not making a difference in me?
When we became Christians, what separates us from everyone else is that God has given us of His Spirit (John 14:16-17 and 1 John 4:13). When we become Christians, God gives us a Helper - the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit's role is to "guide us into all truth" (John 16:13). He is not going to force us to do what we need to do. He will guide us if we let Him, but He is not going to force us. The point of all this is, we are not left alone. God has given us His Spirit to help us do what we as Christians are called to do. And we are called to be light.
In John 1:9 Jesus is called "that true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world." Jesus is the Light. Let's take a look at John 8:12:
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
Because we are followers of the light of the world, we have the light in us! If someone gives you something, he/she wants you to do something with what they gave you. So what is it Jesus wants us to do with His light?
In John 9:5 Jesus said:
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
So who is the light in this world when He is in heaven? Matthew 5:14 says:
"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Wow! We are the light of the world! Is this starting to come together now? Jesus is the Light, we believe in Him and receive the light. Jesus shines His Light while He is in the world, and now we shine His light into the world!
The sun and moon are perfect examples of this. The sun, representing Jesus, is the source of the light. Daytime, representing Jesus' time on earth, is when He shines the fullness of His light upon it. Nighttime, when He has returned to heaven, is when His light reflects off the moon, representing believers, back onto the earth!
How do we reflect His light? By how we act. Look again at Matthew 5:14 and the two verses after it:
"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.
You are the light. You are the city. You are the lamp. So shine. How? Good works. Remember my study on James 2? Good works do not earn your salvation. Good works show your salvation to everyone around you. Ephesians 2:10 says that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (emphasis mine).
"A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." Why? Because it is set on a hill. It is elevated so everyone around can see. It is different from all the other towns built in the valley. So should our light be. James said, "Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works." He's basically saying you can't show the world how you're different except by doing good works. They don't save you, but they display your salvation.
"Love one another." John 4:9-16 says,
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
If we let the world get in the way of us and the Son, and let the world eclipse our abiding in God, our light is not "giving light to all who are in the house" (Matthew 5:15).
At some times, shining our light may be easy, but it's the times when it's hard that it really counts. Like when your little sister starts bossing you around. How are you going to respond? Tell her to shut up and shove her away, or kindly ask her to stop?
Or when your mom or dad correct you when you do something wrong. Are you going to admit your mistake or get upset and stomp off?
How about when your family plans a big vacation but then has to cancel it due to work or finances. What is your behavior going to be like? Are you going to be in a bad temper all week, or cheerfully find another activity to do?
Or when a friend or a loved one dies. How will you respond? Will you slam your fist and curse God, or reach out to his/her family in comfort?
These are all scenarios where we can choose either to let our light shine, or to hide it under a basket. These are only a few compared to the many opportunities we have each day. Reread through Matthew 5:16:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
"And glorify your Father in heaven." That's the ultimate goal - to bring glory to God for what He has done in your life! Who knows? Maybe sometime someone will notice your light shining and ask you, "What makes you so different from everybody else?" And then you share the gospel with them.
Blog Post IndexWhat Is Christmas? He Said Be Still Don't Fake It As Iron Trusting God With Goals True Friends You Have Been Called To Liberty We Overcome Memories With God All Things Are Possible Is Our Light Shining? Paul's Last Words #10: Conclusion Paul's Last Words #9: Our Faithful Lord Paul's Last Words #8: Who Are We Like? Paul's Last Words #7: Loving His Appearing Paul's Last Words #6: Keeping The Faith Paul's Last Words #5: Running The Race Paul's Last Words #4: Fighting The Fight Paul's Last Words #3: As A Drink Offering Paul's Last Words #2: Your Ministry Paul's Last Words #1: I Charge You Unicorns in the Bible Riches: Good or Bad? Do We Know Him? If There Was No Tomorrow As I Have Loved You Following Christ Forgiveness Faith and Works #4 (Final Part): Dead Faith Faith and Works #3: Works Are Your Witness Faith and Works #2: Works Aren't It Faith and Works #1: What Does It Profit? A God Who Approves Cannibalism? Happy The One Who Dashes Not Everyone Who Says To Me, "Lord" Rightly Dividing The Word?