What makes you different? We all have our own idiosyncrasies that make us, well, us. They are the little things that either draw people to us or push them away. You have all heard it said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is true. We are always sizing people up, taking notice of what they do, say, wear, how they act, walk, dance, talk–you name it. We are constantly taking notice. When people find out that you are a Christian, the magnification gets doubled. They are extremely interested in what we do and say as Christians, even if they are not willing to admit it. This is something that I was always told throughout high school and never believed. I could not imagine that people cared whether I was a Christian or not (which shows where I was in my walk at the time). Now that I am older, I know full well how closely I was watched. All of this takes me to the passage of scripture that I want to look at this week.
In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise the father in heaven.” (NIV)
This passage is loaded with a lot of information for Christians. In previous weeks, I have mentioned that we are influenced by the world that we live in and need to regularly take stock of what it is that we are allowing to do the influencing. I have mentioned that we need to think about what we are putting in front of our eyes as well as whom we are allowing to influence us in our friendships. Christ is telling us that we are the light of the world. We are not to be some candle that is almost snuffed out, or one that glows a little bit when we go to church. No! We are the light of the world–and that means your world. We all have our own world and sphere of influence that is unique to only us. Are our lives lighting up our world before men so that they are fully aware of the fact that we follow Christ and thus are different from the rest of the world?
If you would have asked me in high school whether I was afraid to say I was a Christian, I would have said no, I don’t care who knows, but in reality I most definitely cared. Granted, if someone asked me point blank if I was a Christian I would have said yes, but was I a light in my world of high school so that ultimately my words and actions led others in some way toward the father in heaven? Probably not.
I think a lot of people live in this reality. They won’t lie if asked about being a Christian, but at the same time they will do what they can to melt into the background, they will try to fit in with the world around them. We need to remember that our citizenship is in heaven (Php 3:20) and we are not of this world. In addition to that, the apostle Peter writes that we are aliens and strangers in this world. The world is dark and not what we should seek to emulate. We are called to be the light in this world so that others can see the truth. That is the purpose of light–to allow one to see so that they don’t stumble in the dark. If we continue to claim citizenship in the world with our words and actions here on this earth, then we are not allowing Christ’s light to shine in us to show others the way to the father in heaven. On the flipside if we do claim to have citizenship with our heavenly father our light should be a beacon to those within our sphere of influence, one that causes our friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers to ask what makes us different.
Final Thought: Think of a way that you can shine this week. Go ahead and don’t be afraid to turn up the lights a little bit. Remember the more light there is the easier it is to see. God will bless your actions beyond measure.