Saturday, January 24, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 14)

Jesus said, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under the measuring bowl; instead, they put it on a lampstand, where it provides light for everyone in the house. So too, your light must shine in front of people, in such a way that they may see your good deeds and give the glory to your heavenly Father.
— Matthew 5:15-16 (USC)
Good works, for the glory of God, are purposed toward both challenge and encouragement. Being salty Christians (verse 13) means we challenge the status quo and improve it where we can, whilst being lit Christians means we encourage the Kingdom and sustain it – by the Holy Spirit’s enabling Presence.
Being salty, for a great many of us, is very difficult work; we’d much prefer being lights and preferring grace over truth. Yet, for others, being light is hard, because they find speaking the truth is their necessity.
Being light is further complicated in many cultures by the avoidance of highlighting the mode of being light, because it looks like bragging or pride.
Being light, however, is not about showing off. If being light is part of our character, our hearts will shine forth because we are comfortable with who we are.
A Christian’s job is to stand out and make something of a difference.
That’s not me saying it; Jesus says it. We are to run counter to the darkness and shine our Jesus light into the said darkness that is full of omission, half-truth, white lies, envy, greed, laziness, etc.
Our counter is the fruit of the Spirit. We return humility for pride, generosity for greed, patient smiles for angry grimaces, and graceful forgiveness for rumbling resentment.
We obey the Lord by going against what we would like to do. That’s why obedience is hard. We have to go against what we would otherwise wish to do.
The beauty of grace, being lights of the world, is sacrificial obedience, out of love; and it’s our privilege when glory goes to God.
1.     Think of times you’ve been the light of your world and glory went to God. Describe what you thought and how you felt. How compelling is this example – to be blessed by God, when glory goes to the Lord – to follow?
2.     How do we shine our lights without appearing like braggarts?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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