Sunday, December 3, 2017

Let God Shine Through You

Matthew 5: 14-16 "“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."

Philippians 2: 14-16  " Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain."

Ephesians 5:8  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."

        Christmas is now 3 weeks away.  It comes faster every year, I think, as an adult.  With the Christmas season, the manic shopping frenzy comes too.  The Bible encourages us to let God's light shine through us to glorify Him.  There is no exception clause to the time of year or the circumstances we are in.  We can never give grace and mercy in abundance like God supplies each of us, but we can try to give an ample measure of it.
         We've all seen examples of grace, like letting the last be first in a long grocery line or letting someone else have the coveted parking space at the mall.  'Who does that' or 'They must be a saint' might run across your mind as you grumble that it wasn't you getting the prize spot.  So who really is a 'saint'?  "When a translation of Scripture uses the word saint, it is actually referring to anyone who belongs to God through faith in Christ. In other words, saints are people like us who have the high calling of serving God while reflecting our relationship with Him wherever we are and in whatever we do. That is why the apostle Paul prayed that the eyes and understanding of his readers would be opened to think of themselves as the treasured inheritance of Christ and saints of God (Eph. 1:18)."  Christians are often called hypocrites, because we claim to be saints but act as anything but saintly.  Repentance and God's forgiveness are the answers to that fallen nature in us.
        The best part of all is that we don't have to be like the light bulb that said, "I have to find a way to shine!" The light bulb went to a self-help meeting to learn about its inner capacity for light. It read books about how to get brighter. Each morning the light bulb would get up and recite positive affirmations. "I am a light bulb. I believe in myself. I will shine!" But nothing happened.  Eventually the light bulb became weary and discouraged. It began to doubt who it was and what it could do. It almost burned out completely. Fortunately, one day the light bulb was carefully placed in a fixture. Light burst forth and filled the room. The light bulb finally understood. The key was not to try harder but to plug into the source.
        Trying to shine on our own can be exhausting. Instead, we're simply called to be closely connected to God and remain in Him. When we do, His light pours forth through us in powerful, brilliant ways that change the world. The ways we shine might not make the news, but they make even more of a difference than we can see.
        "If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’re never truly alone, because the Light of the World is living inside you. He hasn’t singled you out for adversity; at some point, every human life is touched by hardship or sorrow. Your response is what matters. Instead of drawing inward, reach out for the Savior’s hand, and let His light shine in your heart. I pray that you experience the peace only He can provide this season and that you will be greatly blessed in the year to come." []
         May each of us, who have been saved by grace, exhibit the fruits of the Spirit and the Light that dwells in us to everyone around us all year round.  We are 'children of light.'

Letting God shine through us in our lives, we should consider three things: []
1. Glorifying God. We are commanded to let our light shine before men so we will bear spiritual fruit that glorifies the Lord. As our life increasingly follows the pattern of the Savior’s, our thoughts and responses will bring Jesus praise and point other people to Him.
2. Conforming to Christ’s likeness. In considering any decision, we should ask ourselves, Will this help me become more like Jesus or tempt me in my weaker areas and cause me to turn away from Him? If we submit our minds and emotions to the Lord, His Spirit will build Jesus’ character qualities into our life. As we rely on the Holy Spirit, He will help us make wise decisions and guide us safely past temptation.
3. Following the Lord’s will. When deciding how to proceed, it’s wise to ask, Is this in line with God’s known will? Throughout the Scriptures, the heavenly Father has revealed what pleases Him. His commands are clear regarding the way born-again believers should live. Our home, business, and community life are to function according to His will.

Lord, help us always put You first In everything we say and do So that Your light will shine through us And show the world their need of You. —Sper
As people of the Lord we’re called To follow in His way; And then all those who watch our lives Will see Him on display. —Sper