Sunday, July 1, 2012

Outside Looking In

At some point in all our lives we have had those times when we thought, "I REALLY want to be with those people." Or... "I REALLY wish I could go to that."

Do we live lives that cause unbelievers to wish they were apart of the Christian community?

This post serves two purposes, 1) To exhort my fellow believers to "Shine", and 2) To encourage us all to keep fighting the good fight.

I have been sick for the last couple days, and had a lot of time to just sit and think. This morning while I was doing my Bible study the most random song popped into my head. Any of you remember the Album WOW 1996? Yeah... the greatest hits one? What about this song:

Yes you can now proceed to pull out your awesome 90's dance moves. I won't judge you.

As old-school and dated as this song is, it delivers a very true message.

Make 'em wonder what you've got
Make 'em wish that they were not
On the outside looking bored
Let it shine before all men
Let'em see good works, and then
Let 'em glorify the Lord

I ask again, do we live lives that cause this kind of reaction?

Matthew 5:14-16 Parallels this idea: “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 your Father in heaven."

Not only are we suppose to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord (Col 1:10-14), but we suppose to be an actual Light. We ARE the light of the world. We ARE suppose to shine. Do we shine?

I would like to look at the first verse of "Shine". Now back in the days I didn't really listen to anything but the chorus of this song. So this morning I looked up the lyrics, and this verse really caught my eye:

Dull as dirt
You can't assert the kind of light
That might persuade
A strict dictator to retire
Fire the army
Teach the poor origami
The truth is in
The proof is when
You hear your heart start asking,
"What's my motivation?"

Now, as confusing as the lyrics are I think we can glean at least this one idea, we, on our own, cannot do anything. We are helpless, pathetic little creatures. As the Newsboys put it, "You can't ssert the kind of light that might persuade a strict dictator to retire". You thought a sick panda or a one week old kitten was adorable, what do you think God says every time He looks at us? That aside, often I find myself "dull as dirt". And I ask God, beg God to explain to me what exactly my purpose is here on earth. Eventually I will receive a complete answer, but for now I feel God telling me that my purpose is to shine. If I don't have marching orders, if I don't have a clear path to take, why not spend my time doing the little things? What's the harm in living a life that shines for everyone to see God's glory. Isn't that a perfectly satisfying task?

Being a boy, I tend to sway toward militaristic analogies. Let's try this one out:

The private in the army has no "power". He has no "authority". In fact, officers call him the "grunt". On all accounts this man appears to be useless. But this is absolutely not the case. When it comes down to it, that man will be fighting for his country. That man WILL be making a difference. So if he is sitting in the fox hole, with no orders, just told to sit there and wait, should he just sit there and be bored? Absolutely not. He can check the horizon for incoming enemies, he can spur his fellow soldiers on with encouraging words and actions. That one, seemingly useless man, can cause a great wave of change.

We have all heard the analogies of us as "Soldier's for Christ" and how we "March into battle" and I think we've heard them too much. I think we have forgotten that we are actually, physically in a war with the enemy. And it's times like these in my life, when I feel useless, when I feel purposeless, that I must remember I ALWAYS have a purpose. No matter where we are in life we are called to do HIS work.

Two exhortations:

1) Are you shining now? If so, are you encouraging others to do the same? If you don't feel that "shine", if you feel dull, pray, seek counsel, find someone you know who shines and use their wisdom to increase your own.

2) We are never without purpose. The only way we can be purposeless, is if we give up. Let's not give up. Let's continue to push and fight for the Gospel. Pick those up around you who need some encouragement, and minister to those who know not of our God. 

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