I was planning a part 2 for my last post but this has been on my heart this week so Ill be getting to the other later on.
I am part of a weekly Bible study where we go through the Word discussing and sharing with each other as we go. I just need to say that it has been a tremendous blessing to me and has helped me develop real friendships and grow in my faith.
Lately we have been going through the book of Hebrews and really trying to find out what the author was saying to the Hebrew Christians he addressed the letter to and how we can derive timeless principles that God has placed there for us to make application in our own life.
Last week as we were studying parts of chapter 11 and while discussing the faith of Noah we got on the subject of being a witness to the lost and what it means to maintain a good witness in and out of the Christian community. It has really got me thinking and I have some thoughts I would like to share on that subject.
I need to admit first of all that as a follower of Christ I have in the past placed some unrealistic self imposed rules and regulations on myself about how I am going to act around people in order to “protect” my witness instead of being myself. A mask if you will. Sooner or later I end up not living up to those self-imposed regulations and as a result confuse people about what following Christ is about. I send a message that following Christ is following rules and make myself out to be a hypocrite when I don’t live up to them. I’m not being real. I am placing a false burden on myself to reach people and not allowing Christ to reach people through me.
The last thing people in the world need or want is something that isn’t real. The lost grope their way through life living to find some fulfillment in things that will never fill. Disappointment after disappointment trusting and placing hope in the things of world that promise real life but never deliver. It leaves most people skeptical about the next thing while they search desperately for someone or something that is real.
Jesus told us that we are the salt and light of the Earth and to me that has nothing to do with being rule followers. It means Jesus followers. To me it has little to do with “protecting” our witness outside of being real with those around us and letting them see the reality of Christ in our lives.
There is a real peace in the life of a believer even during a crisis that speaks of a God who saves.
When people become aware of our real desire to forgive when the world tells us we should get even or bitter, we are salt.
When people become aware that we sometimes make bad choices but we trust in God to forgive us and restore us and then put us back on the right track, we are light.
When we recklessly love all people without concern for any compensation, we are salt.
When we let go of the guilt and shame from our past knowing we are forgiven and cleansed by Jesus, we are light.
When others see us living out a faith in knowing who we are and where we are going, we are salt.
When we display the true freedom that Christ has given us in Him, we are being “good” (and I use that term very lightly) witnesses by allowing Him to be seen in us and through us, we are light.
Being real is much better than trying to live up to a bunch of self-imposed rules huh?