(July 17, 2020) Carol Round challenges us to shine for Jesus…
In Matthew 5:15-16, Jesus challenged ‘Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father’ (NLT version).
Have you found it difficult to let your light actually shine lately? I have. It’s not just the continued increase in Covid-19 cases, either. The pandemic has divided us a nation.
Those who wear a mask to hopefully prevent the spread also follow social distancing guidelines. Then, there is the opposing side, the ones who don’t wear a mask in public or observe social distancing guidelines. I fall into the former group. However, I’m not going to take sides. It does no good because most of us have our mind made up.
This division has led to ugly confrontations. A recent video recorded a woman who was asked to leave a shoe store because she wasn’t wearing a mask. Angry at the employee who confronted her, the shopper threw several shoe boxes at her before exiting the store.
Can we let go of the anger?
- Angry at the division in our country (and other nations!).
- Angry at the way people on both sides have expressed their views.
- Angry at friends on social media who continue to encourage strife with their divisive posts… I’ve ‘unfollowed’ them!
Allowing the negativity to affect me, I’ve struggled to write my weekly blog posts. I’ve prayed, asking God for help so I can continue to use my gifts for his glory. Sometimes, the words won’t flow. Other times, his Holy Spirit takes over and my fingers fly across the keyboard!
I want his light to shine through me and the words he gives me. My anger must dissipate before I can write… but I can’t put the anger aside without God. It requires me to soak in his holy word.
Seeking God through his word
A recent phone call to a friend reminded me we need to encourage each other during this stressful time. We all need encouragement, but even more so now. I know I do.
When my friend revealed her state of mind, I was surprised. In the past, we’ve had some deep discussions about the faith we share. During our conversation, she admitted she’d lost her connection to God. She wasn’t reading or studying her Bible. Confessing her lack of prayer time, she knew something was wrong.
I shared my own struggles, agreed to keep her in prayer, and committed to sending her a daily positive message. For many years, I’ve been sending inspiring scripture and Christian quotes to various family members and friends. Using my phone’s messenger app has become a way of connecting and encouraging those I love.
Connecting to our source
Flipping on the bathroom light recently, I was startled by a pop. One of the bulbs had burned out, which meant I’d need a step ladder to change it (I’m not tall enough to reach the burnt-out bulb without assistance).
Unless the bulb is replaced, there is no illumination and a light won’t shine unless it’s connected to its source – electricity. And we can’t shine unless we stay connected to God.
Staying connected requires us to be intentional. It requires us to stay plugged into our source through scripture, prayer, meditation, and connecting with others.
Plugging into God’s goodness
Each morning, I spend time with God. With my Bible, journal, and daily devotional nearby, I soak up his word, listen for his voice, and meditate on scripture. If I miss my special time with him because of interruptions, I can tell the difference.
Before the day is over, I find myself thinking, saying, or doing things that don’t reflect my faith. At the end of the day, usually near bedtime, I’m reminded of those things. Immediately, I seek his face and ask for forgiveness.
I came across the following quote on Twitter recently. In fact, it’s what sparked this post. Posted by Sarah Geringer, she wrote, ‘True Christians want to internalise God’s goodness and reflect it. They know there’s more to life than observing the difference between right and wrong. Even the demons knew Jesus was the Son of God. True faith causes longing to reflect God’s glory.’
Reflecting God’s glory
How do we reflect God’s glory? ‘
For me, it means following in Jesus’ footsteps. When facing a troubling situation or confronted with a choice, I ask myself, ‘What would Jesus do?’
Jesus glorified God in everything he said and everything he did, including surrendering his life for us. Isn’t that reason enough for us to surrender our lives to him?
Reflecting God’s glory requires us to fully surrender our will to his. For me, it’s a daily dying to self. Not what I want, Lord, but what you want.
Carol Round, Special to Assist News Service (www.assistnews.net founded by Dan Wooding), follows her passion of using her writing and speaking abilities to inspire others. Carol especially loves hearing from readers.
Recommended: By Faith Alone. Inside are the musings of a woman who has a heart to know God. Carol Round sees the everyday events of life through the lens of scripture and points out life application for her readers. Each devotional provides inspiration in a thought-provoking, upbeat, down-to-earth, no-nonsense way. Links: A Matter of Faith weekly column: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.carolaround.com.