Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Having Faith When Those Around You Don't

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts in under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand so that those who come in can see the light.” Luke 8:16.

Once I developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ I hid it.  Isn’t that sad?  This amazing discovery, a new chapter of my life and I hid it from everyone except my husband ( who I share EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING with). 
Fear drove the decision.  Fear of being seen as silly, of being made fun of, of being cast out.  I hid my feelings in my heart, not following Jesus’ commandment at all. 
Every night my husband reads the bible, proverbs, psalms and then a chapter or two in a book we’re working on.  We were reading Mathew and he read the following:

“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Mathew 10:33

An arrow of guilt struck me in the heart.  Had I not been denying him?  Had I not hidden the light he wished for me to shine?  For what?  To please mere mortals who have no power over my life whatsoever?  I slept on it. 

I realized the people I was trying most to hide my faith from was my family.  While holding a belief in God and baptism my parents never put much stock into attending church or even having prayer/personal Bible time  at home. I think this is due to the fact that my parents could not agree on a religion or even the details of their faith.

But, as I see it now, being a Christian is not something that you are only aware of and put on display just on Sundays.  Being Christain means always being a Christian.  Every action, word and even thought should be formed by your faith and what God has set before us to do. 
I remember how it used to annoy me that “bible-thumpers” put God into everything.  I can laugh at myself now because I realize how central God is to everything.

One of the most common misconceptions of Christians is that we’re perfect.  That is not what Christianity is about.  We are decidedly not-perfect.  We make mistakes.  We have tendancies towards greed, lust and envy just like everyone else.  What makes us special?  We are forgiven by One who wiped away our sins long ago.  We have the perfect model in which to follow in our lives, Jesus. 

When this concept becomes clear to you, the world becomes a different place and you a different person.  You can’t help but tell people about the amazing things that faith have done in your life.  You want to spread the joy and help lift the heavy spiritual burdens those around you carry. 

As you glow with the awesome love of Jesus those around you start to whisper. Some will be open books as you start to tell them of this new person you have become, but as I have found, most will not. 

In Mathew 10:34, Jesus said

           "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

He did not come to bring peace on earth but to divide.  Mother agains daughter, father against son.  He has called us to draw a line in the sand.  While the 5th Comandment says to honor your mother and father the 1st comandment says to honor God.

I don’t believe everyone should run and hide from non believers but we should not let their opinions ruffle us.   We are to be a lamp, shining brightly.  “No one lights a lamp and hides it”. Therefore, don’t try to hide the fact that you are Christian to make others more comfortable. 

That’s what I had been doing. 

I know you can’t convert anyone by badgering them but hiding your faith by purposefully leaving it out of any and all conversations will only show one thing---that you are ashamed of Jesus. 

If you have guests over and it is in your tradition to pray at the table, then do so.  If it is your tradition to read passages in the Bible before bed time, do so.  But of the utmost importance, let your words and actions resemble those that Christ would be proud of.  We will make mistakes, but if you let Jesus lead your heart, you will follow it in your ways. 

The benefits of this way of thinking are 2 fold.  Not only are you leading a Christian life to the best of your ability you are showing those around you what a Christian should be.  You are a testimony to God’s wonders.  Now doesn’t’ that sound nice? 

I have had a hard time following these principles, but as I have thought on it and prayed I now know what I must do. 

I am a people-pleaser at heart.  I want nothing more than for everyone to be happy with me and what I do.  I worry about what others think, I stress over things I have done and said and what the consequence may have been.  I have been known to change how I am if it makes someone uncomfortable.  But I can do this no longer. 

While having others feelings in my thoughts and doing for them as I would have them do to me is very important, worrying about what “mere mortals” think of me is not.  I have to reveal my lamp and no longer hide it when I feel out of place or scared.  The Christian life is not all gumdrops and sunshine, Christ proved that. 

It helps to know that I am not alone. So to the mockers and the fools: Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour has my back, who has yours?
And to quote the Sunday school song:

God Bless,

Friday, June 25, 2010