There is a real need for us as Christians not just to stand up for what we believe, but to stand out. The world judges us on what it sees, and if it looks at the church and just sees people living pretty similar lives to non-Christian, except with the odd wee bit of abstinence with drink, drug, sex etc, its not going to be convinced. It needs to see us standing as clearly different.
If a total stranger started watching your life Big Brother style first thing on a Monday morning, how long would it take them to realize that you are a Christian? An hour? A couple of hours? A day? A few days? Or would it take until you went to church on Sunday?
We need to be radically different from the world around it, for though we are in the world, we are not of it. In the words of Romans 12, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world”. People need to see through what we do (not just what we don’t do) that we are living for God.
They need to see that we believe in a God of love, and if we aren’t living out a life of love, they’re going to find it pretty hard to believe that we feel we have been loved and forgiven by God.
In Matthew 5 v 14Jesus says: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” We need to shine with the love of Christ for all to see. We cannot just be Christians in “safe zones” like Church, SU etc. We need to take it out of the door to the lost, the sick, the hurting, the weeping, the broken, the condemned. We can’t be Christians one day a week and just good people the rest.
In the story of the Good Samaritan the Samaritan treats the man with olive oil and wine. Jesus didn’t just randomly use those. They were traditionally used in the Temple, and Jesus used them to symbolize the need to take Temple things out of the Temple, and into the world.
In Philippians 2, Paul has this to say: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”(v14-15 NIV)
Shine like stars in the universe. That’s quite a challenge when you think about how bright a star is, and how its light is constantly there, whether people can see it or not/whether people are looking or not.
This week stand out for Christ. Let your light shine. Cause people to ask questions by the revolutionary way in which you are living your life. Let the hope you have shine out in your life. Don’t be conformed to the ways and habits of the world, but live fully for Jesus, and try to transform your society.