The Ins and Outs of faith
Sometimes I think we all forget why we’re here. I was thinking about the sayings of Jesus today and this one stood out:
“None of you lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead you put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light... See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” (Luke 11:33-36)But a hermit or monk does pretty much the equivalent of hiding a light under a bowl. They may have light within, but no one else benefits from it. And many who would agree with that are hiding their light nonetheless. They seem almost embarrassed to say the name of Jesus or to stand up for the gospel when other religions are aggressively parading themselves. We sometimes act like lepers, ashamed of our faith and afraid it might infect others, while people of other religions have no such inhibitions.
Everything we read in the New Testament tells us that both the inner life and outward testimony are of the utmost importance in a believer’s life. Some emphasize one to the neglect of the other. But our testimony must not be timid or ashamed! How would your best friend feel if you tried to act like you didn’t know them when other friends of yours come around? In the same way, think of how Jesus must feel when we take all the “salt” out of our speech when we’re out in the world or among our unsaved friends. We are more worried about offending them than we are about offending Jesus!
We live in a world that becomes less tolerant of us by the day, all while demanding we tolerate them and never offend them. I think it’s time for us to be most intolerant of those who would silence us and tell us we should put our lamps back under bowls. We are here to permeate the culture and make it “salty”, not to become bland and dark so we fit in. The gospel is offensive; there’s no way around it. If our “salt” is bland and our “light” is dark, who will ever hear the gospel? How can we say “New and improved!” when we taste exactly like the other brand?
...Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (2 Cor. 2:14-16 NLT)So give yourselves a “taste test”: are you “new and improved”?