In Part 1 of “What We Are” I discussed Christians being the “SALT of the Earth” and how we should be using our talents to help the witness of Christ grow.
Today, I want to look at the same set of scripture but focus on the next title that God gives His children.
Matthew 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
The first thing that sticks out to me here is that Jesus states “You ARE”, He does not say that you might be, or you should be but instead says you ARE. I think this characterization is much clearer that Salt but that does not mean we should just gloss over it.
If we ARE the Light, then that must mean that there is darkness. We know as Christians that the darkness in our world is sin and those that are living without knowing Christ are living in that darkness. Our lives should be a complete contrast to those who do not know Christ.
Philippians 2:15 wraps this up in a nice little bow for us. “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as a light in the world,”
As Christians, we should be a constant source of light drawing others towards Christ. This makes me think of a lighthouse and the beacon that emits from it.
The two main purposes of a lighthouse are:
In that first purpose, a lighthouse lets the boats know that they are on course or if they need to shift their course. As Christians our actions, attitudes, behavior, words should all be an example to others to show them the course that they should be on. We should be the measuring stick for the world. Does that mean we should be perfect? No, that is impossible, but it does mean that we should constantly be striving to be as much like Christ as we can be. When non-believers look at us, they should see the blueprints for what a Christian should be.
The second purpose of a lighthouse can be taken different ways when applied to Christianity. I think the Bible is clear that we are to warn others of sinful behaviors. Here is the same, a lighthouse has never hit anyone over the head or forced them to change their paths. They see the lighthouse; they recognize the lighthouse; they divert their course because they know the lighthouse signals an impending danger.
I love this old joke so I will include it here:
This is the transcript of a radio conversation:
Ship Captain: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision
Reply: We recommend that you divert your course 15 degrees to avoid a collision
Ship Captain: This the Captain of a US Navy Ship, I say again, Divert Your Course.
Reply: No, I say again, You Divert Your Course
US SHIP: This is the Aircraft Carrier XXXX we are a large warship of the US Navy Divert Your Course Now.
Reply: This is a lighthouse – Your Call.
Not sure why I find that joke funny, I guess it is my dad joke humor. The interesting part though is that the lighthouse does not divert its course to make the captain happy. The lighthouse does not move to appease someone else. It is rock solid and set in its foundation just as we Christians should be.
Just as a lighthouse is an immovable warning for dangerous areas so the Christian must stand firm in their witness for God.
There are times on the water when a ship captain cannot see the danger ahead but when he sees the light of the lighthouse he knows it is near so he can react accordingly. If he does nothing and enters the dangerous area and crashes, does that mean the lighthouse did not do its job? No, it simply means the captain did not listen. As Christians we must remember it is our job to be a warning to others; to help identify the areas that God has commanded us to avoid. If someone still chooses to enter those areas then that does not mean we have not done our job as Christians.
I fully believe that God calls us to love others but in that love, we must never decrease the standard. If we are going to be the light of the world then we must stand strong as an example of Christ’s love for us.
1 Corinthians 15:58
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
“Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”