Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christians: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (Part I)

Matthew 5:14-16
  14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The word "Christian" has been slapped on so many things that it has lost it's true meaning.  It has been dissolved in the pool of men and woman that have labeled themselves by it's definition.  It's easy to get confused in the culture of modern day Christianity.  It's easy to be bombarded by the so many things "Christian" that Christ gets lost in the crowd. 

But then....then there are people that remind you of what it truly means to be a follower of Christ.  Then there are people who take the time to be transparent...pointing at Jesus through every aspect of their lives- the good, the bad, and even the ugly. 

Don't get me wrong- true Christ-followers aren't perfect...and they shouldn't claim to be.  But they are real.  They are faithful.  And they are consistent. 

I was reminded of what it meant to stand firm for Jesus this week watching one of my favorite TV shows: Survivor If you don't know anything about Survivor, it's one of the oldest in reality TV.  The idea is based on dropping a group of men and women in the middle of the jungles to fend for themselves for 39 days.  The person who makes it to the end, takes home the pride of being called the sole Survivor...and the bonus of one million dollars. 

Living in the wild for 39 days surrounded by a group of strangers is bound to take a toll on any and everyone.  The awful reality of the fallen human condition makes an appearance every season as the survivors interact with one another...lying, stealing, and cheating become the norm.  Tempers lash out, personalities clash, and emotions run wild.  It's humanity at its worst. 

But this season there is a young man that has totally impressed me with his life.  His name is Matt, and he is a self-proclaimed follower of Christ.  I tend to cringe when I hear people say that...I've seen so many people wear the name of Jesus, and then trample it through the mud.  But this guy is another story.

His faith is first and foremost in his life...and he proves that with his actions and his words.  He may be young, but there is a mature spirit of God upon His life, and everyone who comes into contact with him senses that.  He's respected for his strong faith...and by his kindness, he has been impacting the lives of the survivors around him with his faith in Jesus. 

Again and again you hear him talking about the reality that he has been put in this place for one purpose alone: to glorify his God.  

I know it's reality TV....but there is something genuine about this young guy.  There is something challenging about the way he lives his life.  For many of us, our life is the forefront...while our faith is the back drop.  We live our lives...and then sprinkle a little Christianity on top.  A little here, a little there..."just for the taste". 

But the reality is, this is not the way God meant for us to live.  We are born with a purpose- to be a light in the darkness.  That is a role that stands firm whether we are playing the game of Survivor, staying at home with our babies, or working 14 hour shifts at our jobs.  

It's a role that has to take the forefront of our lives in every thing we say and in everything we do.  Our lives must glow with the light of God...a light that is recognizable by everyone we come into contact with.  A light that speaks encouragement, hope, love, and faith to places that were once void and dark. 

Christian- Take inventory.  How bright has your light been shining?  How seriously have you taken this role?  How responsible have you been with the precious name that you carry...the precious name of Christ. 

May we be challenged to take seriously this calling that has been placed on our lives.  May we be challenged to live as light. 

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