“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Mt 5:14-16 NLT)
Those of us who are followers of Jesus have a hard time understanding why others will not accept the Lord as their Savior. Yet if we will think back, there was a time when many of us were as stubborn and resistant as many of them. What is it that causes us to be so resistant? Perhaps it is fear of the unknown.
It wasn’t long after the church was established that it began to face persecution. There were those who were arrested, others who were beaten and even some who were brutally put to death. In reaction to these severe trials, many of the Christians began meeting in seclusion. Some began meeting early in the morning and others late at night. Yet hiding their faith from the world did not make the world leave them alone. As a matter of fact, it only caused them to be more misunderstood. Rumors began to circulate that the Christians practiced black magic, sacrificed children and even ate human flesh. As you might imagine, such rumors frightened many non-believers and caused them to hate Christians even more.
Today there is a lot of hatred towards the church and Christianity. Part of that hatred comes from the fact that we are often misunderstood or misrepresented. According to Barna Research Group, many young adults between the ages of 16 and 29, view Christianity as being “judgmental, hypocritical, and too political.” Christians have to walk a very fine line. On the one hand, much of what goes on in this world is sin and Christians should neither participate nor endorse it. Yet if all we are known for is what we are against, then the world is only seeing half the picture and in their opinion, the worst half. Jesus told us – “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” In other words, let the world observe the difference salvation can make in a person’s life.
In Titus 2, Paul wrote to Titus about things that will ‘adorn the teaching of God our Savior.’ The word ‘adorn’ means to dress-up and make attractive. It’s the Greek word from which we get the English word ‘cosmetics.’ I leave you today with this thought and question –
What are some of the things that the church needs to be doing that will help adorn what it means to be a Christian and make our faith more attractive to the world?