When I was young, I was brought up in the Church. I have memories of my father sitting in the corner reading out of his Bible. That didn’t mean I was perfect, or knew what it meant to be a good Christian. It just means I was aware of God and Jesus and to me, that was normal.
I wasn’t taught to openly share my faith. My mother was a reserved woman and felt our spirituality, or our beliefs were extremely personal and not really to be shared. I grew up thinking my faith was a portion of who I was. It was partitioned off from my everyday life. There was my every day secular life and there was my Sunday spiritual life, but they didn’t really coincide.
I didn’t learn until much later in life that there is no such thing as a separation. What we are and what we believe is all intertwined together to make the whole. Even as adults, when others depend on us to take charge, to support them, to provide for them, we realize deep down, that without that underlying security blanket of our faith and dependence upon God the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit, we would be helpless to accomplish much at all.
In thinking of this as I watched the streaming version of Christmas eve Mass by my Church, I remembered this statement that went around years ago: “If you were on trial for being a Christian would they have enough evidence to convict you?”
Do people tend to turn to you when they need prayer? Do people tend to avoid sharing off-color jokes with you or are you the first one to hear and the first to share? Do people apologize for bad language around you or refrain from using those words in your presence or do you have the reputation for cussing? Do R rated movies turn you off? Does the profanity in PG and PG13 movies make you uncomfortable? Do you cringe when you hear the Lords’ name used as a curse word? Or have you become accustomed to it and you no longer notice?
Remember this passage? “Romans 12: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
That just means we are a part of this world. We live here, work here, associate with people and are able to influence them, but we are not supposed to be influenced and brought down to their level just so we can “fit in”. We are supposed to strive to live holy lives, and not compromise just because “everyone else does it”, or “that’s just the way it is done now” or “that idea is so old-fashioned”. We must strive to keep our spirits and souls separate and pure from the distractions and enticements of this world. There is much to keep up from prayer and from fostering our relationship with Christ, but in the end, that is all that will matter.
We need to be an example to others. We might be the only example of Christ they ever see. Matthew 5 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Let your “light” shine. Let the best part of you, the part that seeks to emulate Christ, shine so others can see God in you.