Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hide it under a bushel? NO! I'm gonna let it SHINE!

Looking back, I wish that letting my light shine were as easy as I had expected it to be when we transplanted our lives to Amsterdam almost six years ago. 

In Matthew 5:14-16, makes it seem so simple: “a city on hill cannot be hidden…put a light on its stand” and “let your light shine.”  Upon moving here, I had to ask myself “if it is really this simple, why is my lamp not shedding pure light in the dark around us?”

 So why are our lights not shining? What keeps that pure light within us from illuminating the darkness?

Perhaps we have baskets covering our lamps after all. If this is the case, how can we remove those things that conceal the light within? The writer of the book of Hebrews instructs us in chapter twelve to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”.  Later in the same chapter, he illustrates that discipline is a natural expression of a father’s relationship with his child. Likewise, as children of the Heavenly Father, he disciplines us in order to share in His holiness and to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace. In other words, as we grow in our relationship with our Father, trusting Him through obedience to His Word, He cleanses our lives and removes those “baskets” that have covered His light within us. While painful discipline and perseverance cannot be removed from this process, what a beautiful promise that we may share in God’s Holiness and experience a harvest of righteousness and peace. How bright must be that lamp, giving light to everyone in the house!

Another reason that our lights may not be illuminating the darkness is simply because we are not taking them into dark places. Too often, we content ourselves to remain in the company and security of other light-giving lamps.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn on arriving in Amsterdam. I’m ashamed to confess that I didn’t even know how to truly befriend non-believers or converse with other women who didn’t share my faith. The church has an essential role in reaching the lost but we cannot forget the example that Christ personally set before us. Even though Jesus regularly taught in the synagogues, He chose to minister among the masses, to dine with sinners in their homes, to disciple a tax collector and to converse with the Samaritan adulteress woman one day by the well. No matter where you live, there will be people around you who will never enter a church but would appreciate meeting someone for a coffee and a listening ear.  There are women who may not ever accept an invitation to a women’s conference, but when they get sick or have lost a loved one, they will readily accept a hot meal.  Meet them in their dark places and let your light shine.

Who does God bring to your mind as you read Katy's challenge to meet women in their worlds and let your light shine?

Have you found creative ways to allow Christ's light to shine through you to others who may not be interested in a relationship with Him? How can we share His light without blinding people with it?

About Katy Darnell...in her own words:

I am a Georgia girl married to the love of my life and we have served as church-planters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands since 2006. Our oldest son was 6 months old when we moved here and the greatest surprises ever, our twins, were born here almost 4 years ago. We bike everywhere, freeze most of the year and are thankful everyday that God allows us to be here!

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