Have you ever come under attack because you stand up for something? Have you been critisized because your talents and skills cause you to stand out? Be encouraged today, because God has placed talents and gifts inside you that are meant for you to stand up and shine brightly with them, expanding the light of his Kingdom, illuminating a dark world, and bring Him glory through it all.
As I listened to the words of Jesus this morning in my bible study, I realized he is saying he wants you and me to Stand Up, Stand Out, and Shine Bright. He wants you to do good and stand out so others can see his light shining from you. That is not boastful. That is not prideful. Those are the words of Christ Jesus.
Jesus told us to “DO” and to “STAND” and to “SHINE”.
To “do”, to “stand”, and to “shine” are ACTION words. They are the opposite of “take a seat”, “stay seated” and “you may be seated” words we hear spoken today. I don’t think Jesus would have defined his followers the way they appear today, seated and asleep.
If you asked the average person today how they would define a Christian, most would say something like: “A Christian is a person who follows a religious teacher named Jesus by going to a building with four walls on Sunday to sing about him, pray, and hear a bible story”. Jesus NEVER ever said for his followers to live like that. Jesus gave his followers an assignment to stand out, to do good, and to shine and illuminate the darkness. He told them to go out two by two to heal the sick, cast out demons, feed the hungry, set captives free and preach the Kingdom of God in all the earth. Yet sadly, the “Christian life” amounts to sitting in a pew on Sunday for most believers of Jesus today.
If a person, or group of people, are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, then they will do what he did and obey what he said. The churches who are doing, standing, and shining, are the churches we see growing exponentially today, just as the early church that Jesus created did. Miracles are happening as those believers pray for others, cast out demons, heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, raise the dead, and set the captives free, and thousands of lives are being fed, clothed, and transformed, and the Christian believer is a bright light in that city.
Christians, and their churches, that shine the brightest in a city, also take the most criticism from other Christians that don’t choose to shine. They have let their lamps grow dark outside of their four walls of their buildings, and they criticize those who stand out and shine bright.
This happens constantly, but I will use this one recent example to illustrate this point. I recently heard a pastor of a small church in a decaying city criticizing pastors of larger churches. He often points fingers at them and puts them down in discussions with his congregation. He says that these larger churches are not truly following God or else they wouldn’t have such large congregations of people. He says that they are prideful to have musical instruments and singers on stage and putting on a show. He says these pastors are misappropriating funds to have large budgets for their church to fly around the US and the World and put money into these large outreach efforts. He says they are showing off and worldly to draw in large crowds.
Yet while he critisizes others, his own church’s light is dying. He has no impact in his decaying city. Even though he stays busy going here or there doing this or that, he and his congregation contain no new life and no change or growth. In the community and even within the four walls of his building, there is no opportunity for the followers of Jesus to shine, even though he states weekly that they are in the midst of “revival”. They host revivals (evening sermon meetings that last from anywhere from 3 days to 7 days) monthly through out the year. I have attend several at that church and other local churches, I have spoken to these pastors and their guest evangelists, and from what I can tell, these churches are not really in revival. It is just a word that label their meetings that they host that are different than Sunday service.
Revival is basically spiritual CPR. To revive is to breathe new life into a dying or dead situation. Their church and their city continues to die despite their efforts at “revival”. It is not effective. There is no spiritual CPR happening in the revival meetings that I have seen for many years. Many years ago in the 1970’s and mid 1980’s I did witness true revivals that changed cities. But after that, except for a few dynamic on fire churches, what I witnessed across this nation was a sleeping church who’s light grew dim in their communities.
Christians speak about revival, but many have become lukewarm in allowing God to be Lord in every decision. They trade out God’s word about living: eating, raising children, marriage, healing and raising the dead, casting out demons, etc. instead for an acceptance of government guidance in regards to daily living, education of children, health care, jobs, morals, etc. They enjoy a “tax exempt” status and follow the social / political rules. They may get a pat on the back or their name in the paper if they do a good event, but sadly most churches, don’t bring positive change to their communities. Though God is honored during the service on Sunday or Wednesday, God is not the Lord of their daily living decisions 24/7. Instead the congregation often seems to hide behind the four walls of the church building, hides their gifts and talents that were purposed to expand the Kingdom within their cities, and wait…wait…wait…asleep…until Jesus returns…all the while they never realize their lamps ran out of oil and they no longer were effective to shine God’s light into a dark world.
I just want to shout from the rooftops “WAKE UP O CHURCH! WAKE UP O BRIDE OF CHRIST WHO HAS FALLEN ASLEEP. YOUR LAMPS NEED TENDING. KEEP SHINING BRIGHT AND STAND UP AND STAND OUT”.
“Your eyes are like a window for your body.
When they are good, you have all the light you need.
But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark.
If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.”
How do we keep our lamps supernaturally full and shining bright? Jesus is returning for a Bride who is awake and her lamp is full of spiritual oil and she is shinning bright and doing good, obeying the commands of Isaiah 58 while she loves God with her whole heart and loves her neighbor.
Jesus said to becareful because you will fail at shining if your light goes dark. That seems obvious. But he made it very clear as if it were not obvious or like we might forget if not reminded. As if we are like the man who looks in the mirror and steps away and forgets what he looked like in that mirror. He is right. We easily forget that we must not let our light go dark. Jesus said if your eyes are bad, and you let darkness into your life, you can not shine. How can your eyes bring darkness into your life? The eyes are the door that Satan uses to tempt you. When you follow through with that temptation you bring darkness into your life. So it is key to remove the darkness and temptations from in front of your eyes and look upon Jesus and obey him.
Jesus said if you love him, you will obey him. He said to shine bright, stand out, and beam as brightly as you can like a lighted city on a hill, and a lamp on a high stand in your house. Think about that for just a minute. Has your power in the house ever gone out and you had to light a candle or use a lamp for light? I have had this happen many times in my life, and I put that candle or lamp on the highest table in the center of the room so that the room is lit up and I can see where to go and what I am doing. That candle or lamp can shine so bright that we can even cook a simple meal, or play games by it’s light. However, if I placed that light in a corner of a room, it would not light up the room well enough for us to see.
When we stand out and shine, we send forth HIS light that is in us so that God will be glorified. Others will give God praise when they see you doing good and shining bright. Christians who stand out, who shine bright, often come under attack from both other Christians and non-Christians. It can be a hard and lonely choice to stand out, and would be much easier to hide, or sit on a pew and let others do the shining. But to obey Jesus (not your denomination, not your pastor, not religious rules or traditions), as a child of God, you must be placed on a high place and stand out so that everyone around you can see what is around them with the light that you are shining forth. The darkness of their situation is transformed and lit up by the light you shine. You are the lamp that must shine bright while you are doing good. Don’t get burned out doing good, don’t fall asleep, and don’t hide your light or let it go out.
Think about it. If every Christian obeyed the words of Jesus and stood out on a high place and shined forth God’s light while doing good, surely this world would experience true revival. It would look a whole lot different. Surely multitudes of people would come to Jesus and give God praise for the good they see you do and the church would truly experience a spiritual CPR revival and grow exponentially.
“You are like light for the whole world.
A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden,
and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot.
A lamp is placed on a lampstand,
where it can give light to everyone in the house.
Make your light shine,
so that others will see the good that you do
and will praise your Father in heaven.”
Wake up, stand up, and be the light of the world, giving light to everyone while we stand out and shine bright while doing good.
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