Read the verses in the image.
Even in Old Testament times God’s people, Israel, were supposed to be God’s light to the world. To bring others to God. Sadly many took the “chosen people” thing too literally and shunned other people/nations completely.
Do we do the same thing? Do we as Christians, God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12), look down on the “sinners,” outsiders, avoiding them, condemning them, instead of shining Jesus’ light and showing them the love of Christ, His mercy and grace?
If people in the church, including my parents, had not shown love and grace toward me in my teens there is no telling where I would be today.
Growing up “going to church” is no guarantee of anything. Only a real relationship with Jesus through repentance saves.
My dad says I accepted Jesus when I was 3 years old, but I can’t remember that. I do remember praying a prayer alone in my bedroom one day when I was 14 or 15 years old. But I did not tell anyone and did not understand how salvation was supposed to change my life. The next several years were really a spiritual war inside me.
I got pregnant at 16 years old. He left our lives when I was 2 months pregnant. I was a mess, but because I was pregnant, I didn’t turn to the alcohol and pot I had begun to depend upon. Praise God!
Unlike the parents of other girls I knew, mine though disappointed, did not kick me out of the house. My church also, unlike others I knew, did not kick me out. They were kind and supportive, bringing me things for the baby. Years later during a Bible study some ladies told me that they had admired me for continuing to come to church when I got pregnant. I don’t think I could have if I had felt judged or ridiculed.
After she was born I still had dreams of a fairy tale ending for the 3 of us, and coupled with what I now know was postpartum depression, one day I came close to suicide. But God (my two favorite words!), But God intervened as I was crying out in desperation on the edge of my twin bed; my tiny babe (not yet rolling over or crawling) on the other side up against the wall. He said, “No you can’t do this, and you can’t do this to her.” Just then my baby was behind me putting her little arms around me in a hug. My whole outlook changed after that. God healed me! I began focusing on being a good mom and planning for our future. I started taking my faith more seriously. But, still not completely changing my ways. It was the 70s. A very confusing time for me, especially not really knowing the Word. It wasn’t until after marrying a different man just before my 19th birthday (against my father’s wishes because he is not a believer) that I really began getting into the Word and prayer and letting it transform me.
But what might have happened to me and my baby if my parents and church had not been supportive and prayerful toward me? I have lost touch long ago with those friends who had been kicked out of home and church, but last I heard of them they were not on good paths.
I have seen many “grow up in church” go down wrong paths in adulthood. Somehow, even in the church we often expect people, even the children, to get faith and salvation by osmosis or something. But it isn’t just talking about salvation; it’s living it! Has the Word of God so penetrated our very being that we live and breathe it?
Do we want to be instruments of healing and salvation or destruction? Our attitude toward others who are not believers is a critical component in determining whether they will ever become believers.
Look at our world. It has become a battlefield between Christians and non-believers. The non-believers are becoming more and more intolerant of our faith and many “Christians” become offended and lash back instead of turning it over to the Lord prayerfully and shining His light in love. Dark clouds of anger and hate move in and overshadow the light.
Yes, it is hard when the sin is being legalized, taught as “good” in our schools, flaunted in public libraries, and half naked in our streets.
It is important that we follow God’s lead in how to respond to these things and not let offense or any emotions be our guide. None of this is a surprise to God. We must use the fruit of the Spirit: from love to self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) to overcome evil with good. Only God can truly judge if someone’s heart is too evil to turn to Him. That is not our call. Our job is to obey whatever the Lord tells us to do.
Go….where He sends you.
Do….what He tells you.
Be….who He created you to be in Jesus.
Shine – Newsboys
Blessings & Peace,
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