Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Wanna Be In The Light

"I Wanna Be In The Light"
By Zach Wood
1 John 2:3-6
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him.  This is how we known we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Many of you probably remember when DC Talk's "Jesus Freak" album came out in 1995.  They had a song called "In The Light".  In that song, they sang about wanting to be in the light of Christ and shine for Him.  This past week, as I have been reading this passage about walking in the light of God, I could not help but think of that song.  They sing about how they want to be in the light as Christ is in the light.  Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. 

Now, who of us would even consider saying that we do not want to be living in the light of Christ?  None of us would, of course!  However, if you are anything like me, you find yourself failing every single day in some way or ways in trying to shine the light of Christ to others.  We desire to obey Him.  We want to live like Him.  We want to say things to glorify Him.  We want to do things for others that show His Love.  Every one of us wants and desires these things if we are in Christ.  We have a desire to shine His Light. 

Look at that passage and see where it talks about the man who says that he knows Christ but then does not do what Christ commands.  How can we possibly expect to shine the Light of Christ if we do not even do what He commands?  If we are not obeying His commands, we are not walking in the Truth.  Plain and simple.  If we are living the way we want to live in our own little world, people will not see the Truth through us.  It is just that simple. 

When we turn from our wicked ways and follow Him, His Love is made complete in us and our witness grows stronger.  If we claim to live in Him, we absolutely must walk as He did.  We cannot claim to live in Him and live our own way.  The world will look at us and want nothing to do with what we say we offer.  It just drives people further and further away from desiring to know more about Him. 

If we love Him, we will obey Him.  If we want to be in the Light as He is in the Light, we must choose to walk with Him and live for Him.  Otherwise, we will not be in the Light.  I want to encourage each of us to consider seriously whether we are really, truly living in the Light of Christ.  We may say we do, but we must really examine our lives to see if we are truly living. 

If we wanna be in the Light as He is in the Light, we must walk in the Light.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Speak Wisely

"Speak Wisely"
By Zach Wood
1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

For the past six years, I have been working in a secular work environment.  I went from working in a full-time vocational ministry setting to working around people who are, obviously, not dedicated to ministry.  This is the "real world" as some may call it.  I think no matter where you are, you are in the real world.  Being in the secular work environment has taught me so many things.  God has allowed me to see so much more, honestly, than I ever saw working in a church position.  This is not saying that people who work in a church position do not see what is going on in the world.  Please do not get me wrong here.  I am saying that having the experience of being around ordinary work force people has been a different world for me and has taught me what is it like beyond the church ministry walls. 

From this experience, God has taught me that speaking wisely around these workers is so vital to my witness.  Each day I wake up, I pray that God will give me a heart that is pure and holy.  I ask Him to guide my words and actions to glorify Him.  Do I mess up at my job and do things I should not and not glorify Him?  Absolutely.  I am not perfect by any means.  I realize how very human I really am and what things really push my buttons.  People who work with me know I am a Christian, but they also know I am human.  I do dumb things and say dumb things.  In a way, it is really nice to be able to be "real" with people and not try like I have everything together all the time. 

Through these years, I have asked God to give me witnessing opportunities.  Does this mean I have time each day to sit down with people and talk about Jesus Christ?  Not in the way I thought at first.  What God does through me is He uses my reactions and responses to show others who I am.  I am a Child of God, but I am also a sinner who falls and stumbles.  He picks me up and I go back at it again.  It has been amazing to see how God has used my witness at this job.  Not in ways I would have thought.  Honestly, almost every day I do not know how God uses a person like me to be His witness.  I mess up so many ways and say so many things that do not glorify Him.  But.....He still uses me in spite of my weaknesses.  It shows people how human I really am. 

I use this personal account in this devotional to share with you that it is so vital to speak wisely and carefully when others around are listening closely.  There is a very, very lost world out there.  They need God more than ever.  I really believe all God asks of us is to be REAL.  He does not want His children acting like they have it all together.  He wants His children to just be real and honest.  However, this is where the caution comes in.  When we share Christ with others in a conversation somehow, we need to remember to do this with gentleness and respect.  Does this mean we "water down" our message?  Absolutely not!  What it means is that we treat the situation with the person with respect.  We give the reason for the hope we have, but we do it with a gentleness that does not sound like we are trying to be holy or better than them.  Nor does it mean we shove it down their throat.

God wants to use each opportunity that we have to each others as well as teach ourselves.  We can share with others the love of God, but we can also learn each time how we approach people and conversations.  It does not mean you have to sit down somewhere and talk for a long time.  Each situation is different.  Just take advantage of each opportunity God gives.  Pray about it.  Think about it.  Led Him lead. 

Speak wisely, for they are all watching.....and listening.