[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]Y[/mk_dropcaps]ou know how sometimes a verse of a song will get stuck in your head and no matter what you do you can’t seem to replace it? Well for me that has been the case but instead of a verse from a song its a verse from the bible. I know how Christian of me right? Well, I know God speaks to us each individually however works best for us to receive the message. For me that is with repetition. So what is the verse that has been playing on my mind over and over again? Matthew 5:16
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.[/mk_blockquote]
This verse has challenged me to step out from my place of comfort hiding in the dark to step out and be the undiluted version of who God created me to be. I am often hesitant to be fully “me” in any given scenario. Over the last few months, I have been unraveling the mindset I have held on to that’s had me bound up in this way of living. I liken it to the verse in Matthew 5 that says “nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket.” Lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket? That seems both silly and dangerous! But that is how I have felt. I am a “basket case” so to speak. I want to be fully awake in my life and so shine for the glory of the Lord but there are chains of the past that I’m in still the process of addressing even years after recognizing they exist.
What chains are holding me back? They are thoughts riddled with selfishness, pride, and insecurity. I’m not begging for sympathy here, but rather admitting to the fact that I am a work in progress. While these thoughts still come to mind now and again I have power over these thoughts and they no longer control me. However, they do mess up my decision-making process now and again. I am in a reprogramming season of my life and I’m changing my thought patterns to be more and more like the truth and power of the word of God.
I know I am not the only “basket case” out there. Insecurity lures us back into the dark. But the “abundant life” that God promises in John 10:10, can not be lived in that insecure, dark place. There is gold inside of each of us, but fear loves to grip us holding us back from being bold and shining brightly. We can feel vulnerable without the protection of the walls we make in the depths of the darkness. Shining boldly and brightly is what God is prompting us to do to draw closer to Him, and draw others to Him as well. We are to shift a culture back to Jesus. We are to walk in love. That does not mean we play it safe, but that we are to step into the fight of faith. That can be disorienting and very uncomfortable.
The good news? You have been given armor (Ephesians 6:10-20). You are not left alone either (Hebrews 13:5). God, at this very moment, is speaking to you. He is beside you; thinking about you, intimately aware of every detail. The Bible is clear on this. That truth makes the risk of pain worthwhile.
I do not know when or exactly how my dreams will come to pass. But, more and more I see just how important it is not to worry about the outcome, but boldly shine as the one and only me. We are not born to live for ourselves, but rather to serve others. Diminishing or diluting the gifts that God has placed within you impacts not only what is experienced day to day, but also plays a part in the lives of those around you. Light does not selectively shine in a room illuminating just one area. When turned on, light infiltrates all that is in its path. Darkness has no power over it. Darkness only continues when there is no light present to shine. It is time we all accept the responsibility we have to wake up and shine.
It is a big responsibility and can be confronting. Honestly it has me terrified at times. Yet I remember, time is short, is it not? I can think of countless other things to be focused on, rather than boldly allowing God to shine through my brokenness for His glory. If chosen all those other options bring on a life of the “basket case.” We put up a front that is “perfect” and consequentially become irrelevant. To shine means we life a life of transparency. Allowing God’s name to be lifted high because in our weakness His strength is made perfect. They see the mark of God on our lives and are drawn to know Him themselves.
To shine brightly together as the unified church this requires everyone's participation picking up the role they were uniquely designed for without shame or guilt. Being vulnerable yes, but not alone or unprotected. It begins by letting the basket fall away, living fully awake, and committing to shine on.