Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Not Ashamed

A lot of people are proud of the bad things they do. Don't you think you should be proud of the good things you do?

I heard this piece of advice the other day, and I've been thinking about it a lot. It seems like many people have it backwards today. Look at faith. It's something that should dictate the way we live, but we often shove it into the background. We keep it under wraps. Maybe it's because we don't want to offend anyone. Maybe we don't want to be made fun of. Or maybe we just don't want the burden that comes along with identifying ourselves as Christians; we don't want the responsibility of living up this title. Whatever the reason, we rarely find faith at the forefront of a person. It's being pushed out of schools, out of politics, and out of life. 

What we all fail to realize is that we should not be ashamed of showing our faith. It is something to be proud of. Why would you try to hide the greatest light in the world, a light that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). 

Now, when I say that we must show our faith, I do not mean that we should obnoxiously and judgmentally throw the Bible in everyone's faces. There is a certain way to go about it that does not involve putting yourself on a pedestal at the expense of those around you. We are all sinners. Nobody has a perfect life. This is necessary to note. 

"Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words" (attributed to St. Francis of Assisi).

When necessary, use words. Jesus is the perfect example of this. He showed God's power through His actions. He performed miracles and loved those rejected by society. Because He showed this love, people were more receptive of what He had to say. They saw firsthand that Jesus practiced what He preached. He loved His neighbors, His enemies, the sick, the lonely, and His Father...with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength.

There is nothing wrong with preaching. Look at priests and other wonderful speakers who communicate God's message through words. But it's not for everyone, and that's okay. Our lives alone can communicate God's message.

God intended for us to be witness to Him. Our lives are meant to reflect His love. Sometimes that is the only way to spread God's message. Sometimes that is the only way to show God's light to those who are uncertain or unwilling to listen. 

When Christ shows through in our lives, we differentiate ourselves from others. As Christians, we stand out, and we should be proud of it. We stand out not for every horrible deed we've done, but rather for the wonderful light we have been entrusted with, a light God expects us to share.

So how do you share it?

To spread God's light, you do not need to transform yourself into a great Apostle. It starts with accepting Christ and accepting yourself as a follower of Christ. If you are not ashamed to show this, you do not need to perform miracles to share God with others. Your life will be a living testimony. God will show in the little things, the things that make you stand out in a good way. He expects you to use your talents, whatever they may be, to make His presence known. Maybe you're called to spread His light through writing. Or maybe your calling is speaking, art, music, sports, etc. Whatever it is, let God be your hands and feet. You may be the only Bible some people read.

Why be afraid of what others will think of you? There is no reason to be ashamed of identifying yourself as a follower of Christ. In a world that glorifies the bad and shuns the good, it takes courage to let that light show through. And if you do let it through, it will touch more people than you can imagine. 

Whether we are preaching to the masses or just living a moral life, we must let Christ's life show through. He did not die for us so that we would be ashamed to say His name.

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