Matthew 5:13-16: You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

A question that should be on the minds of all who belong to God: "When you look at me, what do you see?" Everyone who looks at any Christian sees something. The question: What does he or she see?

Do they see only a body, but not a person? Or greed? Or arrogance? Or selfishness? Or a lover of money? Or a lover of things? Or someone deeply impressed with "me"? Do they see someone who looks like all ungodly people? Do they see a sensual existence? A pleasure-centered life? A self-indulgent existence? An addictive life? A self-centered person? A shallow person? A "take but never give" person? A fanatic? An angry person? A bitter person? A hate-filled person? An unreasonable person? A "hard-to-get-along-with" person?

Let's be quite honest. Do they see things characteristic of Satan or things characteristic of God? What are the obvious influences on our lives? Things characterizing those unconcerned with God? Or, things centered in God?

When others examine our relationships, do they see godlessness or godliness? What do they see when they examine our values [the things that thrill and fulfill us]? Our priorities [matters we consider important]? Our standards [the means we use to determine right and wrong, good and bad]? Our purposes [the concepts that determine why we live life]?

Is God's influence on us obvious? Is it obviously a good influence? Are society, family, friendships, occupations, and neighborhoods better because God influences us? Are our "works" good? Based on others' observations, why should they want God to influence them as He does us?

Will everyone value God's influence on the godly? No! Those who despise God resent it! But there are those who long for a godly existence.

The Christian's objective may be explained in these ways. (1) Those with empty but open lives are impressed with God's influence. (2) Those with empty but closed lives find it necessary to explain the godly. Be the kind of Christian that attracts the open to the God who gave us Jesus, and who must be explained by the closed! May our strength to live come from the God who gave us Jesus!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 14 December 2003

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