“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
Today in my film class, we discussed the purpose and effect of violence in media. We’ve watched films with various degrees of violence, from Casablanca to Pulp Fiction. When my professor asked what I thought of violence in media, I admitted I don’t watch gory films. I believe images are powerful, and that violent images demoralize viewers and decrease their ability to sympathize with others. Personally, one way I can live purely, as Scripture calls me to, is to focus my mind on things above rather than cheap entertainment. Gruesome films provide little benefit, other than possibly enlightening viewers on the devastation of war or genocide.
Minutes after my confession, I was stopped by a photographer from the campus newspaper, who asked if she could take a picture of me for the Student Style section. I happened to be wearing my Girls Are Not For Sale shirt from The NET store for a photo shoot later this afternoon, and suddenly had an opportunity to share a bit of Jesus with an unexpected audience. The photo shoot is for my blog post this Thursday on women’s true worth, but now my message will be broadcasted to faculty and students all over my campus. Today I’ve had two obvious opportunities to represent Jesus, but how many subtle opportunities have passed by, unnoticed? Have I used edifying language today on my walk to class with my fiancé? Did I smile at a stranger who feels invisible? Could I have struck up a conversation with that photographer about the spiritual aspect of my shirt?
We have a thousand chances each day to share the Gospel. Scripture tells us that we are children of light, that we should shine like a city on a hill. Honestly, how bright is your light? How much impact can you truly have on a stranger without accidentally deterring them from Christ? Some of you may have rejection stories after you tried to invite someone to church or a Bible study. Maybe you’ve been directly persecuted for wearing a shirt with a Christian message, or maybe you’ve been called a hypocrite for marking yourself as a Christ-follower after a life filled with darkness. Maybe you’re an eager middle schooler who will invite anyone you can get your hands on to youth group. Whatever your situation, know this: God has equipped you with all the wiring necessary to shine.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases him.”
God will never call you to stand for Him alone. Outwardly, you may look isolated or forsaken; inwardly, you have the Spirit of God Himself beside you. In Luke 12, Jesus tells his disciples that the Holy Spirit will give them the right words in times of oppression and persecution. Later, in Acts 1, Jesus appeared to his disciples after the Resurrection and promised they would receive the Holy Spirit as a guide and witness. Throughout Acts, we see Christians perform miracles and bring people to Christ after being filled with the Holy Spirit. Before the Spirit was sent to them, they were moral people who loved Jesus. After the Spirit was sent to them, they were world changers who were divinely guided in every opportunity. This is exactly what we are called to, believers. We are called to be divinely guided in every opportunity. We are called to be on guard and stand firm in our faith, to be courageous and strong, as 1 Corinthians 16:13 commands. We are called to stay alert and clearheaded in our pursuit towards righteousness in 1 Thessalonians 5:6. Ephesians 5:17 warns believers not to act thoughtlessly, but to understand what the Lord wants them to do.
Each of these verses applies to you, if you believe that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah and the sole path to eternal life with God. You won’t have the time or energy to verbally preach the Gospel to everyone you pass by, but you do need to set yourself apart from the world by the way you live. Maybe an opportunity will come along to defy cultural norms in favor of holy commandments. Maybe someone will ask you what your tattoo means, or why your t-shirt says girls aren’t for sale. Maybe you’ll have the chance to incorporate spiritual truths into your speech at school. If you take a few moments each day to ask the Holy Spirit what the day holds for the Kingdom of Heaven, you may be surprised at the lost and hurting people you encounter. Everyone needs to encounter Christ’s love in their day, and He’s given you the resources to share it. You have a mouth that speaks, you have a face that can smile, you have a mind that can decide what to participate in and what to refrain from. ‘Tis the season for lights and giving, why not shine your light and give Jesus to someone?
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash