““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.”
Matthew 5:14-16 NASB
The nail that sticks up
I read once of a saying in Japan, “the nail that sticks up, is pounded down.” Those that stand out against the background of conformity, find themselves pounded and persecuted into line. The world is very much the same for believers. The values of the world are increasingly opposite of those of kingdom of God. Standing for Jesus brings the hammer of condemnation.
When I walked the way of the world, I was conformed to its values. I spouted all of the usual thoughts and feelings, I had the situation ethics mastered. When it came to the major issues of the day, I toed the line, and blended in to the environment.
When salvation came, there ensued a battle for my heart and mind, as my conformity to the world system ran headlong into the values of Jesus. At first, I tried to straddle the fine line, to have one foot in Heaven and one in the earth. All that this did was create a tension that resulted in inner turmoil.
God placed me in a church full of people I would have looked on as different from myself in the past. I prayed with them, ate with them, and served the Lord with them. The contrast. My experience collided with my beliefs, and it created a spiritual crisis. I realized that I no longer belonged to the race, I was raised in. I was now a new creation.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 NASB
As I took this new identity into the world, I faced derision from blacks and whites who had not tasted so great a salvation. We are in a world full of little boxes. We place in them all of our cultural expectations. The little boxes have rigid edges and do not offer room for expansion. My new identity in Christ did not fit anymore.
We are in a war of the boxes. Each is bashing up against each other, demanding recognition. This war has gone on for decades, with no victor, and no truce in sight.
We the body of Christ are called to be the light for this darkened world. We are placed into this position, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We no longer are part of the war. Our boxes have been blown apart. Sharing our positions is a dangerous endeavor, as I have learned, but it is crucial to bringing about the oneness that can only be in Christ Jesus.
Believers, it is time to ask God to search our hearts and drive out any bias or sin of bigotry. It is not a time for denial. The world is being destroyed and time is short. We must go out and share the Gospel as never before.
We must be the nail that sticks up, the ones standing against the prevailing darkness, casting the light of Jesus Christ. During yesterday’s demonstration, there was a sign: “Jesus, heal our land.” It stood out against all the others, and it was the only one declaring the truth. Only Jesus can heal our land, only Jesus can heal our hearts, and change us from within.
Those of us who call on the name of the Lord are the agents of reconciliation, we are the ones to step out in faith and lead others to Jesus.
The forces that desire to separate, attack me frequently, but my Lord has protected me. He has given me a call, a mission to edify my fellow believers, that they have the courage to take that step of faith and be the light.
I will not place my light under a bushel basket, I will let it shine. He is the only answer in this dark time. In Christ, there is no us versus them, but we. Let’s go forth and preach the Gospel and bring glory to the Father!
Shine, my people, shine!