Part 4 of the 4 part repost series this week.
The Windows and Doors
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
What if you had a house that had no doors, no windows, or no way to let in natural light? You would have electrical lights, but without sunlight it would begin to get depressing. A house without windows and doors becomes more like a dungeon, than a healthy living space. Now think about being in the middle of the woods at night. You’re lost, hungry, cold, and miserable. The moon isn’t visible and its pitch black outside, except for the lights from a large log cabin setting up on a hill. It’s your only hope for survival. But without the windows and doors of that cabin, the lights would not shine. Without that light, you couldn’t see it, as though it didn’t exist. If it were just a dungeon, like in our first example, with no windows or doors, the light wouldn’t shine. The same is true of us Christians when we are content to live within ourselves, become self-absorbed in our own “rat race” and refuse to observe the verse above by letting our, “light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
The Bible tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV So we know that works will not save us, but we also must recognize that, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17 NKJV In context within this chapter, James is instructing us that we are called to serve others, not through our faith, but through our service by means of our faith, so that as Matthew told us above we may have our, “light shine.” This outward expression of an inward connection allows others to see how God works in the life of a believer. Later in this same chapter, James references Abraham. “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ And he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” This example shows just how strong faith and actions work together in our lives. As James concludes this chapter he states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26
Just as we are to have faith and works, we can express those works through our spiritual gifts given to us by the grace of God. The scriptures tell us in Romans that, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 Each of these gifts, and others, are examples of how we are able to express our faith outwardly to others. When we use the gifts to serve one another, the Apostle Paul tells us to do so in love. Galatians 5:13 Peter builds upon this thought by telling us, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10
We can profess our faith to others, recite Bible verses, show up to church to worship, but our faith, our heart, our inward light will only shine when we set aside ourselves by serving others. Our service is the true window to our soul and one of the best testimony’s we have for non-believers.
Luke 11:35-36 “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”
II Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”