Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making God Real to the World


You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

When my daughter was around 3 or so she had two imaginary friends – Tony and Vivian.  They started out being friends on TV.  They hosted a little Disney channel show, and they would talk to their audience as if they were there with them, looking directly at them through the TV camera lens.  Before long, Gabby would talk back to them as if they could hear her.  And then one day when the TV went off, they just remained. 

I remember one day looking outside and she was running around our circle gravel driveway, around and around and around.  She was laughing and running so hard she could barely get her breath!  When she came in the house I asked her, “Gabby, why are you running?” She caught her breath just enough to say, “Because Tony and Vivian are chasing me!” They were so real to her that sometimes I felt like I needed to set two more plates at the table!  I had to be careful where I put her stuffed animals in her bed because “That’s where Tony and Vivian sleep.”  At bath time, I’d hear her in the tub talking to them, and laughing.  It was an eerie feeling as if they really were a reality to her.
It occurred to me as I thought of how real she made Tony and Vivian that we should make God that real to all around us.  What if instead of feeling like we were talking about a God so far away, those we came in contact with began to know the Holy Spirit that is God within us?  What if we revealed God and His reality to those around us?  What if when He performed miracles or when He gives quiet peace, or when He simply shows Himself in some new way we were open enough to share it?  Would it be possible to bring those around us to an understanding of who He is?  Would we be able to uncover who He is in our lives in such a way as to make others feel Him in the room?  Well, that is our duty as Christians.

When Jesus walked the earth, many knew Him first hand.  They saw Him, they touched Him, they ate with Him.  He healed them, He taught them, He got in the boat with them.  He was real to them because He was visible and they felt His presence.  In John 9:5 Jesus said “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  He was shining a way back to God with His presence. 

But Jesus is no longer in the world in flesh.  Instead He is in the world in Spirit.  We Christians have been given His Holy Spirit within us.  We are the light to be shined in the world now. 
Matthew 5:14 says that now we are the light of the world - a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.  You cannot go near New York without seeing the city’s skyline and all of its lights.  Notice that it doesn’t say we “are to be the light” but says “You ARE the light”.  You don’t get to choose if you shine or not, just like we don’t get to choose if people make us their role model.  But you do determine if you are a good role model, or not.  You do determine how brightly your light shines. 

So the question is how bright do you want to shine?  When you talk about God, do they know He is in the room?  When you mention your friend Jesus, do the feel like He’s sitting at the table with you?
Reveal God to those around you.  Acknowledge Him in your life and in your daily activities.  Let them know what He does for you to change your circumstances and your struggles.  Let them know the prayers that He answers, and the peace that He gives.  He’s not a far-away invisible God.  He’s inside you.  Shine your light on Him.

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