Jump Start # 3486
Matthew 5:16 “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.”
One of the key tools of learning is asking and answering questions. This is an interquel part of life that follows us all of our days. Put a five-year-old in your world and the day is non-stop questions. “Why is the sky blue?” “How come ice is cold?” “Why do worms live in the dirt?” Sometimes even before you can come up with an answer, they are on to another question. Grown daughters ask their mothers about a recipe. We ask questions at work. Parents ask their teens about getting their homework done and cleaning their rooms. We ask financial advisors questions about investments.
It shouldn’t surprise us that we find the Gospels filled with questions. The people asked Jesus questions and the Lord asked them questions. Some of the questions to the Lord were unfair, dishonest and intended to trap Him. Some of the questions the Lord asked were to make people think about their motives and why they did things. I have several books about the questions of Jesus.
Recently, in a sermon, I asked a question. “Other than sitting in a church building on Sunday morning, what is the real difference between your life and the life of a non-Christian?” Are we pursuing the same things? Are we watching the same movies? Are we hanging out with the same people? Are our attitudes the same? Same interests? Same conversations? Same ways we define life? Same way we treat others? Same way we approach work? Same way we raise our kids? Other than where life finds us on a Sunday morning, are we really any different than the people of the world?
I love and I also hate those kinds of questions. Questions like that do more than make us tap the brakes on life. This is both feet on the brake pedal as hard as we can. Has my faith in the Lord made me any different than those in my family who are not Christians? Has my faith in the Lord made me a better person?
What are some of the differences that ought to be clearly seen in your life that is radically different from someone who is not a Christian:
First, from the inside to the outside, I ought to be very different. Not just where Sundays find me, but Monday morning at work or school. Because of Jesus, I’m a new creation. I’m transformed. I no longer think like I once did. The Lord has opened my eyes. I think before I speak. I consider consequences of all that I do. Thoughts of the Lord constantly run through my mind. As a result, my attitude has been reshaped and my conversations reflect that.
Popular shows and movies that everyone is talking about, I may have never seen. I chose not to because the language or the immorality or the way these shows mocked Jesus. While the world laughs, I don’t. I’ve changed from the inside out. I don’t need the approval of everyone else to be liked or to know that I am doing what is right. I don’t let the standards of others set the bar for me.
Second, the way I talk about others and the way I treat others is very different. I don’t find it fun to put other people down. In fact, I look for ways to encourage others. I pray about my co-workers. I want to be kind and forgiving to others. I want to be quick to give a guy a second chance. Being helpful where I can has some saying things because they think I have alternative motives. But I don’t. I just want to make a difference in someone’s life.
Third, how I view myself is different. I don’t talk so much about myself. I don’t need to brag. I’m not after the praise of others. I want the Lord to be pleased. So humbleness, listening, gentleness, compassion and generosity are going to be daily qualities of my life. I walk with Jesus and I want to be like Jesus. I take my faith seriously. I pray because I want to and I need to. I read God’s word daily, because I find joy in doing that. I am deeply connected to my church family. I love those people. I need those people in my life. They help me stay close to Jesus.
Other than sitting in a church building on Sunday, is there any real difference between you and a non-Christian? Oh, yes. The way we look at life. The way we shape our decisions. The way we treat others. The way we think about ourselves.
And, in these simple areas, you become a light into the world. Your hope. Your faith. Your love. They all point towards Jesus and to Heaven.