“14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
The command to be in this world is not really a matter in which we have a choice. We are undeniably citizens of this world. We have physical bodies with physical needs governed by physical laws. The war that we fight, though, is not of this world (Ephesians 6:12). The banner we carry distinguishes us on moral, spiritual, and Godly matters. We are a lamp whose purpose is to expunge the darkness around us, to expose evil to truth, and to shine brightly so that those seeking the way can find it. It is a war, no doubt, and just as a city on a hill is a beacon to those seeking shelter; it is also a target for those scheming its destruction. These are the “principalities” and “powers” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12. They will invariably seek to target us, to make us a mockery, and to prove us disqualified.
The sad truth is that our enemies are not what we might picture. Media may target us as Christians, scientist may mock our faith, but the true war takes place within our small circles and within our daily walks. Our enemies are subtle, sophisticated, and disguised. They are often those closest to us; our friends, our families, our coworkers, and our peers. They are those the world deems moral examples or what others might consider “good people.” They are present in the “religious” community and even claim membership in the Lord’s church. But truth is truth and anything short of that is just fruitless work of the world. Be prepared to fight; for darkness hates the light and the venomous despise the truth.
Be prepared for conflict in your life. We have immeasurable peace, confidence, and joy in our Lord. That is a surety no one can strip us of. But do not be confused, this world will try to tear us down with a death as sweet as honey. I write this article with the intent that we be courageous and bold.
Far too often we retreat into our shelters, fearful of the fallout, fearful of standing out, fearful of being the only one to speak. Our comfort zones are not an approved shelter by God. They are simply excuses we use to get us out of situations that might make us “that guy.” The one who walks out of the room when inappropriate conversations are occurring, the one who refuses to drink after a toast at a family gathering, the one who has to stand up for Christ in another person’s home, or worse, another brothers home, the one who confronts a longtime friend, and the one who must clash with mother or father for Christ’s sake. We are all savvy enough to know this makes situations extremely uncomfortable. We know we immediately become the topic of hushed conversation. We might be outcasted, we might incur confrontations or debates or ridicule from others, and we might even become the target of resentment.
I can’t speak for everyone but this part of our walk terrifies me. It binds my stomach in knots and makes my palms sweaty. I HATE confrontation. But how can I not say something. Christ died that I should live, and since I now live for Him I am bound to his truth. My silence is approval. Do I hide in the shadows, not living in darkness but not shining my light? Truly, God is not mocked (Galatians 6:6-10), we are either shining brightly or not at all. We are either fighting for God in this war or against Him. The only retreat from God’s work is back into this world. Our fallout shelters; our reasons to not be Christian are our recruitment papers for the other side. I pray that we are different from the world, I pray that we stand out, and I pray that we become targets. I pray that the world sees us as contrast, as Christ was.