Balm of the earth

You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
— Matthew 5:14-16

In case you missed my last post, I’m writing a series on how being a Christian defines what is really important, and how I should live my life.

Last week was about loving God.

This week is about sharing the hope of Christ with others (Matthew 28:18-20).

God’s desire is to have deep, intimate relationships with the humans he created (Romans 8:14-17). That is why, when we become his followers, we also become his messengers in the world so that others can experience that same love (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

This can look like a variety of different things. We can be messengers by quite literally sharing the gospel with others. Christ is the reason for why we live the way we do, and we should use every opportunity to explain that, and point to him.

However, this doesn’t mean shoving the gospel in the face of someone who isn't interested. Rather, our lives should be so joy-filled and purposed that others can’t help but ask us why.

Often, Christians are messengers simply through how we live. We should be people of love, kindness, generosity, honesty and integrity.

We can’t take the credit by letting others think we’re amazingly generous or have personally figured out a recipe for happiness.

Our capacity to love and care for others doesn’t come from being inherently “good people.”

It comes from the Holy Spirit in us.

We become more like Jesus by spending time with him, and by letting the power of Scripture transform us. We have peace and joy and emotional healing—not because of our own well-balanced lives, but because of the power of Christ.

A balm soothes pain and heals wounds; it’s a solution to the pain. And that's the kind of people Christians are to be: the balm of the earth.

We’re meant to bear the news of Jesus' life-giving forgiveness and joy to our fellow humans.

But how often we miss that calling.

We forget that we are God's children. We become selfish or lazy. We get caught up in petty fights within the Church, or hung up defending certain commands in Scripture—blinding us to the damage we’re doing to real people.

That isn’t the kind of messengers we’re supposed to be.

While Jesus is clear that people need to turn away from their wrongdoing, he also graciously offers them a chance to receive forgiveness (John 8:3-11). The Bible is clear that our job is not to judge those who aren’t following God (Luke 6:37) (Romans 2:1-3).

If we truly love the people around us, we need to be genuine about our own faith and ready to make the most of every opportunity.

The world desperately needs hope and joy.

So many people grow up thinking that life is meaningless and that their very existence is pointless. They need to know that they were created with loving intentionality and that there can be a place for them in the kingdom of God.

There are so many ways to put our faith into action. Over the next few posts, I'm going to talk about what it means to love others and give generously.

Read part three of this series.

Ilana ReimerComment