Another poem (or quote) that I like to apply to my life is: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou. No matter what we like (or love) from this world, we (as Christians) should apply scripture to it to test it and to see if it holds water in our theology and the way that we live as Christians. That being said, we should take serious the things of this world and identify whether they are building us up as disciples of Christ or tearing us down.
In my men's group (Men of Faith) I had shared that I went to see a movie with some friends that was related (in a distant way) to my work. The movie really was worldly and ultimately a stumbling block to my other brothers so I felt the Spirit in me calling me to repentance and to confess that to my brothers. When I tested this movie against Scripture it couldn't hold water. Therefore, I could be unrepentant about it and hold it back from my brothers or I could free myself and confess to them and repent to God. There was, at first, a defiant part in me that said that it didn't cause me to stumble nor did it cause me to lust and so on, but when I was really honest, how could I teach and facilitate other men if I could entertain sin? I could not and that is what the Spirit revealed in me.
How about letting our light shine:
Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV) Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Philippians 2:12-18 (ESV) Lights in the World
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.
Matthew 7:12 (ESV) The Golden Rule
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
People will always forget what you said and what you did, BUT they will never forget how you make them feel. So tell me, if you are trying to be the salt and light to the world, what does it take to reach the lost (the sinner) and show them the love of Christ? If and when we decide to become honest with one another, then we have to ask the question in each of our lives: What is that sin that we have no mercy for? For some it could be lust, for others it could be cohabiting couples and for others it could be homosexuality - where we have no love and no compassion. If we are doing what Scripture tells us (above) we can live in such a way that others will want to know what makes us shine and how we can love (even the unlovable sin). That is not to say that we have to affirm their lifestyle or be their judge - we don't.
In my men's group, we have what others may refer to as a successful ministry (not by what any man does, but by what God does)!!! Simply put, we worship (songs in the beginning), then we have large group where facilitators will share either a life experience with Scripture or a theme or an event in their life and then we break out into small groups (pray, share and walking with others). This, of course, is all wrapped with Scripture. This is not a program or an event or a scheduled way to build discipleship, rather, this is real men being real with their own lives (not being afraid to abase themselves in front of other men) and sharing life together, confessing sins to one another and loving each other. We are a family!
If you are going to take you pathway to discipleship to another level then consider doing some of the following things:
- Get into a men's group where these things happen
- Serve in a ministry in your church
- Serve in your community
- Love a sinner (be intentional in their life, pray for them and walk a mile or two in their shoes with them - don't sin with them, just walk with them)
- Read Scripture daily
- Pray often
Try this for the next few months and see where God takes you and I!