As Christians there are certain things we are expected to do. At the same time there are people who expect us to do the opposite. In this so called “crooked generation” we as Christians know that we need to love one another, keep the Ten Commandments, and follow Jesus’ word. There are a few Christians that have ruined this for us by missing the mark in the public eye. Whether it was judging a minority, dismissing science, condemning different sexualities, or being blatant hypocrites all of these things were hurting people in some way which has put a bad outlook on the Church as a whole. And I’m not calling anyone out, we all fall short of the glory of God. These are the expectations that society has put on Christianity. This is not what we are called to do. We are called to go to the ends of the Earth.
“…Go and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. (Matthew 28:19-20)
God is calling us to go throughout the world into different communities and spread His love. So often do people follow Christ because of the end result, salvation; however I challenge that, because following Christ isn’t just accepting eternal life it’s restoring God’s place as ruler over all creation and actually doing the work that is ahead and being joyful about it. It is in this that we will finally “shine like stars.” If we all were joyful about the Kingdom of God and the work that it entails then it could be said that more people might have come to know and love Jesus like we have. “Salvation is not an escape from creational life into ‘spiritual’ experience: it is the restoration of God’s rule over all of creation and all of human life” (Drama of Scripture pg. 216)
The only way we can “shine like stars” is if we show interest and joy in the works we are doing for God. We are called to be patient, kind, gentle, loving, humble, etc. (1 Corinthians 13). We are called to love one another. That is something that stands out among the world. We are called to turn the other cheek. That is another thing that stands out. We are even called to do these things in all situations. The way we “shine like stars” happens when we stand out among the worldly bondage and follow God’s plan for our lives. Our love is the light that shines on everyone. Although Christians have been persecuted for our differences we are called not to be afraid of that but to expect it.
Christians are called to have joyful suffering. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2) This is off putting to some people but it’s true. We need to believe in our hearts that what we are doing for Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is bigger and better than ourselves. Some people cannot get over the hump of selfish living and I admit these things are easier said than done. I myself struggle with these things daily but I have a passion for doing so. Why would I want to give in to the pride and selfishness for seconds of happiness when I know that from humbleness and selflessness brings eternal joy? Yes, it is a constant battle within yourself but there is a good reason to fight and an even better reason because we’ve already won! Jesus Christ took our sins on the cross and conquered death. When this happened he broke the barrier between man and God putting a little flame in our hearts. The closer we get to Christ the brighter it burns.
Jesus gave us the opportunity to “shine like stars” among the world. Without Him we wouldn’t have that. Don’t you think it’s worth it to do the good deeds He wants us to so that everyone may know the gospel? The good news? The thing that changed each and every one of our lives? I think so. Yes, there are some that miss the mark, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to light their flames again. We need this world to be as bright as possible and doing what Jesus needs us to do will bring that outcome. A world that shines brighter than the sun.