I was looking out the kitchen window this morning while making my breakfast. I was thinking about how beautiful it was to see the sun shining after recently having such cold and wet weather. As I looked into the back yard I noticed part of the ground was wet, and it looked like it was raining in half of the yard. I looked up to see that it was ice melting off of the big tree we have in our back yard, and little icicles were falling off the tree as the sun was melting them.
A couple of nights ago, I remember driving home from the store and commenting on how the branches of the trees were really starting to bend and droop under the weight of the ice. While the tree in my yard looked kind of cool with all the icicles, it was not different from any other tree in the neighborhood. They were all covered in ice.
I went out later that night and saw the tree again. While all the trees in the neighborhood still just looked like trees covered in ice, the tree in front of my house really caught my eye. The street light was right behind the branches and the light was shining through all of the icicles. It was an amazing sight to see as the light illuminated the ice and almost brought the icicles to life. I stood and stared at the tree. I had never seen it look so amazing. The light shining through and illuminating the ice was truly beautiful.
I looked around the neighborhood and thought about how much of a difference the light made. I thought about people and how when we let the light of Christ shine through us what a difference that makes also. I wondered about how people see me in a crowd of other people. Do they just see me as one of many, or do they see the light of Christ shining through me?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not always yes. I know that there are times when I don't stand in the light of Christ, but instead follow the ways of the world. The light is always there, I just allow my own self to get in the way.
One of the arguments I hear so often against Christianity is not actually against Christianity, but against the behavior and actions of Christians. People have such a hard time listening to us because we don't live what we claim to believe as truth. I realize no one is perfect, but that seems to be a safety net we thought out to justify actions that counter our belief.
Likewise, I also think it's funny how much time we spend trying to make ourselves look good physically, yet we fail to think about what our words can do to make us look like idiots. We try on clothes before we buy them to make sure they fit and look right, but will we think about what we are going to say before we open our mouths and hurt someone?
We will take a shower and brush our teeth and put on clean clothes so we don't smell and offend people around us. We make sure our hair is done and our clothes match so we don't look like a fool when we walk out of the house. I wonder what would happen if we spent that much time trying to cleanse our mind and heart every day. Imagine if we made sure our words and interactions with people matched with what we claim to stand for and believe.
We will work out our bodies in the gym or taking walks, but will we spend the same amount of time exercising our faith? We might look at what ingredients are in the food we eat and care about what we put into our bodies, but we will allow total garbage to enter our hearts and minds. We filter our water before drinking and yet allow our hearts and minds to be contaminated by what we watch on television.
The sight of the light shining through that tree was amazing and beautiful. While there were many trees covered in ice up and down my street, it was the one that was illuminated by the light that really moved me. There are many of us who call ourselves Christians and claim to represent our Savior. So many times we let ourselves just blend in and be like everyone around us. We allow the garbage of our lives to block the light.
I want to offer a challenge to myself as well as you. I want to spend as much time on my heart and mind as I do on my physical self. If we can find time in the day to take a shower, brush our teeth and clean ourselves then we can find the time to read our bibles, pray and clean our hearts and minds. If we are careful to not eat contaminated food and drink clean water, should we not also be careful what we take in with our hearts, mind and eyes?
The challenge is to take care of our spiritual health and hygiene as much as our physical. To get rid of the garbage we allow to shine in our lives and allow the light of Christ, our Rock and our Hope, to shine through us.
For Christ I stand,
Bryan Kemper - firstname.lastname@example.org