Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Different About You?

By Anna Bachinsky
"I do."

When a bride joins her groom at the altar and says, “I do,” she commits to a lifetime of loving him. The same goes for Christians when we believe in Jesus by faith, saying, “I do” to a lifetime committed of living for Him.

From that moment on we stop living for our own passions and desires, and we live for God, as we become His ambassadors to the world around us (2 Corinthians 5:20).

As His children, we no longer represent our old sinful nature and lifestyle, but we represent the nature of the One who adopted us as His own.

We replace our worldly pursuits and passions with heavenly ones, and we put away our old ways of darkness and become His light to the dark world around us. We permeate our world with His fragrance.

“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).

As Christians we shine the brightest where the world is the darkest. We spread the sweet fragrance of God’s love, truth, and grace the most where the world is the dirtiest.

Even though it can be difficult at times, God places us in those dark and messy environments for His very purpose: To be a reflection of Him in everything that we do, from our words, to our attitudes, to our actions.

And as we go about our day, He entrusts us with His light that shines brightest in the darkness.

One of the environments God placed me in was at my first job when I was sixteen years old.

I started working at a bank with all young people who were unbelievers, living to get the most of what the world had to offer.

Walking into that bank daily was literally like walking into darkness, as I listened to one story after another of each individual’s version of chasing the pleasures of the world.

From gambling to partying to indulging in impure relationships and more.

I always felt like the odd one out because my lifestyle resembled so little to theirs.

But I realized that this was the exact place that God wanted me to be to spread the fragrance of His love and light and to shine His truth in the darkness.

I started praying for Him to help me see new opportunities daily to make a difference and be His light in everything I did. And every day my light shone a little bit brighter and the fragrance spread a little bit farther.

When my co-workers told me stories of their weekend partying, I told them stories of my weekend attending church events, outreaches, and fellowship with friends.

When they were hurting because circumstances in their lives were hard, they would talk about running to alcohol or temporary fulfillment to relieve their pain. I would talk about how they could run to Jesus, and I'd say that I would pray for them.

When they talked about me behind my back and belittled my faith, my purity, and my lifestyle, I turned the other cheek and blessed them with my words anyway.

And with time they noticed that there was something different about me.

That I lived for something beyond what the world had to offer and that I had someone in my life in whom I could find true happiness.

It was hard at times, and I wasn’t in any way perfect. But with God’s help I slowly did what I could to be His light in the darkness and to spread His love, truth, and grace to those around me.

A few years later, when I walked out those doors for the last time, I was not changed by the environment I found myself in. I didn’t become part of their world, but I knew I had planted a seed (little as it might have been) by being Christ’s ambassador to everyone around me daily.

By the end, they didn’t belittle my faith and think I wasn’t making the most of the world because I didn’t live like them. Instead they respected my beliefs and my lifestyle because they could see that I lived out what I believed and that Jesus was much more than just a historical figure to me - He was my Savior and my everything.

They may not have been brought to Christ, but I know that throughout those years I was a fragrance and light that brought a piece of His heart to them.

And He calls you to be the same, as well: To be His ambassador to those who are lost in your world whether it’s your family, your co-workers, or your friends.

What this world needs most is the sweet fragrance of Christ and the light that shines truth on His forgiveness and grace in spite of man's sin.

Every day you have opportunities, big or small, to make a difference simply by carrying your new identity in Christ everywhere you go.

Dear Lord, I pray that I represent you well daily as I walk out your truth and strive to be your light to the dark and broken world around me. Help me look for opportunities to share your love with others and leave a sweet fragrance of you everywhere that I go. Thank you for strengthening me in my weakness and helping me become more like you every day.

Amen.

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