Continuing with the thoughts about “good works” the verse from Matthew 5:14, 16 hit me square in the face this morning:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The crux of this verse for me is twofold. First is the idea of attention. I’ve come to realize during this time of Lent of one of my greatest sins and idols right now is seeking attention. This verse from Matthew is all about attention getting. We are to be bright shining cities on a hill (surrounded by darkness, mind you). As believers, we aren’t supposed to be hidden, but shining bright for others. But where does that fit in, when one of my greatest struggles is seeking attention?
My sin lies in the fact that I’m not seeking to shine for Him. I’m not seeking for people to notice Christ in me. I might say it, but deep down in my heart (and honestly, it’s pretty close to the surface) I want them to see me. I’m wanting people to like me and like the things I write and create. In essence, I want to be found out by the world. My blogs, my etsy shop and even facebook aren’t idols, but I’ve made them an idol by seeking a response through them.
Instead of seeking a response from Him.
The other part of this verse are the words “good works.” Whose good works? In continuing the thoughts about idols, I want others to see my good works. I want them to see the things I do and create and see me in them…not Him. That’s not what this verse is saying at all. It’s not our light that is shining, it’s His. We don’t have any light in us. We are all darkness and it’s only through the saving grace of Christ, that we can even begin to shine. And shine we will, as we move deeper and deeper in our walk with Him.
As I read in my Lenten devotional this morning: Our purpose is “transformation into the likeness of Christ by detaching from our idols and attaching to Him.” It’s the only way we will ever shine and ever have any good in us. Our works by nature are not good. We need Christ.
Daily…before the computer comes on, before I check my email, before I think about listing anything on Etsy and before I even start on an order for a customer I have to pray and give over to Him everything. Praying for protection and a continued detaching of the world and attaching of myself to Him.
Deliver me from the natural darkness of my own mind,
from the corruptions of my heart
from the temptations to which I’m exposed
from the daily snares that attend me.
~ Valley of Vision #14