Is Faith Really Just a Private Matter?

“And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?  For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”   And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”   Mark 4:21-25

It’s been said that when sharing a meal with friends, there are two subjects that are taboo and should be avoided at all costs:  Politics and Religion.  And so we end up confining most of the dinner table conversations to shallow chit-chat that misses what’s at the heart of people’s lives:  a thirst for how things should be (Politics) and a hunger to know how we should be (Religion).  And so we somehow share a meal without ever really sharing the questions and inner workings of what’s in our hearts–the sharing of our lives.

But Jesus wants to change all that.  He wants to free us from the confines of our own bashfulness by providing us with the inner light of His love and presence that cannot be hidden.  To hide the light–to hide his glorious presence in our lives–is to forget who we truly are.  It’s like a Republican wearing an Obama pin or a Democrat speaking at a Tea Party rally.

In this passage, Jesus remind his followers that being true to him is being true to themselves.  He is the Light that should shine through our lives.  Anything else is to be less than who we were made to be–and dare I say, less human?  Yes, it may be more ‘politically correct’ to police our own conversations, but Jesus didn’t try to win polls–and neither should we.

Think of your life:  are you letting the light of Christ shine?  In your daily friendships and interactions would people see a glimmer of your faith in Christ?  In our text above, Jesus is reminding us that as we pursue a life after him (and a life with him at the same time), to hold back is like holding your breath in order to lose weight–it just doesn’t make sense AND it has disastrous results.  Beloved, let your Savior shine through you and become more of the man or woman God made you to be!

Application Questions:

1.  Think of the last 72 hours.  In all of the many social interactions you’ve had, how did Christ shine through you?

2.  If a light is meant to shine–then it is also meant to be seen.  How do people see Christ alive in you and through you?

3.  The last few verses in this passage seem to indicate negative consequences of hiding the light of Christ in your life.  How do these play out in our modern world today?

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