07: Let your light shine among men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.
I can remember being in Harlow in Essex, sitting in the living room of my parents house as I was about to embark on a ‘mission trip’ with an organisations called UFM. (Un-evangelised Field Missions)
I say ‘mission trip’ because it was a 6 week ‘look and see’ type thing. I was part of a team of people in their 20’s taking 6 weeks out to just go and see, and where possible get stuck in. I also hold the idea of ‘mission’ lightly as it isn’t just something you do when you go abroad!
Anyway, there I was sitting in the living room thinking about this trip and I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t go, I wasn’t the model Christian bloke or missionary material, and I just felt so inadequate set against the spiritual calibre of other people on the team.
After some frantic praying and thinking about the worst possible scenarios that I would face in the wilderness lands of Brazil, I decided to go for some comfort from the bible.
I wasn’t sure where to even start to get comfort or direction at this point so I stuck my finger into the bible at a random page and started to read. Something about dogs and vomit, followed by the wickedness and sin of a nation so I shut it again. Well, me being me, I decided to try again and this time went into the New Testament, bit safer I thought!
I found this verse, the one I have suggested you memorise. The point is, God’s word (even if we open it and jab a finger in) is living and active, and the Holy Spirit can take your feeble attempts at trying to hear from God and speak to you. He did it with me that evening.
As I was reading this verse I sensed the Holy Spirit comfort me, weird I know. I was comforted with a thought that went like this:
‘Just be you, I made you, love you and you are the man I want you to be. Be you, follow me and let me do the rest.’
That might sound simple and stupid, but in that moment it was like a breathe of fresh air. It meant I didn’t need to measure up against anyone else, try and be anyone else, or continually try and be a better man. Jesus loves me.
I decided to believe that, hold onto it and go forward from that place. The time in Brazil reformed and redirected my life forever. Amazing what God can do.
Image Credit: Ben White