Here's one reason shining frightens me… It requires me to do something. And we Christian women typically skip over all the practical ways to shine and assume we must do something grandiose in order to glorify God.
Write a NYT Best Seller
Foster a family of Orphans
Start a Non-Profit
Become a high-profile spokesperson
God probably won't ask you to sink your savings into attending seminary, abandon your current responsibilities and campaign as a Christian candidate, pack up your family and book a foreign mission trip, or sell your home to sleep on the streets of Detroit. He might. And God does inspire some some people do just that kind of thing.
But the truth is we don't necessarily have to do anything drastic to shine for God's glory.
To be fair, God included the grandiose feats of the faithful in His Word. Miriam was a prophetess who watched over Moses. Deborah was a prophetess-judge who led Israel. Esther stood up to the King. One Mary birthed Jesus and another anointed Him with her life-saving's worth of precious oil. Hannah dedicated her son to the ministry.
However, God's Word is also peppered with people who did ordinary things to make God's goodness known. Rahab let down a red cord to save her family. Martha opened her home to Jesus and His friends, while Mary sat at His feet. Ruth cared for her mother-in-law and worked diligently in the field. Chloe, Nympha, Apphia, and Lydia led house churches. Paul commends Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis for their labors. Pricilla partnered with her husband in ministry. Phoebe carried Paul's letter to Rome. Eunice and her mother Lois passed their faith down to Timothy.Click To Tweet
Ordinary People’s Obedience
It is more about doing what you can where you are with what you have. It's about obedience. Not everybody can stand up under the weight of such obligations and expectations, but God calls all Christians to shine so that others will see His glory.
And the Father is not glorified by unruly children. Even though we know He sent His Son to save us from that inevitable unruliness.
From the time of the Exodus, God wanted His children to be different from the gentiles. He positioned His people at the crossroads of civilization so those who followed other gods would recognize how much better God's way was. Honest business practices. Mutual respect among people and their property. Strong families. Safety. Health. Good order and discipline in all their daily doings.
But the law was and still is a burden we cannot bear. That doesn’t make it, or God, bad. In fact God's goodness shines even brighter because He made a way to make things right between us.
God doesn't need our grandiose gestures. He already accomplished the grandest expression of love when Jesus hung on the cross to pay the price for our sins. He desires our day to day goodness, so that others will see His.
How Jesus SHONE for God’s Glory
Jesus was God's goodness made manifest in human flesh. And, OH how He SHONE!
But Jesus didn't have a global ministry, a cushy corner office, or a viral social media presence. He possessed no great beauty or magnificence that we should be drawn to Him. His ministry assignment only lasted about three years and He didn't even pastor a church. At least not before His resurrection. Sure, he performed some incredible miracles to fulfill prophecy and establish Him as God. But during his earthly life, He lacked creature comforts, was rejected by his own hometown, and received only mocking, beating, and crucifixion as the reward for His work. Yet the impact of His life now reaches every corner of the globe.
Jesus suffered without sinning. He resisted temptation with proper application of the Word. He prayed fervently for Himself and others according to God's will. Jesus forgave others, even those He knew would betray Him. He resisted the allure of fame and earthly power and instead gathered and invested in His friends and followers, encouraging and equipping them to carry on after He was gone. Jesus spent time with sinners and outcasts, never condemning them, but lovingly convicting them to repent. He was powerful, patient, and filled with purpose. Jesus wept with those who were hurting, but always celebrated God's goodness. He rested and never rushed, but rather moved with purpose and intention to serve others. He didn't try to make a name for Himself, but rather to make God known. The Messiah feared God more than man and obeyed His Father even to death.
Right about now, you might be thinking…. 'Whoah! Of course He did all that, Liz. He was actually God.'
The Spirit Manifests Jesus’ Character
And you're right, but The Spirit of God literally lives within every believer, enabling us to share Christ's nature. This is how we shine, by manifesting Jesus's nature to others. Making Him known. And because God loves you He will not ask you to do anything beyond what you can bear with His help.
This is the gist of what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 4:7-15. He was actually facing death for his preaching about Jesus, but he acknowledged that his sacrifice for the sake of the gospel would bring life to others. He said, 'For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11)' But for the #wordnerd in me, the best part of this is that the word translated to English as 'be manifested' was originally the Greek word, 'phaneroo.' This means to show itself, to render apparent, or to appear.' But the word 'phaneroo' actually comes from 'phaneros' which means SHINING.
We shine when the Spirit manifests Jesus’ character in our mortal flesh.We shine when the Spirit manifests Jesus Click To Tweet
50 Practical Ways to Shine
But how? I'm glad you asked, because I compiled 50 Practical (and practically free) ways to SHINE in 2018. None of them are particularly grandiose. Heck, some may even go completely unnoticed in this lifetime. But I guarantee, God sees and He is pleased. Subscribe to download the list. Share any others you can think of in the comments below. If you have friends who want to shine this year, share this post with them.Click To Tweet
Linking Up With
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday.