Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
As we approach another 4th of July holiday, when everyone puts a huge emphasis on our freedom, have you every stopped to consider this question: How do you use the gift of freedom? I love the freedoms we have in this country and I am so grateful for the sacrifice of all the men and women who allow me that freedom. But I am talking about a freedom that goes beyond freedom in this life. A freedom that is not contained to the borders of our country.
God gives all believers true liberty through His Son Jesus Christ. Do you squander that blessing or share it with others? The problem is, some people are so focused on their own needs and desires that they fail to impact even their closest neighbor.
Think about all the people you see every week. Do you know how many of your neighbors are sick? Are there people in your church who struggle to make it from day to day? Do you know if any of your coworkers are going through hardships? Most likely, there are individuals all around you who could use assistance. But being self-focused limits our ability to notice those people, let alone reach out to them.
Jesus taught His disciples:
Matthew 5:13 (NIV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
In order for salt to remain useful, it must maintain its purity and potency. Likewise, we must endeavor to lead holy, humble, and loving lives, focusing on the Savior’s will rather than our own. God has prepared the good works that we are to walk in.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Our job is to carry them out.
Whether or not we affect our world positively depends on the focus of our heart. Do we look inward to consider how we can do more to get ahead and add to our own lot in life? Or do we look outward and think about ways that we can do more to serve others.
This holiday, when someone mentions the word freedom, I challenge each of us to think of an even greater freedom that each of us has available to us. Let’s step out of our comfort zone and share about that freedom with those around us. It really is a matter of life or death.