“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 (NLT).
Does this verse describe my life as a Christian? When I think of how I am at work and how I treat different people during my day, can I truly say that I am a light in this world?
It’s not only about outward things such as not swearing or cheating, but it’s also about what I think about other people – this can be sensed by people around me. For example, when somebody is rude to me when I have only tried to do good, how do I react?
Reacting to situations
I usually start my day at work with the best intentions that I will only be good and patient with my co-workers and clients. Everything usually goes well, but one day we were all working hard until one co-worker suddenly came into the office, clearly stressed out, and began saying nasty things to all of us.
Usually, when I get accused of something that was not my fault, I start feeling irritated. So I immediately wanted to answer back in an irritated tone to show him that he was wrong. Lots of thoughts were spinning around in my head, asking why he always had to act in that way, and why he would treat me this way for no good reason.
But no, I wanted to react in a good way, so I quickly asked God to help me, because I knew that without Him I would not be able to react in a good way. Then I sensed a quiet voice speaking to me, telling me to stop and ask myself about how God wanted me to react right now. “God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient.” Colossians 3:12 (CEV). I realised that I needed to react with goodness and kindness; I needed to be gentle and humble and say No to the irritation and offense that I was feeling within myself.
Living to please God
It’s so good that I don’t have to give in to my natural reactions in those difficult situations. It’s written in Hebrews 4:16 (NCV), “Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it.” I need to pray to God for strength before these situations come, because I know they will come, and always fill myself with His words, and pray during these situations when I know I am not able to react in the way God wants me to react. God is always there to help me.
When God helps me, it doesn’t mean that I suddenly feel happy and that things feel “easy”. It hurts inside when I choose to go against my feelings and react differently. But God will always carry me through the situation if I am willing to suffer and ask for His help.
If we live for God, we must want to please Him in every situation and live as Jesus did, not according to our feelings, natural reactions, etc. Then I don’t repay evil with evil when I think someone has treated me badly. If I am humble and honest about the way that I am by nature, then it is not so difficult to think of others as better than myself, regardless of how they are acting or treating me (Philippians 2:3).
Focus on your own development
When we meet God at the end of our life, we must each give an account for ourselves for what we have done with the situations and the time God has given us on earth. Did I repay evil with good? Did I say No to my own human reactions in each situation, just as Jesus did when He was here on earth? Did I treat people the way He wanted me to treat them?
“In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NCV). God wants me to be a light in this world, a light in my workplace, a light in my home.
If I look at my own reactions and work with myself instead of thinking about how others should be acting, I can keep a heavenly peace and happiness in my heart. Each day, if I continue with this process, I will be getting rid of more and more of my own natural way of reacting. “Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16 (CEB).
I want people to see something different about me at work and everywhere I go. I want to be completely free from my natural way of reacting which is full of irritation and pride, so that people can see the work that God has been able to do in me, and that they will praise Him!