Are You the Light of the World?

Posted: May 4, 2012 in Christian Living
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“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Mat 5:14-16 (NIV)

Recently at a men’s get-together I was discussing with some friends the state of America today. Some stated that they feared that America was becoming more and more like something that resembled a dictatorship than a democracy. Others were worried that many American Christians will soon experience even more persecution for their faith.

Persecution? What persecution? Requiring that you’re insurance company provide coverage for birth control is NOT religious persecution. Even requiring that you not share your faith with others at work during business hours is NOT religious persecution. Religious persecution is getting arrested and placed in prison and being tortured and/or killed for simply living out your faith! The biggest problem in America is not big government trying to control our lives. Our biggest problem is Christians who refuse to let their light shine before men.

For proof of this all one has to do is look at someone’s Face Book page. It’s as if they believe that God can’t read their posts since He’s not on their “friends” list. Many times I’ve read posts by those who claim to be Christians that include Scripture verses with words of encouragement on one post, and then soon after, they will post an obscene picture with a clever caption! I can’t tell you how many of these type of posts I’ve had to hide from my page!

Maybe it’s time for believers in America to experience real persecution. That may be the one thing that will bring about true spiritual revival. Here in America we use the term “Christian” so flippantly that in many cases it doesn’t mean anything. I’m sure that would change if we knew that acknowledging our faith in God would be a possible death sentence.

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Romans 5:20

Charles Finney is credited with being one of the most forceful American evangelists and was greatly responsible for the rise of religious fervor in western New York from the 1820s to the 1850s. At the close of the eighteenth century the prospects of Christianity in the United States were unfavorable. A low standard of religion and morals prevailed. Family worship was neglected, and little attention was paid to the training of youth in the fear of God. The 49ers Gold Rush added an abundance of prosperity to the economy. Manufacturing and farm production doubled and the railroad more than tripled. While the railroad company was trying to tie the nation together east and west, the slavery issue was threatening to split it apart North and South. Some felt so strongly against slavery that they felt it was their duty to kill some of the slave-owners.

In October of 1857 the boom period ended with a banking panic that shocked the public and converged on the New York City financial institutions. The nation’s banking system collapsed.  Many believed that the panic was the Divine Hand of retribution because of the idolatry of money.

On the day of the crash about 100 people joined together in prayer. There was a great many added to those prayer meetings during the next two months and by January, 1858 revival spread across the nation!

There is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

During the 1980s Silicon Valley and Wall Street added an abundance of prosperity to our economy. Manufacturing and farm production increased and profits of companies like Apple and Microsoft more than tripled. Today family worship has been neglected, and little attention is paid to the training of youth in the fear of God. At the same time the abortion issue has threatened to split our nation apart. Some feel so strongly against abortion that they felt it was their duty to kill some of the abortion providers.

Sound familiar? There has been much talk in recent years about whether America is ready for another “Great Awakening”, but I don’t believe that will happen until more of us decide to get serious and shine our light before men that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

  1. doccochran says:

    Wow, I just blogged on this same text in relation to Christian persecution a couple of days ago at I have found it helpful to distinguish persecution in America from persecution in more hostile contexts by saying that the difference is one of degree, not of kind. In other words, Christians are persecuted to a lesser degree in America, but they are actually persecuted. This distinction helps me to make sense of Matthew 5:10-12, where Jesus explains that lies against us are a form of persecution. It also makes sense of 2 Timothy 3:12. Thanks for the post.

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