In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
“Before you invite people to come in, you yourself must exhibit a life changed by Christ.” A few years ago a friend told me that advice as I invited her to join my prayer meeting group. Hearing her advice, I immediately asked myself: “Do I not yet exhibit a life changed of Christ?” I didn't want myself to feel judged by her words, but deep in my heart, I thought her words were true. Her words made me realize that at that time my life, my actions did not yet reflect Chris.
The Bible says, “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world.” (See Matthew 5:13-16). Moreover, God wants us to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). The fruit we must produce is the fruit of the Spirit. And as we know, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NRSV).
Salt can make foods delicious, light can drive away the darkness, and fruit can provide freshness for those who eat it. That’s what God wants in our lives! Like the salt, God wants us to make delicious the lives of those around us. When they are getting discouraged or despair, we can offer them hope and comfort that we ourselves have received from Christ. Like light, God want us to shines into the darkness of this world. In the midst of a world full of evil deeds, we must stand on our guard as an example of Christ to do what is true. Then like fruit, God wants us to refresh the hearts of those who need to be refreshed.
God entrusted me with a job as a writer. Praise God! As a writer, I often encouraged people to live close to God and love others. Day after day, I found more of my writings were published. I felt excited! However, my deepest longing was that I would not only write, but also practice what I wrote. When I wrote: “We must love God with all our heart and soul,” I would make make God a priority in my heart. When I wrote: “We must love others,” I would be able to love people also. I want to be able to care people, forgive others, and share what I have with those in need.
Truly, being an example of Christ is not easy. Very often when I am in a bad situation, I find it difficult to still love God. Very often when other people treat me badly, I find it difficult to forgive and love them. In those times, I cry out to God: “Lord, help me to love you and keep believing in you. Help me also to love others.” With my own strength it seems impossible, but with God all things are possible.
My hope is that all of us can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, bearing much fruit so that we can become more effective when we invite people to come to the Savior.