I mean that thing is good; I wanna be friends with it.
One of my favorite verses, and most convicting, is Matthew 5:16, the context of which is the Sermon on the Mount where Christ explains to His followers that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, explaining that light should shine.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.As I am teaching through The Sermon on the Mount with the youth Sunday school class at Providence Church, I've come across some helpful reading. One quote in particular is from a sermon on this verse by Richard Baxter, author of the superb book The Reformed Pastor.
Christ here intendeth that we must abound especially in those good works which the world is capable of knowing to be good, and not only in those which none but Christians themselves approve. If believers and unbelievers agreed in no common principles, we were not capable of preaching to unbelievers, nor convincing them, nor of conversing with them. (emphasis mine)The key point I want to highlight is his perception that these works/deeds in question are to be of the genre that even the non-Christian would recognize them as "good" when such deeds are performed.
-Richard Baxter, What Light Must Shine in Our Works?
Christians tend to think of "good deeds" as reading our Bibles or telling folks about Jesus or praying, all of which, of course, are good to do. However, those are not actions that have any intrinsic value in the mind of the non-Christian, for he/she does not have the spiritual ability to see them as such.
However, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, and visiting those in prison (for example) are actions which the world would recognize as good deeds. Of course, so would the Lord Jesus Himself.
What's the point of all this? Christians will get the attention of the world and channel praise to our Father in Heaven when the world sees us outdoing the non-Christians in good deeds. In other words, we must out-do the do-gooders.
There are, naturally, qualifiers like what constitutes a deed that is truly good, but we need not complicate matters to the point where we are not shining our light since there is an overlap between what God defines as good which is in the realm of what they can understand as good. To do so would mean that God is not glorified in, by, and through us.
Are Christians perceived as the most loving, the most joyful, the most peaceful, the most patient, the most kind, the most good, the most faithful, the most gentle, and the most self-controlled? They should be as they exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Jesus in Matthew 5:16As folks see us as agents of God's grace in the communities in which we live, they will see the difference Christ makes. They will say of Christianity, "I mean that thing is good; I wanna be friends with it."