… 'we are being transformed into the Lord’s likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit'
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
In our family, the ferry across the Solent to the Isle of Wight has for many years been known as the low ferry. This came about from a time when we misread a road sign that pointed to the IOW Ferry! While signs are meant to show us where to go or what to look out for, they can sometimes be misleading, or at least ambiguous. At bit like the one at the top of this page!
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His disciples that they are the light of the world, and that they should let this light shine before people, so others see their good deeds and praise God. Our lives are like signposts, showing people what God is like, and pointing them to Him. The difficulty is that sometimes we may feel the signs we give are ambiguous, or misleading, or even point in the wrong direction.
Many years ago, I was struck by this short piece of verse, which has stayed with me:
You’re writing a Gospel, a chapter each day,
by the deeds that you do and the words that you say.
Men (and women!) read what you write, distorted or true,
what is the Gospel according to you?
That feels like a big challenge and a huge responsibility. When I know that some of the things I do and some of the attitudes I show really don’t measure up to what God wants to see in me, the last thing I want to do, or feel I can do, is shine in the way that Jesus asked. So, what do I do?
God’s written word is a wonderful resource for us. Not only does it show us what God is like, how He involves Himself with the world He has created, and how we can share life with Him through what Jesus has done, but it also gives us lots of practical instruction on how to live. St Paul wrote several letters to churches who were struggling with many of the same issues and challenges we face in living out our Christian faith, and his clear commands and wise advice can help us shine more brightly.
But Paul was also a huge encourager. While recognising that members of the church in Corinth still had much to learn, he also reminded them that God’s Holy Spirit is doing a wonderful work of transformation in our lives, and because of this we will shine in the way Jesus asked us to, and can indeed be true signposts in a needy world.
Thank you, Lord, that you are graciously changing me. Help me to take confidence from this, and to trust that others can and will see more of you through me. Amen