A few years ago, when I recommitted my life to Christ, I made a conscious decision that I was no longer going to just believe a certain way or do certain things as a Christian just because I was "suppose" to. I had spent most of my Christian walk up to that point, doing just that...just going through the motions.... and I knew that in order to have a real relationship with God, I had to really know Him...for myself. So these days I take time to study my bible and pray and worship and invest in community, not because I should, but because I want to know God...to really know Him.... and to love Him with all that I am and live for Him in all that I do.
Yet, to be honest, sometimes it seem I become more tripped up now by my desire to really understand God for myself, than I ever did just going through the motions. For instance, take my Bible reading.....for the past several days I have been stuck in Matthew 5 and 6.....not the whole chapters though... just 7 verses. For you see, it seems to me that in Matthew 5:14-16 when Jesus is telling His disciples to let their light shine, that He's encouraging them to go out and DO....to let their love for Him be an action that others can see and thus be point to Him. That makes sense....even the book of James says that Faith without works is dead and people can see your faith by what you DO, so yes.....we should be light and salt in this world by DOing God's will....Got it. But then in Matthew 6:1-4...which is on the very same page in my bible... Jesus tells His disciples not to DO their good deeds publicly to be seen by others and that when they give they should not even to let their left hand know what their right hand is DOing! Wait a minute?!?!? How are we suppose to be a city on a Hill...letting our light shine...without even allowing our whole selves to see our light? Now don't get me wrong....I don't think we are suppose to go around tooting our own horns and proclaiming how great we are. In fact I think the whole point of any good we do, should be to point to the greatness of God....we never even get involved in the equation in terms of who it's about...But how exactly do we let our light shine in private?! How are we to be a city on a hill....for all the world to see....but not allow even ourselves to know what we are doing?! How does that work?!
I don't know the answers right now.....I have to meditate on it much longer I think to have it fully make sense to me. But I have to admit, I worry that while I'm trying to figure this out, am I dishonoring God by trying to shine a light and being aware that this is my intention? See how I can take a simple concept and turn it into a mumbled mess in my mind. It's kind of ridiculous! And yet, I somehow believe that it honors God when we wrestle with His word...He delights in us meditating on His concepts and coming to understand and believe them for ourselves...He desires us to know Him and seek Him in this personal kind of way. So maybe the mess I get lost in and all the tripping up I do in scripture, actually means I'm walking on the path....moving forward... drawing closer to Him.....after all, God's kingdom is so upside down compared to this world, that maybe...just maybe....what seems like stumbling is actually progress.