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Me and My Shadow

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted May 28, 2014

RELIGION – I have a shadow today. I know big deal, you have a shadow every day. But today I have a good young man from our church who is hanging out with me, job shadowing me for a credit in school. You might be thinking, well that sounds fun, sleep and eat fried chicken! His first choice was to shadow a policeman, but he could not ride along with them.

So he asked me second or so he said, I am pretty sure he thought hanging with me was better than being in school! He is working on his children’s sermon for Sunday morning now and studding hard!

As I thought about our day and what we would do, it made me think what will he see me do? He is mine all day, though my wife said I could not have him wash my car. One objective was I wanted to make sure that he learned how to prepare a message. Our second objective was to eat good food! But seriously, I wanted to make my God called vocation of preaching attractive. I gave much thought to what we would do.

What about you and your day? Do you think about what the people around you think as they see you live your life? Do we as Christians consider the way that we live our lives before the world? Do we think through our actions? The reality is that you are the only Bible some people will ever read. As Christianity wanes if you remain strong in your faith then your life will be under scrutiny every day. What do others learn from you? Do they see an accurate picture of your God?

That picture of God seen in you is formed slowly by the people around you. Blaise Pascal wrote that “The virtue of a man ought to be measured, not by his extra-ordinary exertions, but by his everyday conduct.”  It is easier often times to do the large and dramatic, but harder in the daily grind to remain faithful.  We are called day in and day out to be examples. The Greek word translated "example" means model, image, or pattern. So, when you set an example, you are giving people a pattern to follow. Can you commend your way of life to people who witness how you live?

My shadow will go home in a bit. I will work hard to show him my best self. But as he goes home, I go home too! The people who I spend the most time with and who I influence the most are the people at home! How is your influence there? John MacArthur in Successful Christian Parenting challenges “Parents, take inventory in your own hearts.  Do you thirst for God as the deer pants after the water?  Or is your own life sending your children a message of hypocrisy and spiritual indifference?  Is our own commitment to Christ what you hope to see in your children’s lives?  Is your obedience to His Word the same kind of submission you long to see from your own kids?  These are crucial question each parent must face if we really want to be successful parents and good role models for our children.  Parents who are lax in these areas virtually guarantee that their sons and daughters will fail spiritually.”  (p. 23-24)

The reality is that all of us are creatures of imitation. The thoughts, feelings, actions, dress, culture, and style around will rub off on us. What influence and impact are you having on the people around you? Jesus tells us the kind of shadows that we should be casting on the world around us in Matthew 5:13-16  “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.  (14)  You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  (15)  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  (16)  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.”

What does this mean to be salt? Some think that its whiteness represents the purity of the Christian. Others say that salt's flavoring properties imply that Christians are to add divine flavor to the world. Still others believe that Christians are to sting the world with rebuke and judgment the way salt stings an open wound. Another group asserts that, as salt, Christians are to create a thirst for Christ. Salt, however, has another vital purpose which is probably what the Lord had in mind. Salt stops decay. One of the roles of the Christian is in stopping the moral decay of our sin infected world. Without refrigeration, the fish that they caught would quickly spoil and rot unless they were packed in salt. Once salted, the fish could be safely stored and then used when needed. The spiritual health and strength of the Christian is to counteract the corruption that is in the world. Christians, as salt, are to inhibit sin's power to destroy lives.

As "salt", the Christian is to counteract the power of sin. As "light" we are to illuminate or make visible. Our lives are to be an on-going witness to the reality of Christ's presence in our lives. When we worship God with pure hearts, when we love others as ourselves, and when we do good without growing weary, we are lights shining. It is important, however to know that it is not our light, but the reflection of the Light of the world, Jesus Christ Himself, that people will see in us.

What does your shadow reveal about you and reveal about the Jesus you profess to serve?

Pastor Phillip

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