Day 3

the art of conspicuous faith

from the the art of conspicuous faith reading plan


Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 6:1, Colossians 3:12-17

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 6:1, Colossians 3:12-17

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
– Matthew 5:14

Salt and light—some of us have heard these faith metaphors since childhood, maybe even sung them. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shiiiine.”

We are the light of the world, girls. Jesus says so. And why wouldn’t we let it shine? If light dispels darkness, shouldn’t we hold it up as high and bright as we know how? (“Hide it under a bushel—NO!”)

But here’s the thing—just a little while later, in this very same sermon, we’ll hear Jesus instruct believers not to flaunt their faith in unmeaningful ways, as the Pharisees were apt to do. Don’t fast so that other people notice; don’t pray loud so that others will hear, He’ll say (Matt. 6:6, 16-18). How then, are we to understand His declaration that we are people who should stand out, simply by nature of following Him?

I’m a person who appreciates rules. I don’t do well with the unexpected, and rules help me know what to expect—of myself and others. So when there’s a gray area, I feel squirmy and unsure. I want to slide to one end or the other, just to avoid the uncomfortable middle ground. In this case, I’d appreciate if Jesus would just tell us—how much faith flaunting is too much? How brightly should our light shine? Are we talking giant, to-the-moon, car dealership spotlight bright, or 100-watt light bulb bright? Some clear to-do’s here would be helpful.

Yet, the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount is to address the heart behind the actions, the motivation behind the direction. Following Jesus is more art, less science. It’s not about following rules, it’s about following Him.

Saltiness and brightness are not qualities the salt and light determine about themselves. They are qualities determined by their maker. Their purpose is placed within them; it’s not something they muster up by trying harder. The art of living and loving in a way that stands out is simply a matter of being who God created us to be. The light we shine should be His light. The flavor we add should taste distinctly of the Gospel as He taught it.

I love this reminder in Colossians 3: “Don’t be angsty about it. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Do all for the glory of God” (paraphrased, obviously). Finding the artful balance of not hiding our light under a bushel yet not blaring it on the street corner, Pharisee style, does not have to be stress inducing. Really, it comes down to one simple question: Who is getting the glory? If it’s you, sweet Sister, it’s time to close the door and get quiet before the Lord. But if it’s Him? Keep shining.

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Post Comments (309)

309 thoughts on "the art of conspicuous faith"

  1. Alexis says:

    I’m in love with Colossians 3 12-17! It was exactly what I needed to hear tonight and this week.

    1. Deborah A. Adedoja says:

      I’m greatly inspired by Colossians 3:12-17 too! : ) It’s the peace of God that we need that always carries us through and fills us with love and hope

  2. Morgan says:

    This was one of my favorite lessons yet! Love the last few sentences!

  3. Alexandria says:

    I am a rule follower, that likes to follow directions. The fact that this grey area is addressed was great! It is sometimes hard to determine how much to show and how much not to, but listening and following God will tell us how much to show!

  4. Billie says:

    glory to God our father for this app

  5. Jamie Cusack says:

    How much your light shines is definitely such a grey area. When your playing your rivalry football team and they have doubled your score. One of your players is injured. A group of football boys pray. Later your team makes a major comeback and you win in double overtime. The talk on twitter is about how great of a team they are because they prayed for us. All over twitter, we prayed for you if that isn’t sportsmanship i don’t know what is. Before the game they feel the need to wash their hands after touching our spirit stick after we swapped. During Spirit Week they had trash day. Everyone wore trash bags and taped our logo upside down to it. It’s such a grey area when actions don’t represent Christ well and you pray for assurance/glorification after a hard loss. This was a good reminder that God only knows the hearts of men.

  6. Alexandra says:

    Loved the thing about salt can’t determine its saltiness. It is it’s maker that determines how salty it is. That’s the same with us! He has created us salty, all we have to do is be ourselves and let him lead and receive the glory! Thank you for your encouraging message.

  7. Lindsay Oaks says:

    Salt enhances flavored already there. Light shows things that are already there. I am called to BE salt. BE light. Lord, whatever is there (gifts in others, hidden sin, mainly Jesus in all things) help me to bring out.

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