As I sat in a cafe by London Bridge, I started receiving text after text, asking if I was okay. What I soon realized brought stillness across the city - there had been a terror attack at Westminster Bridge, six individuals were killed and many others injured. Fear settled on London like a heavy blanket. Little did we know that the months following would test how far that fear would go: 22 claimed in a bombing at Manchester Arena, eight perished after London Bridge attacks, one person killed in Finsbury Mosque attack, 70 people lost their lives in an apartment block fire, and over a dozen people were injured in a failed bomb explosion on the Underground. Hopelessness was taking over London, as fear stretched its consuming arms. I felt the weight of it, as people asked “Why?”. It was a daily battle to not be overcome by it all.
In this passage we see Jesus highlighting many teachings. One of which is integrity. It is normal to say one thing and do another. It is normal to “go with the flow”, rather than grow our gifts and/or talents, but the challenge lies in stepping out of the norm. The challenge as believers is to stand out - to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
The “norm” in London this past year was fear. I felt the burden of it. Though paralyzing fear wanted to take over, I had to look to God to reestablish the integrity in my faith. I had to remember that the battle was already won by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
What is holding you back today from intentionally living out your faith? It may not be fear, but maybe a relationship, work, family, finances, or past brokenness? Whatever it may be, go to Jesus. As The Message version puts it in verse 15 of our passage today, “God knows what’s behind the appearance.” The beauty of our relationship with Christ is He knows us. We don’t have to put on a show. He meets us in the brokenness and speaks life into us, so that in response we may have courage to step outside the “norm”, live with integrity, and be a beacon of light to those that God has placed in our lives.
Lenten Reader 2018
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