Go find an old newspaper—the older the better, but week-old is probably enough to make the point. Go ahead; take a few moments to look it over. Do you recall any of the stories you’re reading? Do any of them appear to be relevant to your life right now?
Next question: What’s a “big story” you do remember, where now you think, “Why did I get so worked up over that?” How did you (and others) respond to it at the time?
In the words of the late Peter Falk, “Just one more question…”: The word “gospel” means “good news”—in fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news of all. Do you still treat it like news, or more like…. well, like the newspaper you’re holding? Why?
It’s been said that we may be the only gospel some people may ever read. If our own sense of what Jesus has done for us—and is doing in our lives right now—is like our newspapers, it’s easy to understand why no-one’s buying. What would help us treat the gospel of Jesus Christ like it’s still “breaking news”—for us and others?
Let’s look at one eyewitness account of that good news, and go from there. Each time you come across a sensory word—“heard,” “seen,” “touched”—pause for a few seconds. Think about what was just read; imagine what John and his readers must have actually experienced as they read or relived what’s being described here:
“This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life – and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us). What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:1-4, NET).
When’s the last time you shared your experience of Jesus with someone else, or when someone else observed your faith and responded to it in some way? How did sharing your faith affect them? How did their responses affect you?
If you’re having trouble answering this, let’s step back. If you can, turn the lights out in your room, and reflect on this question, then turn the lights back on when you’re done:
When have you felt “in the dark” and disconnected from Jesus—even if you were already a Christian? (It happens, you know. Admit it.) What happened to finally turn the light on (or back on) for you?
OK, lights back on? Good. Think about your reaction to those lights coming back on. How can we help peoples’ eyes adjust so they can see the light of Jesus? What do we need to change in ourselves to help that to happen?
And again, just one more question: What holds you back from “letting your light shine” more than you do right now? Honestly?
Maybe it’s fear of catching flak, or worse. Maybe it’s fear that you don’t measure up to the message you’re sharing. But that’s part of the good news, too: None of us do. And yet, we have been forgiven and called to follow Jesus anyway. Living in that truth—not just treating it like old news but seeking to live in that in every moment, despite how hopelessly short we might come at times—is what speaks volumes to those around us.
So ask God to help you to have the courage and wisdom to truly “let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NET).