ODJ: Hope that Shines

June 6, 2016 

READ: Matthew 14:35 

It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth (v.11).

Enjoying our evening out, we waited for our waitress to come to our table. When she approached, her cheerful demeanour brought an immediate connection, even though we had just met her. However, as our dinner progressed, my husband and I picked up on the self-deprecating comments interjected in her words each time she checked on us. We spoke boldly about God’s beauty in her and asked to pray with her. I was surprised the next morning to find a friend request from her on my Facebook page. Neither my husband nor I had told her our names or the name of the church where we serve.

The world is longing for hope, and we’re God’s ambassadors of it. When Jesus showed up, people had the opportunity to choose whether they would run to Him for their answers or continue to depend on their own efforts (Matthew 14:36, 15:2). The same is true today. The only difference is that the presence of God is made visible through our lives, not by our own efforts but through the presence of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.

Is hope a vibrant, revealed thing in our lives? Matthew 5:15-16 tells us, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Jesus revealed that He uses our words and actions to help others see Him (Acts 4:13).

Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees (Matthew 15:1) shows a poignant certainty. Who we are is more important than how we sometimes view ourselves. The quality of a light isn’t determined by the depth of darkness, but by the Source of its gleam (Philippians 2:15).

—Regina Franklin

365-day plan: Luke 1:5-25

Read Ephesians 5:8-20 and consider the attributes of a transformed believer in Jesus. 
In what ways do your words and actions point others to Jesus? How can you address areas where you’re missing the mark?