I have come to a conclusion. Sometimes God uses us by throwing us into an ocean of nonbelievers. But how do we shine effectively?
Be a LIGHTHOUSE...
I know you've heard that Jesus is like a lighthouse, but guess what? If Jesus is in us, we should be as well!
For so the Lord has commanded us: "I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 13:47
Does a lighthouse make a lot of noise? No. It just shines. We shouldn't hide our light, but we also shouldn't beat people over the head with our beliefs. We can be open. We can express our belief. We can even disagree with someone...in LOVE. But then we need to drop it and just live...our light should shine with no words. When sailors would rather face a tsunami than stop to chat, you may be talking too much.
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:4
Does a lighthouse chase a boat down and drag it to shore? No. It stands in one place and shines. Should we tie people up and drag them to church? No. We can invite and move on. We should be approachable and open, but there's a line. Lighthouses are there and welcoming, but they won't chase you down. If you get stuck, remember how Jesus did it...he cared for them. I've never read of Jesus making someone feel so guilty he went to the temple...that's not how he operates. Being a christian isn't easy...they have to want the relationship.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
In a storm, does the lighthouse disappear? No. It may be harder to find through the wind and rain, but it's there, standing solid on its foundation. When tough times come, do you run and hide? Is your foundation solid enough to weather the storms? Read your Bible. Pray. Spend quiet time with God. Make your foundation so rock solid it doesn't budge when trouble comes. Weary sailors look for solid ground during a hurricane...
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7: 24-25
What if a boat ignores the light and crashes on the rocks? Does the lighthouse stop? No. It keeps shining. Sometimes people see your light but choose to turn away. Do not be discouraged. Keep shining...
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
One of these days, that "boat" may just decide to brave the religious waters again. Make sure they can still find that lighthouse in the storm!
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:29
And next time you find yourself in the ocean, I pray that you find a lighthouse to guide you. If Jesus is there, it's sure to be so bright you can't miss it!!!
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12