“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14.
As a Christian, I need to ask myself, does my life really portray this verse? When I think of how I am at work and how I am towards different people whom I come across during my day, can I truly say that I am shining as a light in this world?
This verse doesn’t only refer to outward things, such as being someone who doesn’t obviously swear or cheat, but to my inward works which have results that can be seen by people around me. When somebody reacts harshly or in rudeness to me when I think I am acting with good intentions, how do I then react?
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Reacting to situations
I start my work day with the best intentions, decided that I will react with only goodness and patience to my co-workers and our clients. Things go as planned; we are all working hard on the pressing tasks we have piled on our desks, until one co-worker comes into the office, clearly stressed out, and begins reacting disrespectfully to each person they encounter.
The atmosphere suddenly changes. Everybody now seems to be stressed and on edge. When I get confronted and accused for a mistake that wasn’t my own, I can feel irritation welling up inside of me. I have a split second to make a decision. I immediately want to defend myself, lash back in a proud and irritated tone, show this co-worker that they are wrong. Thoughts bombard me, wondering why this person is such a problem, why they always have to react in this way, and why they would treat me this way for no good reason. Instead I say a quick prayer, asking God to help me, knowing that without Him I don’t have the control to react in a good way.
I sense a quiet, gentle, and loving voice speaking to me, prompting me to stop and ask, how does God want me to react right now? “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.” Colossians 3:12. I realize that I need to react with goodness, kindness, being gentle and humble, and not agree with the irritation and offense I feel in my chest.
If I am striving to be constantly awake, paying attention to each thought and judging my intentions, I can see clearly that I fall short over and over in comparison to the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5) But if I am decided and humble and ask for God’s help, I experience that I don’t have to give in to my natural reactions in those intense situations. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. I need to pray to God for strength before these situations arise, always fill myself with His words for armour, and pray during these situations when I sense I am not able to react in the way I have decided I will. God is always there to help me.
When God comes with help, that doesn’t mean that I suddenly feel happy and that things feel “easy.” I need to suffer to not react in the way that my body feels it wants to. He will always carry me through the situation if I am willing to suffer and ask for his help. Then I can experience a change.
If we live for God, and not for ourselves (our own honor, feelings, natural reactions, etc.), then we must live to please Him in every situation, and live as a servant to Him as Jesus did. This is far from retaliating against someone who I think is treating me badly. If I am humble and honest about the way that I am naturally, then it is suddenly not so difficult to esteem the others as much better than myself, regardless of how anyone is acting or treating me. (Philippians 2:3) Who am I to be offended, upset, or to speak back, and react harshly to someone who has lashed out on me?
Take heed to yourself
When we meet God at the end of our life, we must each give an account for ourselves; for what we have done with the situations and the time God has given us. God won’t be interested then in how I treated people based on how good they were to me. He will be interested in whether or not I laid down my life in each situation, as Jesus did during his time on earth.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. I am called to be a light in this world; a light in my workplace. If I look at my own reactions and judge myself instead of thinking of how others should be acting, I can keep this heavenly peace and happiness in my heart, cleansing myself more and more from sin and from my natural tendencies each day. “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16. It is my hope that people will be able to sense something different about me at work and everywhere I go. I will be completely free from reacting according to my natural tendencies of irritation and pride, allowing people to see the work that God has been able to do in me, glorifying Him!