Awesome, awesome ideas! I love what you guys came up with on practical ways to be shining Christ's radiance to the world!
I heard a great sermon today that goes right along with what we're talking about. Pastor Mark talked about our image - how we were created in the image of God. We are mirrors reflecting God. But sin has broken these mirrors. Christ put them back together.
He continued by saying that whenever we tell the truth, whenever we fight for justice for those who can't fight, whenever we walk in a way that pleases Christ, we reflect the image of God.
I love this!
It makes it very practical and I'm all about practical Christianity. There's only so much head knowledge you can acquire before something needs to happen in your life, right? :)
So, what are practical ways we can reflect Christ?
You guys came up with awesome ideas! I totally agree with smiling at people. I've had a total stranger stop me in the grocery store one time and tell me how much it meant to them that I looked them in the eyes and smiled. After a little bit of conversation, I was able to invite this person to church. Simply making eye contact and smiling says something very important: You are worth something.
I think Kylie's ideas about signing off emails and Keisha taking an extra lunch with her are FABULOUS! Excellent ideas! One of you made a great observation: It's the little things that count. Making the extra effort to show people Christ's love is huge - I know those things aren't going unappreciated.
How about even more practical? Something as cliche as obeying your parents (if you're still living at home). Even if your parents, siblings, grandparents, everyone in your whole family is saved, that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't radiate God's love to them by serving your family. Your mom hates it when you don't make your bed in the mornings? By all means, make your bed! Your brother can't stand it when you take all the milk? Leave the milk for him next time.
This gets even more important in marriage. Marriage, in and of itself, is created by God as a picture of Christ and the Church. We're called to serve our spouse. Jon plays softball on a church league here and it's means a lot to him when I go watch him play. Which means, I'm going to try my hardest to be at every game. Not because I love softball, but because I love Jon. I serve Christ when I serve Jon.
Every action you take, every thought you have, everything you do, communicates something. What are we communicating? That we are head over heels in love with Christ? That in Him we find peace, in Him we find our worth, in Him we have our beauty and we just want to share that? Or that we're so scatterbrained and stressed out, we aren't even sure which direction we're heading?
Here's a few more ideas of ways to radiate Christ (note that if you don't have a cheerful attitude while doing this, it's not worth anything!):
* Serve in your church's nursery (Crying babies, smelly diapers, helping out parents - it doesn't get harder and it's tons of fun!) * Help keep your house/room clean * My mother-in-law had this idea - she carried little gift certificates for McDonalds with her and when she passed a homeless person on the road, she would give them those instead of cash. * Take care of yourself and the things around you. * Notice how you treat your friends and family - do you treat your friends better? Might want to step back. God put you in your family for a reason. Treat them with the same love and mercy God has given you. * Be polite. Whether that means toning down the decibels in a restaurant, not interrupting (oo. I need to work on this one!) or using "Ma'am" and "Sir", in today's culture a girl just being polite is so different, you'll definitely get questions! * Be honest. * Watch your language - and this doesn't just apply to cussing. Did you know it's a Biblical command? Look up Ephesians 4:29.
I'd love to hear even more from you! Above all else, guys, let's remember that "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." The hands move, the eyes look. "Guard your hearts," it says in Proverbs. This is why. What we let into our hearts is going to shape everything about us: our attitude, our words, our actions, our beauty.
Be beautiful. Let's nestle our hearts in the capable hands of the One who created it. And then, get to work! We've got a Savior to reflect!