31. Be careful of those who try to diminish your light - Philippians 3:17-18
Philippians 3:17-18 -Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
We are all aware of those people who are outside of the church who want to destroy the words of the Bible, the church, and every Christian person. They protest loudly, claiming their rights have been violated, claiming Christians are ignorant, and trying to silence any and all defenses of the Gospel. Jesus even warned us that there would be opposition and he said that if that hated you it is because they hate me.
But what surprises us is when we find false teachers and opposition sitting in the pew next to us. Perhaps that is why Paul calls them dogs, evildoers, and mutilators of the flesh. They don't mind your faith as long as it fits in with their faith. They often try to diminish the light in your life by either trying to be better than you, more knowledgable than you, or by doing more or better things than you do.
What makes it worse is when these people are in your family or counted amongst your friends. There are some who want you to keep your faith burning bright. For them, faith is good in small doses. You can go to church but if you try to apply it to areas of your life you might become a "Jesus Freak".
As I was teaching a class one time a friend of mine caught me by surprise. He objected strongly to a comment I made about in my study on Luke 9. I said, "Jesus is basically offering an invitation to COME AND DIE to those who are willing to follow him." He claimed I was being too fanatical. But Jesus said in verse 23, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." The funny thing is that Dietrich Bonhoeffer said and practiced the same thing during WWII and he was considered a hero of the faith.
Mediocracy is not how we are to shine the light. Jesus even said that he would rather us be hot or cold than lukewarm. Those who are lukewarm will be "spewed out".
Don't let anyone diminish your light for Jesus. Keep your eyes on the prize and press on toward the goal in Christ Jesus! May God bless you as you shine the light brightly for Jesus today.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord of Light; May your glory shine in my life today. Help me to resist those who would try to diminish this light in my life. Help me to sing, praise, shout, and proclaim your name until Jesus comes again. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN!