Personal message from Lori: it’s Authentic Thursday time again! On Thursdays we are joined by various blogging/writing friends who have agreed to join forces with the purpose of simply being themselves. I cannot take credit for their skill or gifts or natural abilities … but I am happy to say that I dig their style and friendship and authenticity!
Today we are joined again by my talented friend Justin Grant. He’s a deep-thinker, a funny guy, an all-around fantastic family man! Thank you, Justin, for sharing from your heart as you search out a topic that others are searching too… – Lori
Humble Confidence: Walking in the Light
It’s frustrating how lukewarm I can be sometimes. Of all the reasons I fail in my faith, perhaps the most thematic is fear. Not really fear of what people will think of me if they know what I believe, but fear that I will fail it in some way. I fear that I’m not good enough for my faith, and that if I assert it I’ll come across as thinking that I am, shining more of me than the Savior I rest my belief in. The problem with these fears is that they’re probably valid, but they don’t negate the calling to be a light to the world. I must not give my fear enough credence that it supersedes my submission to the Lord’s work in my heart and ministry to others. Perhaps trying to remember the following truths will help hold me accountable to this.
I’m not good enough:
First of all, I’m definitely not good enough for my faith, but that’s basically the point. I shouldn’t be good enough for it. I should be resting and relying on the goodness of God, not the goodness of me. My salvation is needed because I’m a sinner, tarnished and unable to shine on my own. I need to be resting on the goodness of Christ to be the light in me that shines to the world and to my Father in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:21) as the evidence of His presence in me.
Investing in the Light of Christ:
Beyond resting on the goodness of Christ to shine through me, I must be dedicated to investing in that goodness. It’s not good enough for me to just know that Jesus is the good that makes me worthy, or rather reconciles me to Him. I have to culture this relationship lest I become complacent in my faith. If I’m not invested in knowing Him more and more, I can’t know if it’s me that’s shining or Him. More importantly, I’ll easily lose sight of the assurance of my salvation. Not to say that the assurance isn’t there, but where’s the confidence, evidence, and familiarity that shows, at least to me, that I’m a member of God’s family (Galatians 3:26) and a citizen of heaven (Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20)? How will I know when times are tough, and I feel God’s work is missing from my circumstance that I’m still under His care? Unless I’ve tuned myself to His presence and workings in me, and I identify myself in Him, my assurance and light will depend on the external: the actions of others, worldly situation, successes, or failures. If I only shine when my day is bright, my light will be dimmed by my success and potentially unnoticeable, even by myself. If it is real, it won’t depend on the works of me or others, it will live on faith alone and shine brightest in my darkest moments.
Ensuring Christ shines and not me:
One of my biggest struggles in this subject is the contrast between Matthew 5:14-16 and Matthew 6:1-8. In the former, Jesus instructs, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds”, while in the same speech, He instructs, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.” It almost seems like Jesus is contradicting Himself, but when we read carefully, the difference is in our intention, not in the deed itself. We need to consider if our deeds are an inevitable manifestation of the Spirit’s fruit, or a show by us for self-glorification. To recognize the difference in our own situations we should question our personal motives and act accordingly. Do we raise our hands during church worship solely as an impulse triggered by an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, or do we do so with consideration that someone might notice, and that perhaps we might appear more holy? The act of worship is good, but its purpose is lost if there’s any thought to drawing any attention to ourselves. We should prayerfully consider Christ’s reign in that area in our lives if it proves to be a temptation.
No matter what, I can’t let my fears subdue my Light. We’re still commanded to shine, to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and to be witnesses unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). We’re still human and living among the like. We will receive praise and/or persecution when we don’t deserve either, but we must still take pride in our Christian identity; not in our own abilities, but in our definition in Him and His work in us (Galatians 2:20). We can’t hide who we are, or run from it because it’s either unpopular or too popular. People should know our names because they see Christ in us, not because they see an outstanding individual, whether they understand that fact or not. We must continue to shine in humble confidence, and not be confident in our own humility or works.
And this light we shine isn’t just for the benefit of others; it’s evidence to us that we are His.
We should be so full of Him that our cups overflow into the lives of others (Psalm 23:5) regardless of our circumstance. We won’t be able to help being a light if we are so dedicated to Him that we’re inexplicably driven to dedicate our self to others.
My name is Justin Grant, and I’m a dedicated husband and a father.
By trade, I’m an engineer with most of my experience revolving around web technologies for “the internets”. Spiritually, I’m a sinner with an acute awareness of my need for a savior and a strong desire and hope to do eternally significant things with my life.
As a hobbyist, I’m a bit of a hypocrite: I’m a musician that rarely plays, a poet that rarely writes, and a surfer that’s only surfed 1 year of my 40 here on earth many years ago. My most consistent hobby is travelling and sightseeing, while many other hobbies I pursue are curious whims that usually prove fleeting.
I’m genealogically related to Ulysses S. Grant and spiritually related to everyone, with a particular kinship to Bono however delusional that might be. I love movies, art, music, inspiration, playing video games, board games, giving gifts, and fishing. I’m a great cook, but have little interest in cooking, and I desperately want to make my own board game, screenplay, and movie someday.
One of my greatest personal hopes in this earthly life is that I live long enough to see my daughter marry a good man, and to see her joy in raising my grandchildren. I’m a huge C.S. Lewis fan, and I love to try new things, and I often wish I could show people my thoughts so they could see how much I care about them.