February. Smack dab in the middle of winter. Maybe the sky is dark and there is a cold rain outside your window. Perhaps ice cycles hang from the handrail leading up to your school or work. (That is, unless you live in the Deep South!)
But even on the coldest of days we can shine our light and radiate the warm love of Jesus.
Matthew 5:16 says, Let your light shine so that others will see your good works and give Me praise and glory.
The following are some practical ways in which we can shine for Jesus in any situation.
- Smile at the people around you. It’s perfectly okay for you to smile when you are sad and suffering. It means you have the peace of Jesus and the calm assurance that He is working on your behalf. Smile at an employee at your work, someone new to Bible study, or the same cashier. A smile signals that you not only notice them but that you accept them. A simple smile can turn an otherwise judgmental and critical look, into a feeling of being “liked.”
- Take some time to listen intently to another person. Don’t be in a hurry. Look in their eyes and don’t appear to be busily distracted. When I was checking out at the grocery store, I casually asked the clerk (who normally frowned and was generally unpleasant) how she was. “My mother is in the hospital,” the older woman responded. I promised to pray and told her I would check in with her over the next few days to see how things were going with her mother. From that moment on, this woman always asked me to come through her line!
- Encouragement can be verbal or written. Sometimes a few words of encouragement is all it takes to make another person’s day get better. Make or buy a card for someone you know needs to be inspired or encouraged. Include in the card, 10 things I like about you. Then leave it where she can find it or send it through the mail. Email or Facebook notes are nice, but something tangible like notes and cards can be looked at over and over again and kept forever!
- Start fresh. God’s mercies and compassion are new every morning. Lamentations 2:22-23. If yesterday’s work environment was hostile or unpleasant, demonstrate that it’s a new day with a new attitude. Bring in a cake or healthy snack to your colleagues or peers to share over break. Celebrate that the past is behind you and that God is doing a new thing. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
- Choose to forgive. When we are unable to forgive, it becomes a heavy burden to carry and can affect our health and countenance. Forgiveness is never easy, but you have help from the Holy Spirit that will strengthen you, and enable you to be obedient to Him. Talk it over with God. He will show you how to forgive.
- Take a little time. Take an extra moment to help someone. This can include: babysitting for a single mom who needs to do a quick errand, helping someone with a project, etc. Proverbs 11:25 says that when we refresh others we are refreshed ourselves!
- Include someone who is not normally in your group. Invite her to sit with you, eat at your lunch table if you are a student, or go out to lunch if you work together. Ask her to attend a Bible study or some other special event.
- Be joyful. Synonyms include: cheery, bubbly, lighthearted, good humored. This suggestion is not meant to be deep. I realize that pages could be written on the topic of joy, both from a Biblical perspective, and in dealing with depression and anxiety. Joy doesn’t necessarily mean feeling happy, but joy is clinging to God’s truth and being content in Him. As a result, people will see your positive attitude. Psalm 34:5 says that those who look to Him are radiant!
- Avoid drama, gossip, and unnecessary/unhealthy conflict. Simply walk away from it. You will feel uplifted, have a better attitude, and be more inspired to pursue great things when you’re not entertaining this type of negative activity.
God declares we are special, accepted, forgiven, loving, and merciful. And when we shine a light to others around us, we are demonstrating God’s character.
Go ahead… SHINE BRIGHTLY!
Debbie is co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with The Polished Conference. She is the author of one Bible Study, “Shine! Radiating the Love of God,” and has numerous stories in the Divine Moments series, compiled by Yvonne Lehman. These books are available at Grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” For more information visit her website: www.debbiepresnell.com or visit her page on facebook: shineministriesnc. Contact her directly at email@example.com.