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Tag Archives: the Light of the world

Mind Your Own Business

In my younger years as a student, if I was caught eavesdropping or asked too many questions, an insider would reply “mind your own business.” This idiom means to refrain from meddling, by keeping to your own affairs. Apparently, this expression was first used in the first century by the apostle Paul. Perhaps Paul was referencing part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:1-5. Instead of judging others, Paul wants believers to get your own affairs in order first.

To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you,12 So that you may bear yourselves becomingly and be correct and honorable and command the respect of the outside world, being dependent on nobody [self-supporting] and having need of nothing, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.

In a letter to the Church at Thessalonica, Paul builds upon this concept. No one likes a control freak who points their finger to cast blame upon anyone who makes a mistake. If I could paraphrase the words above into modern lingo, “don’t tell people how to live, show them by your own example.” Christians who focus on studying the Bible, praying and applying biblical truth set the tone and become the light of the world, Matthew 5:14-16.

Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others, Philippians 2:3-4.

Instead of using similar terminology like take the plank out of your own eye first, Paul focuses on priorities. If your own life is falling apart, you won’t be much help to anyone in need. While Paul doesn’t say be selfish in the passage above, he suggests that you need to take care of your own interests first. Once you get your own house in order by removing any signs of hypocrisy, you can begin to look out for the interests of others.

by Jay Mankus

Evil Persuasions

As a prerequisite for any discussion about evil in this world, moral evil must be distinguished from physical or natural evil. While natural disasters are often defined as acts of God by insurance companies to avoid going bankrupt, drunk individuals who decide to get behind the wheel of their vehicle exercise freewill. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis are natural phenomena’s that occur throughout the world annually. The aftermath of these natural events may be associated with a curse or some form of punishment. Meanwhile, physical evil exists when human beings find themselves under the influence of a drug, foreign substance or evil spirit.

This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ], Galatians 5:8.

In a first century letter, the apostle Paul suggests that witchcraft infiltrated one particular church, Galatians 3:1. Paul uses the expression of being under a spell cast by a religious sect who were adding and subtracting from the apostles teaching. A modern way of saying this might be something like, “wake up and smell the coffee.” Evil has a way of slowly and subtly changing people. The Psalmist illustrates this in the very first verse, Psalm 1:1. Evil persuasions begin with counsel that deviates from the Bible. For those who are curious like Eve in Genesis 3:1-6, evil has a way of luring you to take stances that you normally wouldn’t. Anyone who continues down this road will eventually participate by joining in evil acts.

Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. 34 Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God’s presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame, 1 Corinthians 15:33-34.

The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day understood this principle. Thus, when Jesus began to associate with and reach out to sinners, Matthew 9:10-11, they were leary of Jesus’ intentions. Yet, when you are the light of the world, the greater the darkness provided opportunities to expose evil. However, for everyone else who isn’t the son of God, Paul needed to remind first century Christians of a biblical truth in the passage above. Whatever good intentions that you may have, over time bad character will corrupt godly individuals. Therefore, unless you have access to an accountable group to cover you in prayer, it doesn’t take much for evil persuasions to cause a once mighty saint to slip toward the dark side.

by Jay Mankus

The Cost of Christianity

The expression “to stick out” arose sometime during the 16th century. By the middle of the 18th century, a new idiom replaced this older phrase. Subsequently, “to stick out like a sore thumb” was conceived. In the context of Christianity, to stick out means to be the salt of the earth and light of the world, Matthew 5:13-16. However, when you take a stand spiritually, don’t expect a pat on the back or a round of applause.

Amid honor and dishonor; in defaming and evil report and in praise and good report. [We are branded] as deceivers (impostors), and [yet vindicated as] truthful and honest, 2 Corinthians 6:8.

Apparently, Roman persecution of Christians spread to ancient Greece. Based upon what the apostle Paul had experienced and seen, openly expressing and sharing your faith often faced consequences. Believers were confronted, demanded to stop talking about Jesus and if they continued many were arrested, beaten and died as a martyr. This was the cost of being a Christian in the first century.

[We are treated] as unknown and ignored [by the world], and [yet we are] well-known and recognized [by God and His people]; as dying, and yet here we are alive; as chastened by suffering and [yet] not killed; 2 Corinthians 6:9.

Yet, the apostle Paul was prophetic about how future people of faith would suffer. As if reading an account from a modern newspaper, Paul talks about being branded as an imposter, deceiving atheists. If you’re active on social media, then you’ve seen individuals of the faith community vilified as controversial, dangerous and extremists. Nonetheless, if you are sold out for Jesus, 1 Peter 3:15-16, this is the cost of Christianity.

by Jay Mankus

Operation Going Dark

Going dark is military lingo for the sudden termination of communication.  This decision is designed to prevent enemies from detecting chatter or revealing the location of a squad or unit.  While communication appears to have ceased, in reality contact has moved from a public channel to a private communication channel to avoid eavesdropping from opposition forces..

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life,” John 8:12.

While military operations have code names, physical operations focus on a specific part of the human body.  As for me, I will be having cataract surgery on my right eye to improve my vision.  Initially, I will be going dark, forced to stop writing until the healing process enables me.  Starting next Friday, this site may not post a blog every day.  I’m not sure what the future holds, but God willing daily devotions will resume in His time.

The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it], John 1:5.

The third example of going dark is the least pleasant option.  Whether through curiosity, disobedience or rebellion, some people will turn their back on God.  This decision blocks the light of truth, distorting right from wrong.  The longer individuals remain separated from God, going dark becomes a lifestyle not just a term.  May this blog serve as a warning to urge wanderers to turn back toward God’s light.

by Jay Mankus

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