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The release of Tim Hiller’s new book Strive is coming October 1! To get ready for the Strive release, we’re introducing “The Strive Challenge” – 6 weeks with 1 purpose – to help readers pursue what matters most in their lives. Join in at: https://www.timhiller.com/the-strive-challenge/

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Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:15-16

It was one of those typical nights of early parenthood. Our precious son was being a little fussy and my wife and I were exhausted. By the time we had a moment to think about eating dinner, it was already 8:00PM. We figured we’d quickly make a salad to share, but when we opened the fridge, we realized we only had orange juice and milk!

I headed out into the dusk of the late evening and pulled the car into the grocery store just as the lights in the parking lot turned on. I entered the automatic doors, grabbed a small cart, and started grabbing the ingredients to whip up our salad—lettuce, a tomato, an onion, a pepper, and carrots. As I turned the corner with my cart, my attention was grabbed by my sweet tooth.

The frozen food aisle. There is a reason you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.

After a quick stroll along the series of glass freezer doors, filled with all kind of dessert delights, I found myself perusing the cookie and candy selection with a quart of vanilla ice cream in my cart. I mean, how can you eat vanilla ice cream without some toppings?

Alas, the damage was done. We were having salad. And dessert.

As I entered the checkout line, I waited my turn behind three other customers. The line shortened and I loaded my goods onto the conveyor belt. Approaching the cashier, I could see she was smiling at me as she began to ring up my order.

“You know,” she said with a smile. “The vegetables cancel out the ice cream sundae.”

From the perspective of an onlooker in either aisle, my cart was an array of healthy and, well, not so much.

HEALTHY                    NOT SO MUCH
Lettuce                           Ice Cream
Tomato                          Oreos
Onion                             M & M’s
Pepper                           Chocolate syrup

From the outside looking in, my order was confusing. Was I a health conscious person? Counting calories? Or a binge sweets eater? Unconcerned about what I consume?

The passive onlooker would be unable to tell. From looking at my grocery cart, no one could see what I believe. External actions are evidence of internal convictions. And my actions sent a cloudy picture of my dietary beliefs to those around me.

During the greatest sermon of all time—Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount—our Lord and Savior emphasized the importance of our external actions and the lasting impact they can make on the lives of others. Our operation on a daily basis, leads to observation by others and an outcome that can make an eternal difference.

Operation: “…let your light shine before others…”

When boats sail into harbor in the dark hours of night, it is the lighthouse that they are drawn to—giving them guidance, direction, and a sense of hope that the destination is in sight. So too, when our world seems like a dark place, how we operate matters. It is the “light” of our words and actions that can “shine” as a ray of hope and encouragement into the lives of others.

Observation: “…that they may see your good deeds…”

Jesus’ goal here is not for us to gain notoriety but rather to be on notice. Others are observing us. They are watching what we do. They are listening to what we say. Therefore our daily operation through word and deed can either draw others to us and to the God we serve, or it can drive them away.

Outcome: “…and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Observation of our operation should lead to a wonderful outcome—God being glorified, not us. If we identify with Jesus as our Savior, then it as if we are wearing his team colors each day as we live our lives with one goal—to bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Our external actions give us the opportunity to share our internal beliefs with others, and when we do, lives are changed and God gets the glory. Every day is a chance to shine for Him—may we take on the challenge of being his light in the world!

CLICK HERE to download and complete today’s Strive Challenge Tracker!

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The Strive Challenge™ by Tim Hiller