By James Washington (The Dallas Weekly, NNPA Member)

Scripture says you should live your life in such a way that those around you can see the Jesus in you. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. I know that sounds good. But what does it really mean? The only explanation that works for me is the one that talks about service, i.e. doing something in the name of the Lord. I still believe faith is a verb.

We all know no one can live a perfect life. But it shouldn’t take a district attorney’s cross-examination to figure out where a person is coming from. The man who professes to love Jesus shouldn’t be okay with cheating on his wife, be content with a life of crime, or rationalize illicit sex, drugs and satanic rock and roll. If so, then the Lord cannot be your leader, nor Christ your example. We’ve all done it to some degree, but at some point in your supposed walk with God, your behavior, your obedience, your principles and integrity must shine through. Perfection may be impossible, but serious effort is not only possible, it’s mandatory. You’ve got to give it your best shot each and every day. You can and will fall short, but it shouldn’t be for lack of effort. I forget who said, if you try you might fail. But if you don’t try, you’re guaranteed to fail. Please note that God requires effort.

Allow me to testify about what I know to be true. My Bible says the closer we come to Jesus, the more we experience the blessings of God. And why wouldn’t we? After all, those are Jesus’ footprints in the snow. The path to righteousness is clear. The goal is simple. Be in right relationship with God. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all things will be given you as well.” Matthew 6:33. This ‘seeking’ to me has always meant working in some capacity. Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.” John 9:4. Now none of us has Jesus’ pedigree, but I am not opposed to working for what I want. I’ve done it all my life. You probably have too. So the important question is how hard are you willing to work knowing that your very soul is at stake? Just what are you willing to do to let the world know who you are and whose you are?

The good news of the gospel makes it clear that this is easy, if not ridiculously easy. Love God and love your neighbor. In this context love is a verb. Do enough so that the Jesus in you meets the Jesus in me. Do something, anything, that another person can’t mistake for anything else but kindness from above. For me, I’m asking God to walk with me in an effort to witness (see this column). I don’t exactly have it down yet. I’m finding that it’s not something you can study. I do know it’s triggered by the recognition that somebody needs to hear, in my case read, a word from God. You should know that at that particular moment, God has chosen you to deliver His Word. So open your mouth and speak. This work that I am trying to focus on is recognizing that I must let go and let God use me to uplift another human being. For those of you who are used to this, you know this is a very humbling experience. But, “…If a man will not work, he shall not eat…And as for you brothers, never tire of doing what is right…” Thessalonians 3:10-13. In the vernacular of the day, get up. It’s time to get busy. May God bless and keep you forever.

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