When the world looks at your face, what do they see? How about when a stranger passes you on the street? Is the love of God reflected in your face? Do you meet people’s gaze as you pass, sharing a smile, or do you avert your eyes—preferring to not engage?
Many Christians today walk around with an expressionless, downcast face, as if their cat has just died or their shoes are too tight—even at church! They look as if they carry the entire weight of the world on their shoulders. Or maybe they cast a haughty, judging look of disapproval to new people at church who don’t seem to fit the mold of a polished church-goer. If God accepts people with open arms and unconditional love (and HE does!), then we should, too. We are not all bubbly, exuberant extroverts, for sure, but we all have a smile to share with a fellow human being.
How are we to attract the unsaved world to the life-giving gospel of Christ if we constantly look sad, angry or worse—arrogant and unapproachable? People will more likely turn and walk the other way than inquire about the life we have in Christ.
As believers, we have the unmatched joy of having a personal relationship with the God of the universe. We have hope and help in difficult and desperate situations. We have peace amid the cultural chaos because we know the end of the story. We have fellowship with the family of God—our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have the everlasting love of God and His forgiveness when we mess up. We have eternal life in heaven because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. What is it about these truths that could possibly make us gloomy and downcast?
The love and light of Jesus should be evident in our lives. It should show on our faces just like it did with Moses and with Stephen.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, after speaking with God and receiving the Ten Commandments, his face shone like the sun. It was so startling that the Israelites who saw him were afraid. This continued to happen each time he met with the Lord in the tent of the tabernacle, causing him to have to wear a veil over his face when he was in front of the people. He would remove it only when he would go in to speak with God. It seemed the glory of the Lord was reflected in his face. (Exodus 34:30-35)
Then there was Stephen, who was chosen to serve widows and proclaim the gospel in the early church. He was “full of faith and power” and did “signs and wonders” in the name of Jesus. As he spoke before the council when accused of blasphemy, the Bible says his face was shining like that of an angel. Angels are often described as brilliant, glowing creatures with faces like lightening or fire, or with clothing as white as snow. (Acts 6:15)
It was God Himself who dramatically changed Moses’s appearance as a sign that he spoke with the power of God. The same with Stephen. Their encounter with the God of the universe showed on their faces.
“Well”, you say, “they actually encountered God! We can’t encounter Him like that today”.
Hey, not so fast…
When we read the Bible and meditate on its words and precepts—we encounter God.
When we go to our knees in prayer—petitioning, pleading and praising—we encounter God.
When we experience the beauty of nature, the miracle of birth, the unity of corporate worship and the excitement of revival—we encounter God.
The joy of the Lord is something that comes from inside—from a heart inhabited by the Holy Spirit. All believers have the capacity for a joy-filled, hopeful, approachable countenance that will draw others to Christ. Unfortunately, we often let worldly cares weigh us down. We forget to count our blessings—to live with gratitude. And we forget that all people are precious and valuable to God and deserve our kindness, love and attention.
This week as you walk around your community or down the halls of your church, remember that the Holy Spirit resides in you, therefore, let your light shine so that others may see the joy, peace and hope of Jesus Christ in your radiant face.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16