My son has a T-shirt with these words boldly emblazoned in white against a black background across the chest. Now, if you knew my son, you might just be tempted to read that slogan, and simply think it was speaking of him. You would most likely also be tempted to agree. I, of course, being his mother, say this in all love. I am very proud of my son, even if he is somewhat eccentric at times. He has never really been one that goes with the flow, not easily swayed by otherís opinions. That is a good thing.
Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by it. To go against the flow. However, I am digressing from the main point of his shirt.
The words Strange, Very Strange, written largely in white, are followed by this verse from 1 Peter 2:9.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
What this T-shirt and what this verse symbolizes is that we are a royal priesthood, we are His own special people. We are set aside from the world for one reason, and that is so that we may constantly proclaim the goodness of the One who called us out of darkness. We should always walk in light, and reflect His light.
*God wants a people who will walk with Him in prayer, march with Him in praise, and thank and worship Him. Note the progression in Peterís description of the people of the New Covenant: 1) We are a chosen generationóa people begun with Jesusí choice of the Twelve, who became 120, to whom were added thousands at Pentecost. We are a part of this continually expanding generation, "chosen" when we receive Christ. 2) We are a royal priesthood. Under the Old Covenant the priesthood and royalty were separated. We are nowóin the Person of our Lordóall "kings and priests to His God" (Rev. 1:6), a worshiping host and a kingly band, prepared for walking with Him in the light or warring beside Him against the hosts of darkness. 3) We are a holy nation, composed of Jews and gentilesóof one blood, from every nation under heaven. 4) We are His own special people. Godís intention from the time of Abraham has been to call forth a people with a special missionóto proclaim His praise and to propagate His blessing throughout the Earth. (Hebrew 13:10-15/Genesis 29:35)
Jonís shirt is called a witness T-shirt. Itís one way of getting the Word out, and itís a way of letting other people know that you are a servant of Christ. Many Christians wear these shirts to show they are indeed not ashamed of the One that they follow, nor ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
However, what I want us to stop and ask ourselves is this. We are a chosen generation, His own special people, yet if we are not wearing a T-shirt to proclaim this, does the world know?
Do your neighbors, the people you work with, people you meet on the street, the cashier at the local grocery store, your mechanic, the guys on the bowling team or the girls at the beauty parlor, can these people look at you, and see Christ reflected?
Recently we had Team Impact in our church ministering to the surrounding area. Now if you donít know who Team Impact is, let me briefly explain their mission. They are a group of strong men, power lifters, ex-football players, etc., etc., that have given their lives to Christ and have a unique ministry. They draw people (especially young people) in with feats of their strength, bending iron bars, straightening out horseshoes, breaking stacks of concrete blocks, etc., and then they share their testimony and Christís love.
They have a tremendous impact on young people. They concentrate on school rallies, and events where they will be able to reach youth for Christ. Now of course, they are not allowed to speak openly of Christ in school events, but the anointing is so strong upon them, that kids are drawn to them afterwards, and then is when the miracle takes place. These guys are living in such a way that you see Christ. One of the men preached on Sunday morning, and this is what he said. "If your unbelieving friends and family, co-workers and neighbors are not uncomfortable around you, then you need to take a look at your Christian walk." "If you are living in such a way that they are not convicted, then there is a problem."
This is something that I really studied about, for it is the absolute truth. If our friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc., still feel free to curse, drink, or live ungodly right in front of us, then we definitely are not accurately reflecting Christ in our lives. I have heard again and again lately how we are supposed to be tolerant of others, as Christians. However,if you tolerate everything that goes on around you, and do not take a stand, pretty soon you are going to run the risk of being conformed by what you are tolerating.
The world and Christians should have a clear division. We are not to think as the world thinks, we are not to act as the world acts, and we are not to live as the world lives. True, Christ ate with sinners. But to what purpose did he do that? To tell them the Truth. And if the truth was not received, then he walked on.
There can be difficulties that arise from this at times. Many times you will be reviled for your walk, and you will be questioned and sometimes persecuted as well, at otherís hands. However, we should always remember not to revile in return, but to suffer as Christ suffered, leaving us an example.
We are a royal priesthood. We are chosen. Will others know it if you are not wearing your robe and crown? Can you be seen as a member of the Kingly band without outward apparel reflecting it? Without your crucifix necklace or your WWJD bracelet, or your Witness T-shirt, are you still identifiable as one of Godís own special people?
The light comes from within.
"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." Matt. 5: 14-16
* taken from Kingdom Dynamics notes in the NKJV Spirit Filled Life Study Bible.
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Well written, and well said, Mary. I'm glad your son wears the shirt. Yes, we should be a light for Christ. However, I feel it should never be a substitute for gospel proclamation. It is the content of the gospel that saves, and our light should be a prelude to that.