Walking Portraits

30 Day Challenge, Day 6

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
 14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither 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. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven. 

Did you know that in the 1830’s Congress, in order to re-capture the Christian history of America from historical records, commissioned four massive religious portraits, measuring 12 feet by 18 feet, to be displayed in the rotunda of the Capitol building?  The first portrait is the prayer service at the American landing of Christopher Columbus; the second is the baptism service of Pocahontas; the third is a prayer and Bible study of the pilgrims' embarkation; and the fourth is the discovery of the Mississippi River, where a priest is praying while workers install a cross to commemorate the day. Sitting in the midst of a Government that is attempting to secularize itself is this great memorial of our Nation's Christian roots.

However, those portraits are more than just reminders of our Christian history. They’re the evidence of God’s light shining in the midst of our lives. They illuminate the very presence of God in everything we do, reflecting the power and victory we receive as followers of Jesus. As we remember that those in the portraits were once alive and walking on American soil, the portraits show us that we are walking portraits of God’s love too. But have you ever thought of yourself that way? As a Christian, you are a walking portrait for others to see God's great love for humanity. As you love others and treat them as you like to be treated, you're displaying God's grace.  You're giving others an opportunity to look into the heart of God and receive His love through you.  Don't ever diminish your value!  You are precious in God's sight, so much so that He gave His Son to take your place so that you can walk in victory.  The more we realize this, the more we see ourselves as God sees us, and the more people will see Him through us. Just like an artist studies it’s subject as it paints, we have to study God’s love if we want to truly depict it to others.

Action steps

  1. Read - Re-read Matthew 5:14-16.
  2. Think - How do you see yourself -- as a city on a hill, all lit up, or as a lamp hidden under a bowl?
  3. Write - What would it mean for you to be as a city on a hill? Is it time to get rid of thoughts that prevent you from seeing yourself this way? God sees you as a special city, a city with several resources. What resources do you have to give today? Is it a phone call to an old friend? Is it a smile of encouragement to a stranger? Is there someone you know in need of help that you can give? Write about these things.
  4. Pray - Ask God to help you recognize your own value and the value of others, and to help you demonstrate that love.
  5. Take away - Pick an action of love you can show someone else today. Step out in those things you wrote about today. Let's be the walking portraits of God’s love for others and watch the world around us light up. 
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our CREATOR, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.
— Virginia Bill of Rights, Article 16, June 12, 1776