Living in the Shadows or By the Power of the Shadow?

One of the duties of the Secret Service is to protect the President of the United States. To do so they must blend into the surroundings as much as possible. Not being seen enables them to move about undetected for the most part, and watch for any potential threat. It can be said they have done their job well if nothing happens and they are not noticed.

I was watching a sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah and he mentioned “Secret Service Christians.” These are Christians who blend into the culture and seek to not be seen.

Secret Service Christians? Can you be a Christian and hide in the shadows? Isn’t that an oxymoron like a “definite maybe”?

But how often as followers of Christ do we seek to hide in the shadows, to not be noticed or to not take a stand when it will clearly be unpopular with others? How can we be light and live in the dark?

We have all heard or talked about the question: “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” If we are honest, we would all assume that there would be, after all we regularly attend church, we’re good people and on and on.

But consider this: You have been accused of being a follower of Christ, you are on trial and face severe punishment for yourself and your family. You will be judged by a jury of your peers, twelve people just like yourself. It would seem like a slam dunk decision. If found guilty, you are a follower of Christ. But being found a Cultural Christian would get you off the hook. Keep in mind however, if the jury of your peers convicts you, they in turn will be convicting themselves. After all they are just like you. Would they find you guilty or instead would they acquit you? Follower of Christ or a Cultural Christian? Would there be reasonable doubt, or absolute guilt? Reasonable doubt lives in the shadows.

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Or would there be such overwhelming, undeniable evidence the only choice would be guilty? Would there be such a difference that innocence would be out of the question? Guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Would it be clear as night and day, light or shadow? Would you be so guilty, twelve of your peers would be willing to convict themselves? Or would finding you guilty prove you were much different than they are? They live in the shadows but you clearly live in the light. We should live to be guilty every day.

But, there is a shadow by which we can live.

In the book of Acts, Peter is radically changed by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He is no longer the same Peter that denied Christ and worried that John would get something he wouldn’t. This Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and his shadow even had power.

As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 5:15-16 (NIV).

That same Spirit is available to us today. Are we asking God to fill us with His Spirit? Are we willing to step out of the shadows, ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit and allow God to use even our shadows to glorify Him? Sounds nuts, doesn’t it? But I believe it’s possible. Do you?

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 (NIV).

It’s highly unlikely that any of us will be put on trial for being a follower of Christ, but, in a sense, aren’t we on trial every day? Are we not watched by the world and by fellow believers? Unfortunately, there are those that would find satisfaction in our slip ups and failures. We should never find satisfaction when a fellow believer stumbles.

The choice is clear, as clear as light and shadow. Are we living in the shadows, blending in, not wanting to stand out and face any possible persecution? Or are we living in the light, casting a shadow that glorifies Christ?

“There is strong shadow where there is much light.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Step out of the shadows, live in the light and run to the cross!
Hugh

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