The fourth of July holiday has passed leaving behind charred driveways and fridges full of leftovers. The red, white, and blue will soon fade as we scramble to squeeze in all we hope to accomplish this summer. Though the bright lights and loud booms of fireworks have ended, my heart is still focused on those fireworks. And faith.
There are all kinds of fireworks: the big show, light-up-the-sky kind; the loud, obnoxious firecrackers that make me jump even when I know it’s coming; the beautiful fountains of color and light; or (my favorite) sparklers. Walk through a fireworks stand and you’ll soon discover more possibilities than you ever imagined.
Like fireworks, faith can be experienced in a variety of ways.
Some of you have light-up-the-night kind of faith. Love for your Lord shines from your soul. You love telling others about Jesus and the sacrifice and salvation of the cross. Your faith has carried you through the most difficult times; it is where you find strength. You’re not afraid to bring God into conversations with strangers. You rarely end a day without quoting scripture or singing His praises.
You, my friend, have a beautiful faith. A faith you share with anyone around because you so desperately want them to experience Jesus, too. A faith you live and proclaim boldly.
That’s not me, you’re thinking. I could never talk about my faith beyond those I’m comfortable with. I would have no idea what to say and the words would likely come out all jumbled up.
Maybe you have the sparkler kind of faith. You aren’t ashamed of God, but shouting your testimony from the rooftops isn’t quite your thing. Instead, you discuss your faith with your family, close friends, or your small group. You shine brightly for the Lord even though you can’t be seen from miles away. Those around you every day watch your faith. Your actions and the way you treat others speak loudly even when words fail you.
You, my friend, have a beautiful faith. A faith that grows in the quiet moments between you and your Savior. Your passion and love for the Lord sparkles, lighting your life with a soft glow from peace that only God gives. Your sparks may not reach the masses, but they bring light to those nearest to you who experience the love of God because they experience life with you.
Still not me, you say. I believe in God, but I’m not really sure about this whole personal relationship thing. I’m content to watch others experience faith in a personal way. I’ll just hang out on the sidelines, drop in at church, and do my best to be good. If this gets personal, God might ask me to do something I’m not ready for.
Okay, I see now. You’re a punk. Not the kind that plays pranks and causes trouble, the kind that smolders after being lit. The kind that needs someone to touch a fuse to it in order to spark. You’ve been lit by your belief in God, but you sit smoldering, waiting to experience it yourself. You watch other people practice their faith, live it out in bright, sparkly ways while you just continue to smolder, unsure if you really want to live a life of faith that other people see. Maybe you’re afraid if your faith ignites, you will be exposed. You’d rather hide in darkness. Maybe you’re hesitant to light the fuse because it will require you to burn through old habits and fight sin. Maybe you’d rather smolder because you’re not sure how to find the spark that leads to a personal connection with God.
You, my friend, have a beautiful faith. When you reach for the fuse, you have a faith that will light a spark, changing everything. A faith, not yet glowing with fire for the Lord, but one with potential. A faith that will turn into the most beautiful light if only you reach out. It’s simple really: bow your head, close your eyes, and open your heart. Understand that if you continue to smolder, eventually, your fire will extinguish, but with Jesus you will burn brightly into eternity. Admit you are a sinner who needs a savior. Believe that Jesus Christ suffered and died for YOU. That He was raised from the dead to offer salvation to YOU. Confess your faith in Jesus as your Lord to others. Share with someone that you are no longer smoldering in indecision, but that you have made a decision to invite the light of Jesus into your heart.
Friends, no matter what kind of faith you have, give yourselves fully to Christ and shine for Him. And when you look around, don’t compare the soft light of your sparkler to the loud boom and bright lights of the sister in Christ beside you. Live your kind of faith. And if you see someone smoldering, reach out and offer a fuse so that she, too, can experience the light of Jesus.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16