I've read through Timothy Keller's The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness twice in the last two weeks: once by myself and once with my wife and both times found myself marveling at its simplicity, daring to believe that it could be that basic. I moved on to Jesus + Nothing = Everything and found a very similar theme. There, Tchividjian shares how learning Gospel Fluency has required re-reading Scripture and having his eyes opened to the reality of grace, of the centrality and day-to-day reality of Christ's sufficiency, of the separation of sin from our identity in Christ.
Just this morning I flipped through the little stack of Navigator flashcards to Matthew 5:16 and read:
In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
All of my life I've read those words and thought, "Yes, I must work harder. Prove my worth. Prove that I love God." Even in light of such clear passages as John 15 where Jesus explicitly states that it is God that produces fruit, there is something in me, perhaps in my Restoration Movement DNA, that cries out, "Rules! Regulations! Boundaries! Systems!"
But reading through this verse this morning, I'm hit with the truth. My light is a reflection of his. No connection between my evil deeds and identity or worth in his eyes. There is a matter-of-factness about Jesus' words. Simply allow God to shine through you so that people will see him and praise him.
Heather and I took an incident from earlier that morning and applied what we were listening to and found that we really don't have anything to hook this kind of thinking to. It really hit us that these are things every believer should know. We can't send our kids off into the world without knowing and applying these truths! Heather asked, why doesn't the Church teach this - it's so simple. So practical.