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Text: Matthew 5.13-16

Because Samuel began his ministry in a dark season of Israel’s history (1 Samuel 2-3), he could’ve just blended in: follow the crowd, blame his surroundings, and worship just like everyone else. But he didn’t! Samuel decided to stand out. In the same way, we can point to a host of cultural pitfalls that might cause us to blend in–but we shouldn’t. In fact, God desires for us to shine bright in the darkest environments.

Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, declares his disciples are “the light of the world, a city set on a hill” (Matthew 5.14). As transformed followers of Jesus, we actually become beacons of truth and hope to a searching world. As Pastor Manion put it, we can either “blend in or stand out.”

In places of constant bickering, we can offer a kind word. In places of deceit, we can offer truth wrapped in love. In places of immorality, we can offer a life lived with integrity and purity as unto the Lord. Though you may not see the results immediately, God is using you as a beacon to draw others to himself.

Today, consider again the environments that offer you the greatest opportunity to stand out. Then, take out a piece of paper and list the individuals you know who present significant challenges in those places. Finally, ask God to give you a soft heart towards these people as you demonstrate kindness, truth, and integrity.