I’ve come across some incredibly beautiful lighthouses on the internet, many of which I hope to personally visit someday. Today I figured I would search for some strange and unusual looking ones and I actually came across quite a few. This one, The Alprech Lighthouse in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, truly caught my attention. Can you guess why? It looks like the designer got it all wrong. The spiral staircase should have been inside the tower, not outside! So, does this automatically disqualify it from being a lighthouse? Since, by definition, a lighthouse is a structure containing a beacon light to warn or guide ships at sea, the answer is no. Even if this lighthouse doesn’t fit the mold of what we think a lighthouse should look like, it is by definition and function a legitimate lighthouse.
Have you or someone you know ever been criticized for not fitting the Christian mold? Hopefully, you haven’t been the one doing the criticizing! And by not fitting the mold I mean not dressing, doing church (worshiping, praying, witnessing), or acting the way they think a Christian should.
Since, by definition, a Christian is a person who believes in Jesus and follows his teachings, then a true Christian is one who strives to conform to the image of Christ and not to people’s opinions. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, believe that He is the only way to eternal life, live in obedience to His Word, and are sharing the Good News of his salvation in words and deeds, then you are a Christian even if others think you are not. Now granted, the Bible is clear in that a tree is known for its fruit and that trees that bear bad fruit are to be cut off. But a careful exegesis of this passage reveals that it refers to trees that consistently bear nothing but bad fruit or don’t bear any fruit at all. Just because an apple tree bears a couple of bad apples doesn’t stop it from being an apple tree nor do you automatically go and chop it down. Every Christian is like a tree that needs to be pruned occasionally. And yes, we are called to judge (admonish) one another when we veer off track (bear bad fruit) or become complacent (bear no fruit), but it must be done in love, with respect, and with the purpose of bringing us back into a right relationship with God.
The Alprech Lighthouse may not fit the mold of most typical lighthouses, but the fact that it was designed and built to be a beacon makes it a true lighthouse nonetheless. You may not fit the mold of a typical Christian (whatever that is) especially when compared to others who may appear to be more pious, but if you follow Jesus and His light shines through you then you are a Christian.
However, right now you may find yourself in the dark as a result of sin, a trial, or a state of depression/discouragement. In other words, you may have some bad fruits on your tree. If you do, don’t allow the voice of guilt or religiosity to condemn you. Just cry out to Jesus and cast all your burdens upon Him. Read His Word and declare who you are (in Him) in spite of your circumstance. [Read and print THIS]. Confess any sin you may have allowed to dim His light within you and receive the forgiveness of your heavenly Father. Remember, you were saved to shine His light not to fit a mold!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you because I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by You. In spite of my weaknesses and shortcomings, I am a new creation and I rest in the assurance that I am your child by faith in Jesus Christ. Remove anything that may keep your light from shining in and through me. Help me to walk in your righteousness and let my heart stay true to you. May I continue to conform more and more to you and you alone. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
People: “He doesn’t act like a Christian!”
Jesus: “I am not looking for actors.“
“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”” -1 Samuel 16:7
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’“ -John 14:23
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” -1 Corinthians 5:12
“Brothers and sisters, if a person gets trapped by wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should help that person turn away from doing wrong. Do it in a gentle way. At the same time watch yourself so that you also are not tempted.” -Galatians 6:1 (GWT)
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:8-9
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV except where specified.