Faith Filters

Filters serve all kinds of purposes in our world. A filter makes sure air particles are clean when cool air blows through our homes. It makes sure coffee grounds don’t end up in our morning (or afternoon) cup of brew. Colored film over lights on a stage filters the light into different colors or even softens the light that is shining. Children (and some adults) have zero filters when it comes to voicing their opinions about last night’s dinner. Social media filters can alter a person’s appearance, for good or bad.

Sometimes filters aren’t such a good thing. During the pandemic, masks filtered voices and made it much more difficult to communicate. Filters can cause you to not see as clearly, like when pouring rain or fog acts as a filter in your line of vision on the road.

I’ve been thinking a bit about pieces of me that filter my faith when others see me, read my words, or hear me speak. In Matthew 5, Jesus gives a sermon to a crowd, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 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.” A basket isn’t going to completely shut out my light. Baskets have holes and would act as a filter for the light, but the light would be dim and wouldn’t serve a purpose for God. I want everyone to see my light, which is God and all he has done in my life. That is what believers are called to do. But sometimes, I find that in my desire to shine my light, I am actually filtering it.

Sometimes I place a basket over my light that looks like fear. People can’t see me giving my worries to God through my fear. Other times, the filter looks like pride. Others can’t see me trusting God when I am too busy relying on myself and depleting my energy.

Lately, I have found that people can’t see the love of God through my critical spirit. Negative comments about others or to others, even those I disagree with or don’t really like very much, place a filter over my faith. It dims my light and makes it less visible to the world around me.

I know I am not alone. I see the critical spirit all around me, especially…at church and with fellow believers. In a place where we need to be image bearers and gleaming beacons, we throw on baskets that filter our flames so that a city on a hill becomes just as dark as the areas around it. There are no lights of love and hope attracting others to God’s brilliance.

I love church. I love the body of Christ. Just like in any collective body, there are those who shine brighter than others. What would it be like, if we all removed our light filters and became blinding lights for Christ…like the light that actually blinded Paul on the Damascus Road in Acts 9? It was that unfiltered light that turned Paul’s heart. Its Ananias’ unfiltered light that prayed over him, calling him brother, and baptizing him. Ananias didn’t yell at Paul, he didn’t tell him he was wrong, he didn’t tell him he was possessed by a demon. God told Ananias, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” Ananias didn’t want to, but he chose to obey God and shine his unfiltered light.

Paul was called by God. The adult or child in front of you that you are speaking harshly to is also called by God, but if your light under a basket doesn’t draw him to Christ, why would he want to step foot in church or your home again?

This morning, during prayer at my church, I prayed and confessed my critical spirit. A few minutes later, a church leader prayed the same thing over the entire room. Clearly, it was something I needed to bring before God.

Ask God to help you remove any filters that may be dampening your light for him. Move into a relationship with others who shine brightly. Knowing scripture doesn’t mean you shine bright. Praying loudly doesn’t mean you shine bright. Singing and listening to worship music doesn’t mean you shine bright. Leading Bible study doesn’t mean you shine bright. Living an unfiltered faith means God’s light radiates through your words and your actions, drawing others to you and to Him.

What filters do you need to ask God to remove today? What words and actions would communicate His love to those around you?

Published by Leah Lively

Born and raised in Virginia, Leah’s faith journey began in a loving family and a small church in a small town. As writer, blogger, and an aspiring speaker, Leah also enjoys reading, watching movies, and creating memories with her family. Leah is motivated by 2 Corinthians 13:11 where Paul encourages the church in Corinth to “become mature and be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” She wants believers to grow in their faith and discover a hunger for God’s word. Leah’s genuine and authentic style of presenting the gospel lays a foundation for readers to learn more of God’s Truths. Through the challenges of life, Leah's greatest desire is to let you know you are not alone and there is a God who walks with you through the wilderness.

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