“[Do] nothing from partiality. Do not take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” “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.” 1 Timothy 5:21-22,24-25; Matthew 5:16
“Conspicuity: easily seen or noticed; readily visible or observable; attracting special attention, as by outstanding qualities or eccentricities; the property of being clearly discernible; the state or quality of being clear or bright; brightness.”
Last evening I said something with an attitude and tone of voice I immediately wished I could retract. My defensiveness and sarcasm were conspicuous, and my spirit was stricken. (Thank You, Lord) I thought about what triggered me reaction, and recognized that just as I am bothered by the media’s seemingly uncanny ability to drive opinion and ‘hot talk,’ constantly teasing with tidbits of controversy, inflammatory behavior, any morsel that will keep people stirred up and talking and watching or listening, I had fallen into the same proclivity to jump in the ring and respond in kind. Is this what I want to stand out about me? What does God want? Certainly not this behavior, which becomes our second nature unless it is checked and bridled by a higher Master.
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; lead me in your truth and teach me. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 25:1-2,4-5,9-10
Paul alerts Timothy to the choice we have in our conspicuity; we will be known either for our sins, behavior that dishonors our Lord, or for good works, actions and words that not only honor Him but point others to Him. Every decision will steer us one way or the other. He has charged us to do good works that reflect His character and light in the world, and has prepared them beforehand for us to do, so it is vital we stay in tune with our Leader to know the good way and draw His strength to choose it. Seems simple, but in our culture of touchy contention and polarizing opinions and assertion of our ‘rights,’ and where many make themselves conspicuous through social media, crafting their identity through images and experiences. the flesh can win out if we are not vigilant to guard against it. How do I define myself? (Philippians 2:10,13)
Lord, You were always conspicuous in Your love, mercy, undivided attention to others, kindness, and manifestations of Your power– yet the attention You drew was always to the gospel message of salvation and to the glory of Your Father. May the way I live and serve draw attention to You also, that others know the true God and eternal life through You. (John 17:3-4,6,17)