Being A North Star
Those who are [spiritually] wise will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead many to righteousness, [will shine] like the stars forever and ever.
For centuries, mariners used the North Star to determine their course on the seas. Whenever they got lost,they could make course corrections based on that fixed point in the sky, and in clear weather conditions, it kept them on the right track night after night.
Wise people serve as signposts in the same way. Rigorous faith in a good, powerful, all-knowing God makes them excellent examples to others in their families, at work, at church, and in their neighborhoods. Like a well-lit path or the unmistakable sentinel in the night sky, those whose lives are characterized by steadfast faith show others the way to live.
We don’t become signposts and stars in flash. We gain wisdom from the powerful combination of studying God’s Word, being sensitive to God’s Spirit, and spending time with people who are truly wise. These efforts require an investment of time, energy, and emotion. Is it worth it? For a while it may not seem so. The early stages of spiritual discovery often bring more questions than answers, but if we are persistent, the pieces begin to come together.
Are you willing to pay the price to become a signpost and a star to guide others around you?
To see His Star is good, but to see His face is better.
Everybody is leading others in some direction by their way of living. Each of us have the ability to influence those around us to some degree. We can observe, for instance, how children influence each other, how fads and lifestyles are the norm for society. Think of how we dress. Some of us can remember how bell-bottoms became the fashion and then khakis and skinny jean followed. How did these things occur? Largely because of the influence of others.
Since this is such a powerful thing- the ability to influence others- ought we not apply it to Christianity? The truth is that we exert more influence than most of us are aware. Parents have incredible influence in the formative years of their children. If they use that influence to draw them to Christ, many of them become and remain Christian through their adult years. Oh to be sure they may stray but Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Our influence is more in action than in words. No matter what we say, what we do has greater influence. Our children take note about our priorities and life choices. They observe and mimic our ways. This ability of influence ought to cause us to pause and consider what we are doing and how it will affect those who are observing us.
I’ve noticed that our conduct as adults when we interact with other adults can be a powerful influence. When we are in a stressful situation and we exhibit calm peace, it can fill the room but if we react with fear or anger it will also fill the room. If you’ve ever observed a mob you can see this power of influence. People will let themselves be persuaded to engage in conduct that were they to take a moment and process, they probably wouldn’t go along.
Jesus calls us to be influencers, not to become the influenced. There is a constant war within us and around us as to which way will we live. Many of us feel the powerful influence of the world. We feel compelled to embrace the culture and live up to the expectations of society. Careers, possessions, and hobbies rule our lives, quite often at the expense of our relationship with Christ and our families. Like the crowd in the story of the emperor with no clothes, we feel compelled to go along lest we lose friends and social status. Oh that God would give us the insight and boldness of the little child who said, “But he has no clothes.” Unfortunately for many Christians, church has become the less important option. It gets replaced with other activities and if there is nothing else taking our time then we will give it to God. I observed during the Covid lockdown that church attendance increased until things begin to open up and now it has decreased again to numbers even lower than before. Why? I think it’s because we have been influenced rather than being the influencers.
Our text today says that the wise shall shine like the stars. We recall the star the wisemen followed to find Christ. Are we that kind of star? Paul, the apostle, boldly proclaimed, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.” Can you say that? Do those who know you see you following Christ in such a way that they want to follow Him too? Is your faith such a part of your life that it affects everything you do or say?
The idea that we can compartmentalize our lives is a myth. Who we are and what we value affects every part of our lives. It’s impossible to be a Christian at church and not be one at work. It’s impossible to live godly around other Christians and to live ungodly around non-Christians. Jesus was clear in His call that we either are hot or cold for He is sickened by lukewarmness.
What the world needs- and the church too- are those whose lights are so bright that they are as visible as the stars. It needs those who have stepped across the line, made the decision, and understood the power of influence. To be sure the influence of the world is strong. Darkness has power. It doesn’t have the power of light, however. A small amount of light can dispel large amounts of darkness. Want your world to change? Be a star, let your light shine, influence those around you by living the Christ-life in their presence. Let your family observe how you make your relationship with God your priority. Let them observe that your walk with God and your work for God comes before everything else. Let them notice that you consult with God before you consult anyone else. Let them see that you live in a different way and you value different things than those valued by the world. It is certainly easier to be influenced than it is to be an influencer but it’s worth the effort for you and those God has placed in your life.
Dr. John Thompson