Light is essential for Life.
Without the light and energy of the sun, the water cycle and photosynthesis processes would be halted – eliminating the oxygen we need to survive and the ability of plants to provide food. Without the Vitamin D provided by sunlight, our immune systems would be compromised, our bones and muscles would not function well, and our emotional well-being would suffer. Without a light source, we can’t find our way safely through the dark.
Jesus made a similar connection for our spiritual needs. In John 8:12, He said of Himself,
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
I love the way The Message states this,
I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.
Sin (the wrong things we think, say, and do) separates us from the Light and Life God desires for us (Romans 3:23). In essence, we stumble through the darkness. But we don’t have to live this way. Christ’s death on the cross (and subsequent resurrection from the grave) satisfied our holy God’s requirement for the punishment of sin. When we accept this, as a free gift from God, we enter into a new relationship with Him (Romans 6:23). Christ takes up residence inside of us – our lives become His home (John 14:23).
We then get to broadcast His Light to our world. Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
But is our spiritual light dimming?
It seems to me, that whenever we (as Christians) discover something in opposition to our beliefs, our first response is a bold attack. Absolutely we must speak the Truth. But we must also “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) – this being evidence that we are “growing up”, or maturing in Christ. We certainly need the support of fellow believers when we take a stand for Truth. It can be a very lonely place. Often, however, I see us retreating into a “holy huddle” and removing our “salt and light” influence from a world that desperately needs it.
For example, I met a gal who works at a local business I frequent. One day she and her friend showed up at my front door wanting to talk with me about their faith. (Clearly, she and I are on opposite sides of the table regarding who Jesus Christ is – i.e. He is the resurrected, living Son of God – fully God, fully man – all at the same time. I know! It’s a miracle!!) God showed me a new person in my circle of influence who needed Christ. Since then I’ve learned that, like myself, she is a plant lover. So we started a “plant exchange”. And where does this occur? At this local business. It’s a simple thing right now. We’re building a relationship where I have the opportunity to be “light” in her world.
Turns out, the parent company has taken a stand on an issue that is in direct conflict with biblical teaching. I could choose not to support that business anymore; but, not only would I “punish” a franchise owner for something which he or she did not agree with, I would also lose the opportunity to build a relationship with an unsaved person who, clearly, God has brought into my life. I may not be “the one” who leads her to salvation in Christ, but I can plant seeds 😉 and water them. What message do I send her if I walk away from that opportunity?
When the Pharisees questioned why Jesus was eating dinner with “sinners,” His reply was, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Then He told them, “go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:9-13, emphasis mine). Yes, our sinful world needs to hear the Truth. The dying sinner, however, stumbling through the darkness, needs the Light, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.
If we hide our light under a bowl, who will see it? In fact, the lack of oxygen will cause the light to be snuffed out. The Light of Jesus shining in our lives is essential for unbelievers to see God’s glory and experience Life in Him. When we balance Truth with Love, we can be named among those who “…will shine among them like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).
Don’t hide your light! Let it shine! Brightly!!