When everything is dark and hopeless, I want to be a light. I don’t want to be a light that shines only when it’s convenient or when I see other lights around me. I don’t want to be a light only on the sidelines or in broad daylight. No, I want to be a light in the hard places. I want to be a light in the trenches and shine my light to people and situations that are depleted and empty. I want to shine my light is spaces where only darkness is known. When every other ounce of light has been swallowed up, I want to be the last speck of light poking through. I want to be a light when it’s not popular, when it makes no sense, and when every other light has blown out.
Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going.As you have the light, believe in the light.Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.”-John 12:35-36 (MSG)
~Then the light will be within you and shining through your lives~
I want that light within me. I want that light shining through my life, spilling out onto others, and spilling out onto the broken world. We don’t have to argue about the fact that we are living in broken times. In fact, we shouldn’t even be shocked at the hate and hopelessness we witness daily. Things will never be perfect on this earth. There will always be tragedy and there will always be darkness. Jesus did not come to earth to bring light to a world that was already was filled with light. He came to bring light to world quite literally contaminated with darkness. After leaving earth, He appointed us to continue the cycle of spreading truth and light to every dark corner of the world. In our own strength, We can’t fix everything in our lifetime. We are unable to stop all of the senseless crime or the unmerited hate. Instead, though, we can focus on what we can do through Christ. Through Him we can spread love, truth, and light exactly where He has placed us. We can stop pointing our finger at society and asking it to change. Instead, what if we were the change?
“We have missed our calling. We need to understand that even if we devoured every single moral issue on our plates, the people of this world would still be seeking meaning and purpose for their lives…..We can attempt legislation of morals until the end of time. But change comes from the inside (heart) out, rarely from the outside (rules) in.”-Page 129, When Bad Christians Happen To Good People by Dave Burchett
I often wonder why we get so caught up expecting broken people to adhere to a set of rules. Change happens in the heart. Change happens when light enters. Rules cannot transform a person’s heart, but love and light can. God has given us certain loving guidelines to live by, but people who don’t yet know about a loving God first must learn about His nature. They must first learn about grace and forgiveness and redemption before changing behavior. We are fighting the wrong fights and we have overcomplicated the mission that Jesus left us with.
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”
-John 5:39-40 (MSG)
He has called a generation to rise up and Be The Light. That means not remaining silent and complacent. It means standing for the things he stands for: love, justice, righteousness, and making salvation available to every person all over the earth. We should be a strong voice of hope and justice in the midst of the dark events playing out in our society. It’s easy, however, to forget entirely that spreading love and light is the answer and instead become convinced that winning debates is the answer. Being the light has nothing to do with political party, joining a bandwagon, or highlighting the sinfulness of society. Instead, it has everything to do with pouring out light on people who only know darkness and letting love abound in a world that only knows hate.
Let’s use our light to take a stand for righteousness and speak out boldly for the gospel. Be the light where darkness and lies have taken root. Let’s use our light to redefine who Jesus is and what He stands for.
“I’ve very rarely met someone who doesn’t like Jesus, but they have been offended by those who claim to follow him.” -Carl Lentz
“The opposite of love, I have found, is not hate, but indifference…even if I have not hated to such a degree, I have been indifferent. And the indifference of the church and of Christians is the hole in the fence that allows evil to crawl through unencumbered.”
-When Bad Christians Happen To Good People by Dave Burchett
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get to the end of my life and see indifference. I want to look back and know that I embraced every opportunity to stand for what Jesus stands for. I want to know that I hungered for situations to arise where I could shine my light. I don’t want to look back and see an amalgamation of trying to push rules and regulations on people. I want to look back and see that everything I did pointed towards Jesus.
Jesus came to abolish religious systems. Everything He stood for was about extending grace and light to people that seemingly deserved none. We have an opportunity to repent of our silences, to rise up and take a stand against the spaces where we’ve allowed people to speak falsely and degradingly. We need to take a stand for the hope of the human species. We must stand for truth and righteousness. When we do and say things in the name of God we must ask ourselves: what God are we referring to? Are we referring to the God known fully in the teachings of Jesus? The God that embraces the foreigner? The God that loves and welcomes those who are hurting, broken, and different from us? Or are we referring to a God that fits in our box? A God that loves only certain people who do certain things and look a certain way?
We have a responsibility to confront the evils trying to rule in our day. I want to be a part of the answer by shining my light.
Let’s shout about redemption on the rooftops and respond with grace in a graceless society. Let’s be the light in the wake of disasters and unfathomable murders. Let’s respond with love and light rather than bitterness and confusion. In a self-serving, materialistic, judgmental, hopeless, depressing time, let’s be the light that shines brighter.
Join the movement of light with me.
“You can believe all the right things and still be in bondage; you can know the right answers and still be miserable and unchanged. It is possible to know a lot about Jesus, but not really know Him. My fear is that lurking behind our American understanding of belief is the false Jesus of Suburbia- the Jesus who requires Christians only to agree with the truth, but is not so bold as to require us to live it. Not the real Jesus. This is one of the reasons the church is so ineffective in engaging and redeeming culture: we think people are the enemy. So we fight people and try to hurt them in the process. It’s the pornographers or the abortionists or the courts that are at fault. We think the problem is out there-in the culture- when in reality the enemy lurks right in our midst.”
The Jesus of Suburbia by Mike Erre
Wife to Simon and mama to Theodore Samuel. Hannah began her walk with Christ at age 17 and He is radically reshaping her world daily. She find so much joy in coffee cup conversations with other women at her home, serving alongside her husband at our church’s middle/high school youth group, exploring new cities, cozy days with a book, decorating/reorganizing, filling journals with brightly-colored pens, hand-writing notes on pretty stationary and time at the beach.
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