Can you think of anything more obvious in darkness than light?
While camping recently with my family on a peninsula overlooking Watauga Lake at Cardens Bluff Campground in Tennessee, I saw the strength of a single boat light on an otherwise pitch-black body of water at night. The lone brightness shining distinctly and perceptibly into the surrounding darkness brought to mind the verse found in John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”—a direct reference to Jesus Christ.
As you know, “darkness,” in Scripture, is used consistently to describe what is contrary to God and order. Modern examples of this include abortion on demand, euthanasia, condom distribution in schools, human trafficking, gender-neutral parenting and gender-free teaching for kids, incivility in our public discourse, predatory gambling, and many others. Ideas like these create darkness in the world. And unfortunately many people are suffering as a result.
Our LORD is the shining example of the power of goodness and truth in the face of overwhelming falsehood and social decline. In chapter 8 of John’s Gospel, Jesus declared Himself to be “the Light of the world” (v.12) and amazingly, in Matthew 5:14, He also said to His followers “You are the light of the world.” It goes without saying, that our light is wholly dependent on His. Which means, as we cultivate and grow a vibrant faith connection with Him through prayer, and put God’s Truth into practice, we introduce a spiritual and moral light into the value system and beliefs of the surrounding secular culture.
With so many bad ideas being put forward and readily accepted today, it is hard to describe our times as anything but dark. However, Christians living wisely and truthfully can transform darkness into opportunity by persuasively introducing good ideas to pierce and dispel the darkness. Good ideas like homeless shelters, pregnancy resource centers, refuges for abused persons, marriage and parenting help, marketplace and vocational excellence services, Christian statesmanship training, and ministries like our own NC Family Policy Council, can all serve powerfully to advance Christ’s kingdom of light in society. Through these and other means, there are as many opportunities to light the darkness as there are Christians, when you consider the unique blend of personality, experience, gifts and resources each possesses.
My fellow pastors, we have been given a blessed responsibility. As we encourage God’s people to be true to their calling in Christ, as “light(s) in the world,” the jubilation of providing bright hope to people engulfed in a world of moral darkness and despair is magnificent! And if, in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “it is in giving that we receive,” then all of us have much to look forward to by embracing a proactive approach to spreading the gospel light.
Do you have a story about shining the light of Truth into the world’s darkness? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okay, that’s it. Shine on and stay awesome in Christ. Good things are coming!