Monday, July 25, 2011

God Reigns and The Son Shines

I have been thinking about light lately.  This was partly sparked (pun intended) by an event I went to that had a table with a banner that talked about bringing the "God's light" to people.  However as I watched what they were doing I didn't see God's light.  In fact I saw quite the opposite.  I saw the darkness that comes when people are confused about who God is and how He works in our lives.  It made me sad, and it made me think.  It made me pray, and now it is making me write.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." (Isaiah 5:20)

Why are people confused? 

What is light?

Light - something that makes things visible or affords illumination: All colors depend on light.

This is what the Bible says, too:

"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:13,14)

God created this light.  He said in Genesis 1:3, "Let there be light," and there was!

What happens when you turn on a light in a room?  The darkness disappears as soon as the light comes on.  Even a small light can make objects in the room visable.  And without light, there would be no colors.  Light is very important.

So what is God's light really?

"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." (John 1:9)

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

Jesus stepped down from His throne in Heaven to come into the world and be our light - to make things visable.  Furthermore, we learn in Revelation 22:5, that in Heaven we "will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light." 

And while I could go on and on about this, I actually am going to focus on a different aspect of this topic.

Jesus said to His disciples:

“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." (Matthew 5:14-16)

So Jesus said He was the light of the world, and then He called His disciples that, too.  Though His disciples were not God like He is, they were to be the light of the world.  They could only be the light of the world because of Jesus.  It was His light that would shine through them, so that others could learn the truth of who Jesus was and recognize their need of Him.  The same is true of those who follow Him today.

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8)

So how do we live as children of light?

First of all, in order to shine His light to anyone we need to know the truth.  We need to be students of His Word, the Bible, and know Him better as a result of our prayerful study.  This is a frustration of mine with many Christians today.  There often is a lack of reverance for not only the LORD, but also for His Word!  Sometimes the Bible is treated as an accessory or an item of decor instead of a manual for life and a vital part of each day.  Of course, there will be days when there is less time to study than others, but ask yourself:

"Am I cracking my Bible open each day?"

"Do I even know where my Bible is?"

Yikes!  We have to pick up our Bibles and learn what is said within.  How else will we be able to speak truth in boldness? Also we need to be able to articulate the truth with others.  I do believe that the Lord gives us the words to say when we need them.  I also believe that we need to have His words stored up in our hearts, so that we are ready for those moments.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." (2 Timothy 4:2)

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15,16)

Light exposes sin.  Why do you think so many try to snuff that light out?

"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (John 3:20)

Boldness is needed now perhaps more than ever, and if those who are called light because they belong to Jesus are not willing to know the truth and then stand up for that truth how will those who are in darkness know there is a better way?

Being the light of the world is a humbling privelege because although we are called to share the Truth and to allow the God who created light to shine through us, for His glory not ours, He doesn't really need us.  He can do it without us, too, you know.  Look at what happened when Saul of Tarsus was on the road to Damascus to go arrest some followers of Jesus.  He was a zealous man who thought that he was doing the right thing.  He thought that these followers of Jesus were blatently disregarding the Law that God had given to them through Moses.  He didn't yet know that Jesus was the fulfillment of everything he knew to be true within the books of the Bible he had studied (the books of the Bible that existed at that time).  And what did the LORD do?

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”" (Acts 9:3-6)

As we read on in Acts chapter 9, we learn that Paul was actually blind for three days after this encounter with Jesus.  The Lord told him what to do, and he went to a man who prayed for his sight to be returned to him.  Paul's sight was returned, and he was never the same.  In fact, most of the New Testament of the Bible was written by Paul! 

I always think of that song lyric, "Blinded by the light..." when I think of Paul's conversion experience.  He took Jesus seriously and remained the zealous man he was, except now the Light was shining through him.

I love the hymn, Be Thou My Vision, by Eleanor Hull.  Here is the first verse:
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
What about you?  Are you even in the light, yet?  If so, do others know it?

"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

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