Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
By Mike Mattice
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If you remain in darkness, you become accustomed to it. Your vision adapts, and you can even grow comfortable with maneuvering in it.
In fact, once you’ve acclimated to darkness, when even a little light infiltrates, it is an offense. You cover your eyes and withdraw. Light not only invades darkness’ territory, it evicts darkness. The two cannot co-exist. Even a small amount of light changes the environment, alters the atmosphere, and begins to make things visible.
I hope I’m not alone in recognizing the profound revelation in this simple physical truth. So profound in fact, that it rings true on multiple levels (as truth tends to do).
The Gospel of John says that Jesus (God, The Word) is “the Light of the world”, and in Him was no darkness. John reports that this Light shone in the world when He came to be among us, and the world, which He had created, did not recognize Him. The “world” at that time was accustomed to the darkness. Even the people of faith had established an order of understanding. The Nazarene carpenter-turned-preacher didn’t fit into their expectations for their Messiah.
And as the Lord went about, revealing the nature of our heavenly Father, He introduced some radical concepts and seldom, if ever, said what was expected. It wasn’t that He was rebellious, as the religious leaders perceived; Jesus’ unpredictability evidenced the lack of understanding in even the alleged “enlightened ones among God’s chosen people”. When Pure Light infiltrates the comfortable darkness, it disorientates. Suddenly, our environment we imagined so-manageable is revealed to be different than we thought.
Another aspect to consider is that we, as ambassadors for Christ, are the “keepers and carriers of the Light”, so to speak. Jesus has instructed us to not hide this light under a basket (in other words: conceal, douse, keep it to ourselves). That defeats the reason He has given that light to us. We are to shine with that light of hope our Master has given us.
When we do that, there will be certain results:
1. We will be pleasing God, fulfilling His purpose for our existence. He will increase that light.
2. We who have seen a great Light will no longer walk in darkness. We have not turned our eyes away from the Pure Light. We will have a clearer perspective on everything. This includes seeing our own sins. This scares some people, but it shouldn’t. Who will love the Master more, the one who is forgiven little, or he who has been pardoned for much? Without clear and honest self-examination, how can we grow more in the likeness of our God?
3. The light we emit will change our environment. Darkness will not be able to remain in our presence. It will dissipate wherever we go. Jesus said and did many wonderful things when He walked among us. But He said that His followers would do even mightier works.
I believe that the Body of Christ (believers) hinder the fulfillment of their destiny by withholding their light, fearful of offending. If we shine with the Light we’ve been given (no matter how small or insignificant we may think it is), it will offend. But it will also attract.
In the light is
hope- the certainty that God loves us, forgives us, and He is sovereign over every circumstance. Nothing can surprise or confound Him.
purpose- discovery that there is a reason for everything, and that God is working His plans for us, for our good.
And warmth- peace that passes all understanding, assurance above all circumstance, acceptance through grace, and unchanging love.
A pastor shared a story of an unbelieving man who attended a church service once, where he heard the Good News presented as never before. Afterward, the man approached the pastor, saying, “If what you said is true, then Christians are the most selfish people in the world, to have this great hope and yet keep it to themselves!” Sadly, his accusation is often true.
Christ did not give us the light of a church, a set of moral standards, or a regimen of ceremonies / rituals. Yet, these describe the muted and distorted light that so many of our brethren are showing the world.
The light that Jesus Christ has given is that nothing we can do, or not do, can restore our relationship with God. We are redeemed by His sacrifice, and the grace (unmerited favor) that is extended because of what He has done.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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