The world we live in is a rather "dark" place. Evil permeates every aspect of society, as evidenced by the evening news. Violence reigns in many places. The economies of the world are suffering greatly, and panic rules in many hearts. Stress seems to have peaked, and many have collapsed under its pressure.
But in the midst of such darkness, the Disciple of Jesus can experience what Winston Churchill called "our finest hour." Paul the Apostle made this clear in Philippians 2...
"...be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..."
There - you have it. Specific instructions on how to live in the midst of a "crooked and twisted" world. No matter how dark and devious the hour may seem, for the believer in Jesus it is his, or her, opportunity to "shine" like never before.
In spite of being surrounded by evil, the disciple of Jesus maintains his connection to Christ, and while doing so draws from Him the power to shine! Jesus told His disciples that they were the "light of the world" - the city set on a hill which cannot be hid.
Check out these verses below. They describe what "children of the light" look like.
And what does the "Shining Christian" look like? What differentiates him from the pagans around him? What "stands out" about him that makes him so different from others?
The answer is simple: Drawing life from the Presence of Jesus Himself, he marches boldly into the world everyday, confident of God's love and care for him, and free to overcome the evil in the world by the power of love!
Jesus made this very clear. He told us to let our light shine in such a way that men may see our good works, and glorify our Father in heaven. When one's light is shining brightly, it means that the evil around him does not have the final say in his life.
The evil in the world does not quench his fire nor dim his light. He is connected to the Everlasting God through Jesus the Son, and anointed by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead!
THAT'S WHO YOU ARE, FELLOW BELIEVER! THAT'S WHO YOU ARE!
There are many things this can mean, but one thing is for sure: Possessed by the power of God's love, we are free to launch into this screwed-up world determined to make it better!
Think of what this truth could do for your daily attitude. What if - instead of thinking what others could do for you - you committed to doing good to them?! What if that supervisor that drives you nuts - you became a source of blessing to him, or her?
What if, instead of thinking the world evolves around YOU, you decided to make it evolve around others?!
What if, fellow Christian husband, instead of trying to get your wife to meet your needs, you determined to meet hers? Instead of wanting your children to be "this or that," you chose instead to spend more time with them, and cultivated an interest in their seemingly meaningless affairs!
What would happen in our lives if we came to a point where we took the Word of God as THE WORD OF GOD? Consider this verse from Romans 15...
"Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."
Recently I applied for a permanent position in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of my department. I was confident that I would get it. Having just served in CID for 18 months, I felt I was more than ready for a permanent place among the detectives.
I interviewed in front of a board of 3 fellow officers, all of whom I have known for over 20 years. I was certain they would pick me. But when the votes were tallied, I fell short.
I was hurt - and the devil smelt blood! But instead of responding with a confidence that God had closed a door and would open another, I resorted to pouting for the next few weeks.
The men on the board were trusted friends of mine: men whom I love like brothers and who would admit they have great respect for me. They saw my sour attitude and were greatly disappointed. They had done me no harm, but alas, I played the "poor victim." Instead of allowing my light to shine, I placed it under a bushel - and snuffed out the light.
I often like to think of myself as a "brave lion," but now I was nothing more than a pussycat, purring for a warm bowl of milk.
One day one of the men on the interview board stopped by the patrol office and struck up a conversation. I voiced my complaint and declared I had been mistreated. But this dear friend didn't hold back. He told me how he looked up to me, how he knew me to be a man of faith, a "Christian." He went on to express his disappointment in my response. And then came his strong rebuke. "Jimmy, I look up to you as an example of what a Christian ought to be. And you do this!"
I broke down right there in the office - and cried. I had disgraced the Name of my Lord! I snuffed out my light. I wasn't thinking of the opportunity I had to show my fellow officers the truth about the Light of Jesus. I was thinking only of myself and what I wanted. What a shame! Is it any wonder that so many people in the world refuse to follow Jesus when they observe the conduct of those who profess faith in him fall so short - and refuse to practice what they preach?!
So, fellow believer, what opportunities are presently before you? What door is open right now, through which you can walk, and shine brightly in the midst of this dark world? Don't keep screwing it up! Quit waiting for the "right time." The right time is NOW! Quit waiting for the circumstances to be favorable. Live as a conqueror in the midst of whatever you are in.