When your religion is perfectionism Part 3

Take time to read Romans 4 again and meditate upon it today. We are continuing our focus on the religion of perfectionism. In other words, a religion of perfectionism is having a religion that is dependent upon me being flawless and sinless.

So for today, consider a few questions:

Think about it, do you really believe that Jesus went through all that agony at the cross so that you could live your life in constant uncertainty and spiritual torment?  Our Lord did not suffer so that you and I would live a life without hope, joy and peace. Jesus did not present Himself flawless before God so that we could drive ourselves and others mad trying to be flawless.

When you think of God and the Judgment Day, what comes to mind? Think of that day when you will see God face to face. What thoughts come to your head? If all you have is fear and anxiety about that, then please consider how your thinking about God (and yourself) needs to change. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). God wants His people to have confidence, peace and no fear regarding the day of judgment. 1 John 4 is very plain about that.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:15-19)

What is your motivation for your works for God? Two Christians can do the very same deeds and works, but have two very different motivations for them. One does them out of gratitude for God’s grace, and another is trying not to get zapped so he can “somehow” make it to heaven. Striving to be holy like God should be a motivation borne out of deep love for God. This motivation is nothing like working to be flawless to “earn” salvation from God (Titus 2:11-15; 1 Peter 1:13-25).

One final article on this to come tomorrow, Lord willing.

It Ain’t Pretty

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”  II Corinthians 4:16

Brother Claude joined my family for Thanksgiving dinner in 2016.  Kristine goes all out for my favorite holiday, fixing all the traditional favorites as well as some Harrison family specials.  We usually have enough food to feast on for four or five days in a row.

I picked Claude up around 11 and we got down to eating around one in the afternoon.  A little while after lunch he made me aware that he had to use the facilities so we wheeled him over to the restroom door and quickly realized that, even if I took the door off the hinges, his chair wasn’t going to fit through.  Our home was obviously not up to the American Disabilities Act guidelines.

Before I go on, I need to tell you a little bit about Claude’s background.  After college, he joined the Air Force and became a pilot.  During his time in the service he received two Flying Cross medals, a Bronze Star, and a Legion of Merit, just to name a few.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and went on to have a career in real estate and as a broker for Merrill Lynch.  This was a man who understood dignity, power and success.  Now back to the restroom.

We stood (well Claude sat) at the door of the bathroom deciding how we would approach the task at hand.  I got into the room and stood facing him, preparing to pull him up out of his chair.   Claude lined the chair up with the doorway and engaged the brake.  With a coordinated effort, I took him by the hands and pulled him upward, wrapping my arms around his chest and under his armpits as he stabilized himself on the bathroom sink with his left hand.  I then proceeded to half carry/half drag him to the front of the toilet.  At this point, Claude had his right hand on the wall and his left hand still clutching the sink basin.

I moved around Claude so that I could stabilize him from behind.  It was at this point that I realized both of his hands were occupied keeping himself upright, preventing him from falling over.  This meant that it was my job to help with his pants and undergarments.  Thankfully, once that task was done, he leaned forward and put his head on wall for stability so that he could take care of the rest.

I stood back and watched as this former Lieutenant Colonel leaned forward with his head on the wall, clutching the sink with his left hand, so that he could go about the simple task of emptying his bladder.  A process that most of us do several times a day and take for granted had become an exhausting and embarrassing experience for this dear man.

Why the story?  In the scheme of things, this adventure with Brother Claude was relatively mundane.  He had to rely on others all the time for more intimate physical needs like bathing and changing clothes.  He handled the decaying of his body with understanding and grace.  He was never under the illusion that our flesh was meant to last forever.  In his life he had tasted significance, success and power but those were not things that he tried to hold on to.  They were temporal and he was living for the eternal.  Brother Claude’s identity was not wrapped up in titles and toys, it was rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What about you?  What about me?  I’d like to think that my treasures are in heaven but that is not always the case.  I care too much about the approval of men.  I spend too much energy chasing significance in this life.  I don’t really know how I will react when the trophies of this world are stripped away from me…and they will be stripped away.  One way or another we will all end up leaning our heads against the wall staring down at the toilet, metaphorically speaking.

When it is all taken away, will we have anything left?

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  The world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”  I John 2:15-17

Stand Firm. Be Sure. Shine Light

This week we have thought about the fact that we can stand firm and secure if we are faithful and hold onto our Abba Father and Savior Jesus.  From here, we can live a bold confidence that when our time is over here we will be with our Father and Elder Brother in Heaven for all eternity.  These thoughts are awesome and life changing…for our own lives and the lives of those around us…especially your families.

Living this way, however, will certainly stand out in the world we live in and will be a light shining into the darkness many of the people we meet are experiencing in their own lives.  We can and do shine the light of Christ into other people’s lives if we are standing with Him and living for Him.  A light that we hope will illuminate or even expose so that people we interact with will see Jesus and see themselves and understand that sin is keeping them from being reconciled to the Father and Jesus can remedy that with His blood.  This shining of light is a powerful thing, but it comes from a power source we do not directly possess and can only have through Jesus.  For us to be fully charged we have to continue to be in contact with the power source and we do that through God’s word, prayer, meditation, fellowship…by staying plugged in or said another way abiding (John 15).

There is so much encouragement in God’s word and God has given us all we need to be charged and to emit.  We just have to stay connected.  I know many of you have your own way of doing this but today I am going to invite you to read Revelation 21-22 and consider what God has told us about Heaven, what Jesus is doing…today…and how that can translate to a great hope that is infectious even if every indication we are getting from others is that it repels.

Here are some highlights from chapters 21 and 22 that I find awesome and encouraging in terms of our home and how active and involved and interests our Savior is in ensuring we get there.

3…“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21)

 6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

 4 They shall see His face

 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

 7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

 12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

 16I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”  Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Let that be your response today.  Be filled.  Shine your light.  Be ready when someone can’t help but ask “why”…and start with “Have you heard about my Jesus?”

The Mere Existence of a Prophet

The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.
(2 Chronicles 36:15)

Last Thursday, we observed the simple fact from the Old Testament that the mere existence of a king in Israel reflected the heart of the people of Israel. They had rejected God as their King, so God gave them the king they wanted (1 Samuel 12:12).

In contrast, let’s observe the flip side of the coin: the mere existence of a prophet reflected the heart of God for the people of Israel.  It was pretty bad in Israel. God’s people (and their kings) had wholesale rejected God. That is the setting. But did God just give up and walk away? No.

Take a moment to ponder the above passage from 2 Chronicles 36:15. Here are a few brief points from verse 15:

Because he had compassion.

What was God’s heart? Compassion. We may think the prophet was only there to call in coordinates for God’s next bombing raid. That was Jonah’s thinking, and God had a whale of a job trying to correct Jonah’s attitude. James and John had this same mentality and Jesus rebuked them as well (Luke 9:55). God’s ways are not our ways, thankfully (Isaiah 55). He sees souls that are broken, souls in need of restoration and redemption. He sees people and relationships, and he longs for us to come home.

God’s messengers sent a message from God’s heart.

The prophets are messengers sent to pour out God’s heart to the people. The messages of the prophets are pretty simple: Repent, Remember, Return, Restore, Redemption.

God’s messengers were sent persistently.

Because God loved them and had a deep compassion for them, he didn’t just try once or twice, He sent loads of prophets over hundreds of years! Those prophets were mocked, despised, rejected and murdered, yet God sent more and more. Again, the prophet was a symbol for the heart of God – because God loved, God sent the prophets.

God’s people.

Again, verse 15 says “his people.” This reflects that God cared more about the relationships and the people. To God, they were worth it.

So, what about you and me? If the mere existence of a prophet reflected the heart of God for Israel, what is reflected in my heart when others disobey God and are not walking with Him? Does my heart align with God’s heart of compassion, persistence, and a desire for reconciliation?

The Mere Existence of a King

And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the LORD has set a king over you.
(1 Samuel 12:12-13)

The Mere Existence of a King in Israel was a symptom of Israel’s heart condition before God. They had rejected God as their king, and that is why they asked for a king to rule them.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
(1 Samuel 8:4-9)

Israel, God’s chosen nation, wanted to be like the other nations (1 Samuel 8:5). They wanted a king to fight their battles for them (1 Samuel 8:20). Israel was not content to be a peculiar people and to stand out among the nations as different. Their faith was not in the power of God, but in the power of men. But they did not think this through really well, because that king would not fight “their” battles without them. Their sons would be soldiers and their daughters would be servants, and they would be taxed heavily (1 Samuel 8:10-19).

A thousand years later, Israel still wanted a physical king and rejected God as their king. Jesus was their king (John 18:36), but they wanted a physical king. That’s why they tried to force Jesus into a physical kingdom (John 6:15).

All of this to say again that the mere existence of a king displayed the real heart condition of Israel. That is true in our lives. The mere existence of certain things are symptoms of a greater issue in our hearts. Our credit card statement may reveal symptoms of a greater problem, and that is our lack of contentment and patience. The mere existence of fighting in the home is a symptom of a greater problem in our hearts: lust, anger, jealousy, etc. (James 4:1).

When Jesus is not my true king, the symptoms will raise their ugly heads and they will rule my life instead of Jesus. That’s what happened to Israel, and it’s what happens to us today. Put Jesus back on the throne of your heart. He is a merciful and loving King, and the burden of following Him is light especially when considering the alternative!

Safety for the Ensnared

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:20-26; NKJV)

I was thinking about standing next to Jesus in our safe house as we discussed earlier in the week and looking at those out in harms way who seem to want to come in but can’t or won’t.  I was thinking about why that is and verse 26 came to mind…about how the devil sets snares for us and how he takes us captive and how hard it can be to believe we can be free again.  How many people have I talked to who are in this situation.

In reading the verses above, Paul describes how we should be as we abide in Jesus, follow Him and share the gospel in the world.  How we should be a vessel of honor, sanctified (set apart for a godly purpose) and be useful to the Master!

In considering this, there are things we should do and things we should avoid.

In terms of our personal conduct, we must cleanse ourselves of false doctrine or what the world wants to teach us; we must flee youthful lusts and mature in the faith past the lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes avoiding wicked associations and wicked conduct.

What we should do is pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace which are qualities we must have if we want to see Jesus and qualities suited for a man of God.  We should call on the Lord out of a pure heart together with those who sincerely love God and remember we are not alone.  In our personal conduct we must seek both holy conduct and holy associations.

In terms of our interpersonal relations, we should avoid foolish and ignorant disputes that generate strife, bring ruin to the hearers, and increase to more ungodliness.  We must not quarrel which is to fight over words (war of words; dispute) avoiding discussions that are little more than word battles.

What we should do is be gentle to all mild or kind, be able to teach (exhort and convict those that contradict), be patient especially in avoiding word battles.  We should correct in humility with gentleness, meekness, and mildness even against those that oppose the truth and are ensnared by the devil…they might be just a step away to coming in to safety.  We must develop and demonstrate a Christ-like character toward the opposition.

In doing so, they will know exactly what to expect when they step inside the safe house.  The same words you have used about Jesus reflect your actions toward Jesus and the actions of those with like-minded faith and they will represent the Savior and who He is in our lives…and will be in theirs.  There are a lot of people trapped by satan who want to take that last step into safety…will we have compassion and reach out…just as Jesus reached out to us?

Fear Not and Share Jesus

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17; NKJV)

There are a lot of reasons we might not take an opportunity to share Jesus with others.  It is a very real challenge for all of us who are followers of Jesus.  We put up walls for not sharing with others who have yet to hear or obey the Gospel.  I think if we are honest, fear of rejection or fear of harm can be very real reasons for this.  An opportunity presents itself and we find different reasons for why we didn’t have the courage to act and a lot of times it can be that we are afraid of what others will think of us.

We all want others to think well of us and I believe this is a natural emotion and/or desire and is not inherently bad.  What becomes troublesome is when we put that desire over the desire of God for us to share with others the good news of His Son regardless of the negative outcomes it might create in our relationships or lives.

This letting what others think or fear of harm are not new stumbling blocks for those who follow Jesus.  Peter denied knowing Jesus because of those around him (Matthew 26:69-75). Several followed Jesus while he was on earth, but they did so secretly for fear of others (John 19:38). However, our salvation comes through our willingness to take a public stand for our Lord (Romans 10:9-10). It is unfortunate that some people value their position with men more than their position with God.

When you take stock of your evangelism in the workplace, your neighborhood, with strangers or any other aspect of your life, do you see more missed opportunities than opportunities taken advantage of?  Have you considered why this is?  Could it be you are worrying more about what others might think of you or a temporary discomfort (physically or emotionally) you will face if you share Jesus with them?  I know that I am guilty of these things.  I know that I have missed opportunities because my perspective was on me rather than the soul of another and eternal hope provided by Jesus.

Jesus was severely mistreated and still He fulfilled all His Father gave Him to do.  We, too, will be mistreated for continuing the work Jesus has given us to do but we should not fear man because God is watching over us (Matthew 10:24-31).

Be ready to give an account and a defense for the hope of Jesus in your life.  Know that God is ready to stand with you in this.  God is for us.  God is for them.  Lets focus on God and maybe we can get of our own way and give others the opportunity to get out their own way too.

By Faith Enoch

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

I’ve heard a lot of sermons on this verse and I’ve preached a few myself. Most of the time we tend to isolate this passage and we fail to see how it relates to the previous verse.   As I was studying Hebrews chapters ten through twelve, I realized that chapter eleven verse six is a direct application from the example of Enoch’s faith in verse five.

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”

The text makes the point that Enoch didn’t see death and was “taken up” because he was pleasing to God. Verse six then goes on to explain the importance of faith as it relates to pleasing God. We must try to understand how Enoch pleased God to truly appreciate verse six.

We have very limited insight into Enoch from the scripture. Genesis 5:21-24 gives us the bulk of what we know about him and that mainly consists of his daddy, his age, his son, and the fact that he “walked with God” which resulted in “and he was not, for God took him.” Rather cryptic and open to a great deal of speculation if that is all there was. It is really Hebrews chapter eleven that explains what happened to Enoch.

To get a feel of the significance of Enoch’s faith we have to dig a little deeper. If we follow the rest of Genesis chapter five we see that Noah was Enoch’s great grandson, which means that Enoch was just a few generations away from the flood. Genesis chapter six gives us insight into the environment that Noah lived in stating in verse five that “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” I don’t believe it is too much of a reach to assume that Enoch did not live in a world that honored God or tried to please Him.

The other piece of information to consider regarding Enoch is found in Jude. In Jude verse three, he tells us that he wanted to write about “our common salvation” but because of their current circumstances he had to encourage them to “contend earnestly for the faith” because of false teachers and evil men that had crept in unnoticed. It is in this context that Jude writes in verse 14, “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Based on the text above, I believe we are safe to assume that Enoch lived among ungodly men and seemed to be a preacher or prophet of righteousness. Having a bit more clarity around the culture that Enoch lived in helps us appreciate Genesis five when it says “Enoch walked with God” and helps us understand Hebrews eleven when it says “he pleased God.”

So, with this information, let’s consider Hebrews 11:6 again. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Enoch was most likely in an environment that did not acknowledge the existence of the one true God. Enoch was most likely in an environment that gave very little thought to seeking God. Enoch was most likely in an environment where people sought after their own desires, indulging the flesh, and seeking the rewards of this physical life, not the eternal rewards of God. In this environment, Enoch walked with God, he pleased God. And what was his reward for his faith? Not only did he escape the pains of death, but more significantly, he escaped the defiled, godless world around him.

I have no way of knowing how our culture compares to what we see in Genesis chapter six. I do know that it is becoming less and less acceptable to believe in the one true God. I know that people in our culture seek after anything and everything that rewards the flesh. I know that most people I interact with give very little thought to pleasing God. I know that a faith that stands against the tide of our culture is absolutely essential to please our God. I know that I long to be “taken up” and stand with Enoch in the presence of our God.

 

Freely and Confidently Sew

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

My apologies.  The article did not come out on time today.  My computer was down this morning and have trouble sending from my work account.

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1 Let brotherly love continue… 5…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say:  “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:1, 5-6)

1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved….13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:1, 13)

This week, I have shared the two verses above around the central theme that as Christian men we are freed to offer ourselves in all facets of our lives and in all relationships because though we might be hurt or find ourselves in difficult times God will never forsake us.  Further, in Jesus, we are able to do all things He has given us to do with His strength  We are free and reinforced to be what God has called us to be.

I invite you to read the Parable of the Sewer found in Matthew 13:1-9; Mark. 4:1-9; and Luke 8:4-8) and consider our role as evangelists living in a sin-cursed world.

Often times, I find myself unwilling to take a chance on sharing the gospel because I am afraid I will be rejected or hurt somehow emotionally (and I guess physically given the wrong circumstance).  I constrain myself by not taking an eternal perspective and make what is right in front of me most important.  Or…I think I am not capable and somehow combine the “sewing” of seed (my responsibility) with the “increase” which is a result of the soil (a person’s heart) the seed lands on and the power of God in their life.

So I endeavor to be…and I want you to be encouraged and freed to live your life as a “more than conqueror” in Jesus.  That will make a difference to those in the world who see us live this way…and might just lead to a question of “why”.  This is the opportunity we are looking for to sew the seed of the Gospel…be free to do that without worry of hurt, embarrassment or how it takes root.

Remember, when the gospel is preached people react in different ways.  The important thing is that it is preached but it is going to be received differently.  Some are like the wayside soil.  They hear the message, but their hardened hearts keep them from understanding it.  These ones fall easy prey to Satan because they will not believe and be saved.  Some people are like the rocky soil.  They initially receive the gospel with joy; but because they are never rooted in it they easily fall away in time of temptation or tribulation or persecution.  Some people are like the thorny ground.  They hear the word, but any desire to keep it and to do it is quickly choked out because of their cares and desires for the things of this world.  However, there are those like the good soil.  These ones have a noble and good heart (which is necessary for understanding).  They not only hear the word, they accept it, keep it, and bear fruit with patience.

None of that, however, has to do with you and you are free to sew the seed and trust in God to give the increase and do great things with the gospel in your life and in the lives of others.

Shine Your Light

After giving the Beatitudes which describe who the people are who are blessed and belong in Christ’s kingdom, Jesus continues to describe who his people are. There is an identity that Christ’s people understand that they possess. First, Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. It is not that we have salt but that we are salt. We are to influence people for Jesus. We asked who do we influence, where do we influence, and how do we influence. Jesus’ concern was that we would lose our saltiness. We are to influence in a way that brings grace to the person and to the situation. We must consider our words and actions to determine if we are bringing graciousness that glorifies Jesus. Jesus gives us another picture of our identity in Matthew 5:14-16.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16 ESV)

You Are the Light of the World. What does that mean? Are we talking influence? And if so…Who do we influence…Where do we influence…How do we influence?

Jesus answers these questions in the two illustrations given…a city on a hill that cannot be hidden and a lamp put upon a stand (not under a basket). In both, Jesus is talking about light and that it cannot and more importantly should not be hidden.

As disciples and men, we must not be hidden and should be obvious like a city set on a hill. God did not make us light so we would hide ourselves…but to shine. Jesus is our example and He says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 ESV). God is light and His word provide us direction and guidance…it lights our way and in light there is life. His word is “…a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 ESV).

What we see in Jesus calling himself the light of the world and David declaring that God’s word is a lamp and a light tells us that light is supposed to shine in the darkness so that people can see the way to live their lives. The light is to shine so that they can have direction because the world is full of darkness (cf. John 1:4-9.) Light shows the way. Light illuminates the path. Light provides the direction needed. Keep this idea in mind as we think about being the light of the world. We are to show the way. We are to give direction to the world. We are to illuminate the path.

So how do we take God’s light and let it shine in our lives so that others can see?

To start you thinking through your answer and what you could do differently today…or maybe more something you are already doing to purposefully shine light into the lives of others.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may 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, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14–16 ESV).

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:9–12 ESV)