Conntecting the Dots

How Can We Shine As Lights in a Dark World?

Christmas has passed, and we packed away our decorations yesterday. Sadly, my living room seems bare without the tree and its wee colored lights.

Every morning for the past month, I found simple pleasure in turning on those lights the moment I entered the room. I loved seeing how they lit up the darkness, and I enjoyed sitting in their glow while having my quiet time with Jesus.

Lights are mentioned often in Scripture. Jesus, the Light of the world, commissioned His followers to shine as lights in the dark world around us: “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).

Light is essential to life on the most basic level. Without the sun’s light, for example, the earth would freeze and life would perish. If a plant doesn’t receive light, it eventually withers and dies. If light never shone for us, we’d walk in darkness and likely stumble and fall.

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We need light to live physically but also spiritually. And the world around us desperately needs the light to pierce its darkness. How then, can we shine so as to bring life to those who need it?

Here are several suggestions:
• Perform simple acts of kindness.
Smile at someone you pass when going for a walk. Ask a store checkout clerk how she’s doing, and tell her that you appreciate her work. Visit a shut-in. These kindnesses don’t cost a dime, but they’re an investment with potentially huge returns.
Speak life-giving words.
Has Jesus made a difference in your life? Has He helped you overcome destructive habits or addictions? Has He healed inner pain? Replaced fear with courage? Don’t be embarrassed to tell others who need hope. Forget about political correctness and share the reason for the hope within you.
• Build relationships with unbelievers.
Sometimes we get spiritually lazy by staying within our comfortable church bubble. That’s akin to hiding our light under a bush. “No one does that,” says Jesus. Seriously? Then let’s get out there and look for ways to connect with our unbelieving neighbors and coworkers. Maybe the first step is to extend an invitation for coffee. Let the Holy Spirit lead from there.

The most fundamental step towards letting our lights shine is to spend time in the Light’s presence. Let’s ask Jesus to fill and control every fiber of our being, and then His light will shine through us and pierce the darkness.

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