When I ponder the difficulties that we face culturally, politically, and personally I see real problems with few human solutions. Poverty makes millions miserable. Our government programs, instituted more than a half century ago, while reducing the grinding poverty of millions, certainly has not erased the deprivation of the poor. The abuse of the powerless is an ongoing problem that shows up in so many ways – street violence, spousal abuse, institutional discrimination – to name a few. The best efforts of great minds has not made war a thing of the past and millions live with the horror of guns, bombs, and destroyed lives. Millions live without purpose, without hope, confused by life, lacking knowledge of who they are created to be. How can we make it better?
The answer goes to the human heart. Apart from spiritual birth into the life of God, the best we can do is inadequate to produce lasting change. But, God has not abandoned us to our failures, our flaws, our sin. Our celebration of the Season is about the dawn of the Light that shows the way out of confusion and darkness. Jesus said – “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12, NLT)
I am so grateful, so aware, that in Christ I enjoy a clarity about life that cannot be found elsewhere. In Him, I am freed from Self and Sin, able to choose a life of love. He teaches me to be gracious and forgiving, not consumed with my own needs and quick to take offense. He leads me to generosity, to loving care for others, to hate violence and seek peace! In Jesus, I have hope that extends beyond my earthly existence, faith that sustains me in the times of disappointment, and I need not stumble around in confusion. His light shows me the truth about myself and my world much as the full light of day reveals the world.
Are you living in the Light? Take some time to think about that. The theme is a recurring one in the Scripture.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? ” (Psalm 27:1, NLT)
“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness.” (Psalm 89:15-16, NLT)
Nobody likes to stumble around a dark room tripping over the furniture, do they? We turn on the light and walk confidently. Spiritually, the lesson holds. Apart from God, revealed in Jesus, we are ‘in the dark’ about the realities of our existence. Oh yes, we may make a living, enjoy a relationship, create families, but at the core we wonder – ‘What’s it all about? Who am I really?’ Jesus answers that. He restores us to our place in the family of God, sets eternity in our hearts, and removes the sense of futility that creeps up on so many when the music stops and the night comes.
Have you received Him by faith, my friend? Do you know your identity as a child of God, experiencing His transforming love, which in turn makes you a light in the world? Here is the truth – “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:12, 14, NIV)
Paul says ” you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11, NIV)
The Light! He has shined on us. Open your mind, your heart, your life to Him and let in His brightness.
This is a word from the Word, a promise for you, for me. “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18-19, NIV)
(Video of this blog at this link)
Father, as the morning dawns bringing new challenges and opportunities
help us to stand where Your Light shines,
to enjoy the revealed Truth that comes to those who love the Light.
Shine in us, let Your radiance be seen in us.
And, in this may we find the riches of Life you offer and enjoy the promise that is for those who walk the pathway of those who know and love You.
In the Name of the Light of the World, I pray. Amen.
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