For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10 NLT)
Almost a year ago, I was in the hospital. I had been finding myself out of breath after not so strenuous exercise like walking upstairs to go to bed. I was embarrassed considering that maybe it was panic attacks so I ignored them. But it just kept happening so I finally went to the doctor who, after some tests, determined that I had multiple blood clots in my lungs, a potentially fatal condition. I was pretty calm and upbeat most of the time, but there is something about the night. Darkness changes perspective. The world is smaller, quieter, more dangerous, and it was during the night that my emotions would play with my mind. It was under the cover of darkness that fear and loneliness and grief would surface.
As a child, especially after watching a scary movie, I would carefully arrange my stuffed animals around me, especially at the crack between the bed and the wall, for protection before I could go to sleep. When the lights go out and the darkness falls, the world becomes unsafe.
The darkness plays tricks on us. We hear the boogie man taunt us, we feel his leer, and we see shadows move. We know the world is dangerous, and we are not alone in it. Worse, we have no hope of help, until the morning comes and light and truth fill the space.
When I read passages in the Bible that refer to the contrast of the light versus the darkness, it reminds me of those times. Darkness is dangerous and consuming and constricting. We are all familiar with the darkness.
For those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus, that darkness isn't just the shadow of night. It is sin, the ignorant and natural state of our hearts. It is the easy choice to go along with the crowd, feed your anger, surrender to despair, reject God's love. It is the walk of the spiritually blind. But do you know the Light?
It isn't a belief system or religious rules or pious behavior, as much as media would like us to believe that it is.
When we decide to follow Jesus, when He reveals Himself to us, curing our blindness, we realize that we have found the light: HE is the light that fills the room and restores order.
It is His light that radiates through his followers, much as the moon radiates not its own light but that of the sun. We have the ability now to dispel that darkness for others. But do we? Does our light make a difference?
Do we live like people of the light?
This Light, our Lord, produces what is good and right and true. How much does our world need that? Those in school who look for solace from the dark in drugs need the light. Those whose relationships feel stale, empty and who seek security in new ones, they need the morning light. Prisoners, both in physical jail or spiritual bondage, need truth. This world, every part of it, needs the light of truth. And we have it. But what do we do with it?
When we choose to live as people of the light-people who know truth, people who come alongside others, people who seek justice, people of compassion and mercy-the Light of our Lord will fill the darkness. And I believe that when we live as people of the light, we please God. Not because we are doing fabulous things; God doesn't need us to do anything since He can do whatever he wants. But God invites us in on His adventure. It is an adventure because we need to rely on His light, His righteousness, His goodness as we live in a dark country, as we encounter boogie men, as we are pursued by shadows. It is His adventure of dispelling darkness and lies with His light and truth but He delights in allowing us to tag along.
I want to make a difference in this world. I know that I cannot do much tho. I am finite and weak and broken in many ways. It is a relief that God doesn't count on my light, my truth, my goodness. Instead He covers me with His.
Being a follower of Jesus isn't about claiming a box. It is about stepping into the adventure of relationship with God.
Are you living as someone who is of the light? If you aren't, I would implore you as Paul did to the church of Ephesus, please do! Someone made a difference in my life, in your life. Does God want you to make a difference in someone's? Is there someone that God is asking YOU to share your light to dispel their darkness?