Dark Corners – Luke 11:33-36

darkcorner“Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light” (Luke 11:35-36, NLT).

These verses from Luke are an extension of Jesus’ well-known teaching from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:22ff. Light and darkness are metaphors for good and evil.

But, Dr. Luke develops the metaphor more richly in his account by elaborating on the properties of light, specifically, the magnitude and direction of the light. Light travels in a straight line and if it is not bright enough or is deflected by a surface, its radiance diminishes and it can leave dark corners in a particular space.

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Shine! – Matthew 5:14-16, Part 4: Clandestine Christians

light-under-a-basket“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, NASB).

Are you a Light-Under-A-Basket Christian? A Clandestine Christian? A good gal or guy but people don’t know why?

A lot of Christians are Clandestine Christians. They want to conceal the fact that they are Christians because it might be uncomfortable for them or others . More often than not, I am! And, sometimes, maybe you are too…

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Shine! – Matthew 5:14-16, Part 3: Good Works

Light of the World-Good Works“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, NASB).

This familiar verse is from the Sermon on the Mount. You’ve probably read it, sung about it, had it taught to you in Sunday School lessons, or had it preached to you in sermons on many occasions.

I know I have. And I’ve even expounded on it more than a few times myself in these Meditations. But in all my elucidations about being the light of the world, there’s one very important point I haven’t explained very well–how to emit light.

What do I actually do to radiate light so that people will glorify God? How do I shine?

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The Edge of Darkness – 1 John 5:17

Gate_from_darkness_to_Light“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” (1 John 5:17, HCSB)

The book of I John is a book of contrasts.  John begins his letter by contrasting darkness and light. He declares that “God is Light and there is absolutely no darkness in Him” (vs. 1:5).

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Shine! – Matthew 5:14-16, Part 2: Shining Jesus

Shine my Light“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, NASB).

When Jesus said to let your light shine on people, He didn’t mean His light should reflect off me. He meant that His light should be emitted from me.

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Be Prepared – Ephesians 5:15-17

Prepared_For_Life“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17, HCSB).

One of the recurring themes in my book, The Kingdom Order: Living for the Future in the Present, is that we should live our life in the present as though it is preparation for eternity. We must allow our hope for an eternal future to impact the way we live in our present reality.

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Lighting the Way – Psalm 43:3-4

“Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy” (Psalm 43:3-4, NLT).

In this prayer for God’s redemption, light and truth are viewed as guides and the Temple on the mountain in Jerusalem symbolized God’s holy presence among his people.

So the psalmist prayed for God’s light and truth to lead him into God’s presence where he could find happiness.

This verse is a Messianic promise because it ultimately finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the light that leads us to the truth of God, where we can live in His presence and the joy He gives us through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

On several occasions during His earthly ministry Jesus explained that He was the fulfillment of this Messianic promise.

Jesus said that He was the light of God and, as such, He would drive out darkness and bring truth to people’s lives so they would do what is right and be a light to others: “But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants” (John 3:21, NLT).

Jesus told His disciples that He was the light of the world and if you follow Him you will find God’s truth: “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).

When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to die, they were anxious and He reassured them by telling them that He Himself was the way to God: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NLT).

Remember, God sends His light to you to illuminate the way to Him so that you can guide others to Jesus, God’s Light, so they also can find their way to God!

Learning to Be the Light – 1 John 1:7

“But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The Apostle John declares that God is light (vs. 5). So, if you are in fellowship (in a relationship) with God, then His light shines on you so that you are living in the light. A Canadian band, Newworldson, recorded a song that expresses the heartfelt desire of all who are living in the light of God to learn to be His light to others. The lyrics of the chorus of the song say:

It’s so much brighter living in your world 
Savior what you did for me 
You gave me something I want everyone to see 
When we stumble and it all goes wrong 
Only you can make it right 
So I say I’m learning to be the light 

God doesn’t want you just to bask in the warmth and illumination of His light. He wants you to reflect His light to others. When you live in the light of God’s reality, then sooner or later you must start reflecting the light of God’s reality–you must learn to be the light. God wants you to be the light so that the light of His reality can be seen in this world in you! “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” (Matthew 5:14-15).

Truth Professionals – 1 John 1:6-7

“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” The Apostle John says in the preceding verse (vs. 5) that God is light. Therefore, those who walk in darkness are not walking with God, no matter what they say. John says that if you are walking in darkness then you are not practicing the truth. By contrast, those who walk in the light reflect God’s glory; they walk in the same way Jesus walked (vs. 2:6). The light in which they walk includes both correct doctrine (truth) and God’s moral law (holiness). If you “walk in the light” then you practice the truth and your behavior is consistent with your doctrine. When you live your life each day according to God’s redemptive love and moral law, then you are living the truth. You are like a practitioner of the truth, a truth professional. Just as doctors practice medicine and attorneys practice the law, Christians practice truth. As a practitioner of truth, when you “walk in the light” then your life is known to others: “You are the light of the world…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). Be a truth professional and let the way you live your life and the way you say you live your life be one in the same and to the glory of God, and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you from all sin.