THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.”
If you are a Christian, and you are sincerely living the Faith—abiding in Christ—then you are the Light of this world. You may not feel like the Light of this world, but the Lord has spoken and ordained that you are. We do not take pride in being the Light of this world; we consider it an awesome responsibility and opportunity. And we know that we are only able to truly be the Light of the world as and to the degree that we abide in Christ. He, then, has promised to abide in us [Jn15:4, 14:20], and He is the True Light of this world [Jn8:12, 9:5].
Light is an amazing phenomenon. We cannot entirely define it; it transcends our understanding. We do know that without it we cannot see. Everything that we see, we see because light has illumined it. Without light, there is only darkness. Because of light, we see beauty. And because of it we see that which is toxic and dangerous. Because of light we can discern that which is good for us from that which is harmful. It could be dangerous to eat in the dark; we might take something into our body that is spoiled or contaminated. And it is dangerous to live in spiritual darkness. Light makes visual discernment possible. The Light of Christ makes discernment of Truth—goodness and evil—possible. Light is the only substance/matter that does not co-mingle with that with which it comes into contact. Water and air can become contaminated. Light cannot. Light can shine on the most toxic, stinking substance imaginable; and it will remain pure. Jesus was encompassed by the most toxic personalities of His day—evil religious leaders, power hungry political leaders, demoniacs, blood lusty soldiers, Satan himself—but He remained pure, peaceful, and loving. He stayed the course of His mission even though all hell was released against Him. He was [and is] Who He was, despite His relational environment. And Who He was, was [and is] Love incarnate. And we, now, who abide in Him are this Light and this Love in our world. We expose Truth. We love all, but we do not agree or join with all. We are kept from evil [Jn17:15], and we are unspotted from the world [Jm1:27]. We can be around toxic personalities without being contaminated. We bring the Light of Christ’s Love and Truth to them, but we are not responsible for what they do with Him. We are here to shine, and shine, and shine; like the sun, on everything and everyone. And we are perpetually free in this Light—free to be what Christ has ordained us to be. Nothing outside our own will can ever change this!
Lord, thank You for ordaining and empowering us to be the Light of the world. Abide in us always. Keep us from evil. Protect us from Satan’s attacks through those who are spiritually blind, and through our own sinful nature. May we abide always in Your love.
JESUS OFFERS US A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
I love the little poem by A. A. Milne entitled Happiness:
John had great big waterproof boots on
John had a great big waterproof hat
John had a great big waterproof mackintosh
And that [said John] is that!
If you think of the rain as everything that falls within the category of tribulation: every problem, trial, difficulty; everything that you would ever complain about or be frustrated about—Jesus is our waterproof boots, waterproof hat, and waterproof mackintosh. When Jesus said that He had “overcome the world,” He was speaking of every difficulty that we would ever confront in this world, including death. If there is a difficulty that Jesus did not overcome, then He is not the Messiah. And He also stated that He is “in us” and we are “in Him” [Jn 14:20]. If He is in us, and we are in Him, and He has overcome the world, then we also have overcome the world. There is nothing that we will ever face in this world that Christ [in us] has not overcome. Therefore we do not have to fear or dread anything! We only have to abide in Christ, and in His love for the human family. Jesus has given us the wonderful opportunity to experience a sincere, deep peace in the midst of a world that has fallen from grace. We are not of this world! [Jn 17:14] If we are of the world, the world can beat and torment us. But if our life is hidden with Christ [Col 3:3], who sits at the right hand of God, then we are like John in the pouring rain. We can play and splash in the puddles. Our Heavenly Father loves us, and we are eternally secure.
Lord Jesus, thank You for overcoming the world, and for promising to be with us always. Thank You God for a beautiful world. Thank You for commanding us to love each other, and for empowering us with Your Holy Spirit, so that we can be successful at it.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Some say we can see the fingerprint of God in His creation. He has placed in His creation a most amazing phenomenon that we call metamorphosis. It is a process by which one creature becomes a totally different one—so different that, if placed side by side, you would never guess that it was the same. A caterpillar looks absolutely nothing like a butterfly. The beetle that lives in the dark underground for years looks nothing like the cicada that emerges from its shell and flies its season in the sun. The Greek word translated in the above verse to “transformed” is metamorphoo, meaning “to change into another form; to transform or transfigure”. It is the same term used to describe what happened to Jesus on the mountain in Matthew 17:2, when “His face shone like the sun and His raiment was white as light.” And it describes what happens to us when we receive the unspeakable gift of the new life that Christ becomes in us. “Old things pass away. Everything becomes new” [2Cor 5:17]. We leave behind the old shell of the person we used to be and launch out into a brand new life, feeding on the nectar of Truth; basking in the sunlight of His Love for us and in us for all people. We are no longer miserly little creatures, selfish and fearful, wandering around aimlessly in the darkness of meaninglessness. We are no longer the prey of the dark creatures of night. Now we are free to soar in the clear and bright atmosphere of freedom and peace. We know why we are here. And we know where we are going. We abide in our Great Lord and Friend Who has overcome the world [Jhn 16:33]. The very core of our being, our heart, has been transformed. The motivating force of our actions is completely different. The worries and cares of the world that used to torment us, and even that great monster death that loomed so large and fearsome on the horizon, wither like a spider on a hot stove and blow away like dust in the wind.
Every day—every moment—we have the wonderful opportunity to respond to the invitation that God perpetually extends to us to be transformed—metamorphosed. Our life can become a series of metamorphoses. No matter how much of the freedom, peace and joy of Christ we have received, there is more for us, if we are willing to love with His Love, open our heart to Him anew, wake up from the dark delusions that so easily beset us. In this new life, with our new eyes, we see through the foggy glass more clearly the Reality that causes us to rejoice like Elisha’s servant when his eyes were opened to the protective chariots of fire [2Kings 6:17]. We see that all God’s promises that seem too good to be true really are true. Our heart smiles and we rest in that deep soul rest that Jesus promised those who receive the Truth that He offers [Mt 11:29]. We become peaceful agents of transformation—the Light of this world [Mt 5:14]. And if you put us beside the person we were before Jesus began this wonderful work in us, you would not even know that it was the same creature.
Lord Jesus, thank You for transforming us into Kingdom creatures: beloved, peaceful, joyful servants of God and of our fellow man.
BECAUSE OF JESUS
Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Because of Jesus millions of people all over the world are trying to love other people – even their enemies. Because of Jesus millions feel a sense of healthy conviction regarding their failures and shortcomings, and take responsibility for them instead of blaming others. Because of Jesus thousands of hospitals have been built because He had compassion for and healed the sick while on earth. Because of Him millions of the hungry are being fed since He taught us to take care of the needy. Because of Jesus victims of horrific crimes forgive the perpetrator, and even try to minister to them. Thousands of orphans and elderly have been cared for because of Christ. Countless marriages have been saved because people have come to believe that God “hates divorce” [Mal.2:16]. And the children of those marriages have been spared the incredible pain associated with divorce. Because of Jesus, countless thousands of people who have been enraged by the inappropriate behavior of others have prayerfully disciplined themselves not to return evil for evil [1Pet.3:9], but have chosen to forgive, in obedience to their Lord. Because of Jesus, people who have grown up in incredibly dysfunctional homes have come to know true love, grace, goodness and peace. Addicts recover, criminals become good citizens, selfish and self-centered individuals learn to care for others because of Christ. People who had been guilt-ridden because of the suffering they caused others have come to know complete forgiveness and restoration in Christ. There have been countless untold incidences in which the temptation to steal or take advantage of someone has been resisted successfully because of a persons’ accountability to Christ. The world, in its blindness, looks accusingly and condescendingly at the failures of Christianity. But if we look objectively at the net effect of the Christian faith, we realize that the world is immeasurably better off because of it. Indeed, when we look at the dark potential of humankind, it is possible that the world would not have survived without it.
I am so thankful that I am a Christian. But even if I weren’t, I would want others to be, so that my world would be safer and saner for my children and grandchildren.
Jesus, thank You so much for what You have brought into the world. May Your Light continue to shine in our hearts. May Your will continue to be done in the human family.