We have entered into the aftermath of an election day that has been on our horizon for many months. As I write this post, media outlets have just called the race for Joe Biden, though President Trump is certain to contest some of the state voting results. I’m sure all of us have hopes for as smooth a determination as possible, but we can guess that we may be heading into very dark days.
At the very least, we know that we will likely encounter more incidents of the health crisis, economic uncertainty, political strife, and perhaps even violent protest. With that possibility in mind, I want to remind us once again, that as members of the Kingdom of Heaven we are different from the world around us.
We are called not only to unity in Christ, but to be Light in the Darkness. We are not to fear darkness, we are to engage it, we are to bring light into it.
For many years I’ve had a deep, gut-level love for the spiritual concept of Light. I don’t know exactly when this started nor why, but I love the concept of spiritual light. It moves and inspires me. Light can’t be ignored; it pierces darkness; it often brings warmth and safety; it always changes the surrounding environment.
As I have meditated on Light this past week I’d like to share with you observations from several biblical passages. Here are 4 biblical truths about Light:
1st Truth—God created light, and found it to be good.
God’s Word, starts by immediately talking about Light. Gen. 1: 1-4 begins famously:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”
These words are followed later in Gen. 1 where he creates the sun, moon, and stars, and once again pronounces it “good.” At the start of the human story, the heavens and earth were cloaked in darkness and emptiness. Until God simply spoke, and Light came into being. Everywhere.
Just imagine that kind of majestic power. God spoke and Light happened. That’s our God. In an instant, Light changed the nature of the heavens and the earth.
God created light, and found it to be good.
2nd Truth—Light has both a literal nature and a symbolic one.
The literal nature of Light is that it illuminates darkness; it guides and protects. An example of the literal impact of Light is how the children of Israel were guided through the wilderness on their exodus to the promised land.
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”
On a literal, level God sent light to illuminate, guide, and to protect. He does the same today. We might still be adjusting to the impact of our gradually shortening hours of daylight with our time change. We notice darkness creeping into our evening walks, our after-dinner reading on the deck, or the shroud of darkness that swallows our golf balls and shortens our game. God still sends light to illuminate us. When it shortens, we miss it.
God’s light has a literal nature.
It also has a symbolic nature; it reveals God’s presence, hope and glory. The following passages are just a few of dozens that illuystrate this nature of Light.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?”
“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.”
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
Many of you know that for several years, 1976-81, Beryl and I were on a team smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain of Eastern Europe. We lived in Vienna, Austria in the West, and entered the borders of several Communist countries within 1-3 hours. Eastern Europe was decades behind the West in economic development. In any country we entered, we felt like we reverted in time. The skies in places like Prague always looked gray, filled with dark coal dust. In some cities, every surface was coated with dark soot that cast a ghostly pallor.
We had to learn how to dress and walk like Easterners so we wouldn’t stand out. Bought dark, used clothes from a junk shop in Vienna. We learned to walk looking downward, averting our eyes, slowing our walking pace, shortening our stride, lest we inadvertently communicate a sense of confidence and openness that might mark us as foreigners.
People’s faces felt sad, and more than anything, it was their eyes; their eyes had no light in them. They looked dead on the inside. Christians in particular suffered under the burden of isolation and fear. But almost everyone did. The oppressiveness felt evil.
We did this for years, and we sort of got used to it. But we would always be reminded when we crossed the border back into Austria the grass looked greener and the sky bluer. It felt as if a weight was lifted from us. The dark, oppressive shroud we didn’t even know was around us, was lifted. That is the symbolic difference of darkness and light.
Men, God is still defined and symbolized by Light in our world today. He may be quiet, but we can feel his presence. He may be invisible, but we see the evidence of his handiwork as Creator. We may wander in confusion, but in the end, God’s truth will guide us. We may fear for the repercussions of this election, but the light of God is still present and brings hope.
This election hasn’t changed the nature of God. He is Light. He illuminates and he brings hope.
3rd Truth about Light—Jesus is the light of the world
John 1:8, 9
This verse refers to John the Baptist when it says, “He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus was different from any man who came before him. He wasn’t just well-acquainted with Scripture, nor simply a great teacher, nor just a revolutionary speaking against the powers of the day. He was the Light— the way, the truth, the life.
Jesus is the Light of the world. This is the Jesus we worship and claim as Lord of all.
4th and perhaps the most shocking truth about Light: We, the Kingdom of Heaven, are the light of the world. You, and I, are light in darkness.
Four passages tell us so:
Jesus said to his followers: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We should stand out among those around us. We should change our surroundings We do not hide our faith by covering it up. We place it on a stand so that our light can benefit others.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as men of light.”
The truth about us at one time was, we were defined by darkness. We were dark. The stunning truth now is, we are light in the Lord. The light about us should be evident, not hidden, not embarrassed, not shy, not arrogant, not obnoxious. We should look like men of light.
2 Cor: 4:6
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory, displayed in the face of Christ.”
As we live among those who don’t know the Lord, God shines light on us. It’s the same light that came into existence when God spoke! It’s the light of the knowledge of God! It’s the light that shined on Jesus’ face! It’s reflected on us now
I Peter 2:9
This a strong reminder of us who are the Kingdom of Heaven. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Men, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven the following is true of us:
We are chosen ones. Like playing dodgeball in 4th grade, and the best athlete picks you first. Only this selection is far better!
We are a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Not of our own power or birth. Once we acknowledge Jesus as Savior, we are members of the King. of Heaven. We are Sons of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
We are God’s special possession. God thinks of us just as the father of the prodigal told his two sons, “You are my beloved. You will never not have me. I am always yours.”
And so we praise him by telling our story of how He called us out of darkness. Now we shine like a lamp on a stand and bring a warm, illuminating presence. So others might see our good deeds, they might notice…there is something different about us…and they give glory to God.
Several years ago, a church in Huntington Beach, CA built a new and impressive building. When you drive down the main street, the imposing structure is straight ahead. However, it is a contemporary building, and to mark it as a church, they put a lighted cross on the facade. As you drive toward the church, the cross is the prominent feature.
A neighbor objected. He said the light shone into his home. In reality, it was probably the cross itself that offended him. He went to the city officials who then made the church turn off the light on the cross.
We know our nation already battles with religious imagery in public places. Even on a church. But, while governing authorities may turn out lights on crosses on buildings, there is no extinguishing the light that lives in us.
There may be many right now who view our current age as a dark one. Yet in these uncertain times, we can be a source of inextinguishable light.
Let’s remember the Truth about Light.
1. God created light, and found it to be, good.
2. Light has both a literal function-Illumination, and a symbolic one—truth, hope.
3. Jesus is the light of the world
4. And most shockingly: We, the Kingdom of Heaven, are now the light of the world.
Especially in these times of divisiveness and uncertainty, may you and I be Light in any darkness we encounter.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.