For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 39
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” Philippians 2:14-18
Some days, it seems the darkness is winning. On the day Jesus died, a chilling darkness overtook the land, in such a way it felt as though all light had been lost. Luke gives an account, describing how “darkness came over all the land,” “the sun was darkened” as Jesus “breathed His last.” Luke 23:43-45 (excerpts). Little did any of the disciples know the dawn light of resurrection was soon to break on Easter Sunday. Later, John would describe the victorious nature of Jesus this way,
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5.
This is the message we have received- Jesus is the light of the world, and we are to shine most brightly in the darkness. No matter how dark, deprived, depressed or despairing our world may become, the light within us cannot, must not, will not be thwarted by the forces of evil in this present darkness. Of this point, Paul teaches us we are to…
Shine in the Darkness
“in a crooked and deprived generation” (v.15)
The key word here is “in”. A star, or any light in that matter is fairly useless in the light. Normally, we cannot see a star during the day, although we know the stars have not ceased shining. They are simply not visible when surrounded by light. God wants us to be like stars in the middle of all the darkness around us. Paul described his generation as “crooked and deprived.” Simply looking around at the evil that has invaded every corner of our society will quickly alert us to the fact that things have not changed much in the past 2,000 years. We are still living in a world lost in the darkness of sin.
Sadly, it seems we often only let our light shine when surrounded by the presence of other lights. We sing bold songs of worship, declaring the glory of Jesus, while encircled by other light bearers. But then, we go back into the darkness of our daily lives, doing our best to blend in and not draw attention to our Christian faith. We fear our light may be found offensive, insensitive, or too counter-cultural to shine among those who cling to darkness, so we cover our light and proceed as covert disciples of Jesus.
Have you ever noticed when you walk into a dark place where your eyes immediately are drawn too? Light! It may be a tiny sliver of light poking out from under a doorway, or it may be a single candle on a lampstand, but whatever it is, our eyes are drawn to it. The same is true of the world, when a Christian displays the true light of Christ in their life, the world can’t help but take notice. We were never meant to blend in to the darkness. When God made you a new creation in Christ, He spoke the very words of every true genesis- “Let there be light.”
Let there be light in your life. Not only in the presence of other sons and daughters of the light, but even more so in this crooked and deprived generation. Blending in will always end in compromise; shining out will always lead to transformation.
Jesus prayed this very prayer for us to shine our light in the darkness…
“I have given to them Your word [the message You gave Me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. For their sake I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth.” John 17:14-19 (Amplified Bible)
Jesus has sent us into the world. Our light will shine brightest when we go where He has sent us.