One of the first Christian songs I was introduced to was Pass It On. This campfire begins with “it only takes a spark to get a fire going.” During the first retreat I ever attended in high school, I was told by the Youth Director to “come as you are.” The context surrounding this Saturday night message was that Jesus meets you were you currently are in life. While many outside the church believe religion is about following a set of rules, Jesus brings His light into dark places to reach lost and lonely people, Luke 19:10.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [z]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [aa]recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven, Matthew 5:14-16
The Sermon on the Mount is the only uninterrupted message presented by Jesus in the Bible. While the gospels are full of parables which illustrate spiritual truths, these 3 chapters (Matthew 5-7) highlight the need for followers of Jesus to shine their own light within their hearts into dark places on earth. The lives of Christians should add spiritual flavor to conversations as well as point to the city of a hill, (the local church) where the Holy Spirit thrives.
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while [j]effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and [k]delight. 14 Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [[l]against God] and [m]questioning and doubting [among yourselves], 15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, 16 Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose, Philippians 2:13-16.
Hiding God’s light was not an option for the apostle Paul who spent his entire Christian life fulfilling the great commission, Acts 1:8. Paul personally experienced imprisonment and nearly died on a couple of occasions by brining Jesus’ light into dark places throughout the Middle East. Yet, despite the pain Paul endured, he called one congregation to become shinning spiritual stars by holding out the Bible to all nations. This is the model modern day Christians should emulate to shine God’s light into the darkness.
by Jay Mankus