Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #144

#144 "Toward the Light"
April 22, 2008
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8: 12)
I bought a bunch of bright, yellow tulips on Saturday. They have defied my sense of order and balance ever since. No matter which way or that I try to turn these beauties, they ignore my prodding and keep leaning toward the window. I want them to stand up tall and straight. They seem to have a mind of their own and they just keep on leaning. Toward the light.
Jesus referred to Himself as the "light of the world". In Jesus is life, "and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it". (John 1: 4-5) "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world". (John 1:9) And Jesus said, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9: 5) 
There are no small amount of things that try to prod us away from the Light each and every day. Just like my hands pulling and prodding those tulips to change direction, we are pulled and prodded and tempted to move away from the Light and the Truth that is in Jesus Christ. If you just watch the evening news or read the morning paper you can easily slip into the darkness and get caught up in worry over increasing gas prices and home foreclosures. Fear wells up at the news of even more violence and danger on our streets. The grip of failing marriages, difficult job situations, difficult children, illness, and unfulfilled dreams will choke the light right out of us, if we don't keep on leaning. Other people's hands grab onto us and attempt to force us into moving away from our convictions and our righteous decisions, and walking in the darkness with them. They think we're weak, but leaning is not weakness. It takes enormous strength to not go the way of the world, but instead to trust and lean on Christ for everything.
This world is full of darkness. It has rebelled against God and has lost contact with the one true Source of light. Jesus said that "men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." (John 3: 19) Light exposes evil. But we don't have to stay in the dark. According to Christ, "no one who believes in [Him] should stay in darkness". (John 12: 46) The apostle Paul put it this way: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them (by your godly character...my own addition). For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible." (Ephesians 5: 11-14) Didn't Jesus also tell us that we are "the light of the world"? When the light of Christ shines on us, we reflect that light and we can dispel the darkness in our own personal worlds.
When we lean into the Light that is in Christ by spending time with Him, reading His Word and praying, we begin to reflect that light. When we trust Him and refuse to be pulled or prodded by anyone or anything else, we will reflect His life. Psalm 34: 5 says that "those who look to Him are radiant". Don't you just love that? Every time that Moses was in the Lord's presence, his face was radiant. (see Exodus 34: 29-35) Spending time in the presence of the Lord dispels the darkness and fills us with His light.
Light and dark cannot co-exist. We can't have one foot in the things of Christ and the other foot in a world filled with darkness. "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all". (1 John 1: 5) Darkness opposes God. It is hostile to Him. Darkness tries to lay it's claim on us and we must decide where we will live. "If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, purifies us from every sin." (1 John 1: 6-7) I couldn't say it any better than John. 
Walking in darkness is walking outside of the will of God. Let light reveal right and wrong to you through God's Word and His Holy Spirit and respond to that light continually. Be steadfast. Be resolved. Be stubborn like my tulips. Don't let anything deter you from leaning. In the midst of the chaos and confusion of men's lives, you will be radiant with the light of Christ. That light will dispel the darkness around you.  
The sun is pouring through my kitchen window and the light is illuminating those tulip heads. They're leaning and they are radiant!  Let the Son pour into the window of your heart and spirit right now. Stay in the Light.
And as for those tulips...I think I shall just let them lean!
Be sure to make a stop at the website and check out the details for the Living The Word Ministries Meeting, "Living Sacrifices in Alabaster Boxes", on May 31st.  
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