Encouragement for Today
“Dimming the Light”
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)
One of my favorite childhood Christian songs is about not hiding our light but letting it shine, shine, shine. Though I’ve never tried to hide my light, I have been through many phases of life where my light was too dim to be very effective. The first, my “drifting phase,” was characterized by the word complacency. My light was like a swinging lantern. It gave off light, but because it was not focused in any one direction, it was not very efficient light. This was the time where I drifted in and out of service projects. I served strictly because there was a need. But because these were projects in which I had not been called by God to take part, I grew weary and tired. I had a hard time keeping my commitment to the project once the newness of it wore off, and many times I quit, letting down others and myself.
The second phase I moved into was my “determined phase,” which was characterized by the word complaining. My light was like a spotlight, which was more focused, but in the wrong direction. I had the spotlight pointed at me. I was determined to win the lost and encourage my fellow saints by letting everyone see how perfect my life was and how hard I was working. This light was not effective, either, because instead of drawing people to Christ, I turned them off by my unrealistic act. I was always complaining that no one appreciated my efforts. What I failed to realize is that our good deeds should bring glory to our Father in heaven, not to ourselves.
Finally, I have been “delivered,” is the third phase. My life and ministry are now characterized by the word committed. What made the difference was getting down on my knees before the Lord and asking Him to show me where He wanted me to serve. I then waited and watched for His answer. I did not proceed until I felt God specifically calling me to join Him where He was at work. My light is now focused as a laser, able to cut through the darkness of this world and pierce even the hearts of steel. The amazing thing about a laser is that it does not necessarily take more energy to produce such powerful results. It just takes an intensified focus. I am serving both where I am called and where I am needed. I have focused in on three ministries: my home, teaching children in my church, and Proverbs 31 Ministries.
The key to effective ministry is to focus your efforts where God is calling you and stay plugged into God! If I took a lamp and set it on a table, would it magically start shining? I could put in the most powerful light bulb, but it wouldn’t shine until it was plugged into the energy source. The first place you must get plugged in is with God. You see, in order for you to pour your life into the lives of others, God must first fill you! As you plug in to Him today, prayerfully seek what area in your life can sincerely be characterized by commitment, purpose and fulfillment.
My Prayer for Today:
Father, grant me the discipline to find time to get alone with You. Search my heart and uncover any places where I am grudgingly serving You or others. I acknowledge that I am not my own, but Yours to use in whatever way You desire. Give me a passion for whatever ministry You call me to so that I can make myself available, committed, and have a joyful attitude.
Did you find yourself in either of the first two phases that I listed? Are you complacent or complaining? If so, it’s time to evaluate where your heart, mind, time, and priorities are when it comes to serving God and serving others.
The first step in focusing our light is to pull back from all of life’s busyness and get alone in silence with God. He wants us to come to Him, calm our bodies and our minds, and know that He is in control. He has made you to serve and knows where you should be serving. Ask Him specifically where you should go and what you are to do.
“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – the trees, the flowers, the grass – grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and sun, how they move in silence. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. All of our words will be useless unless they come from within – words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.”
- Mother Teresa
Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)
Philippians 3:13b-14, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes
Living Life on Purpose (with set), by Lysa TerKeurst
Life Planning Journal (with set), by Lysa TerKeurst
Originally published Thursday, 02 June 2005.