I still remember stuffing my little red car as full as is humanly possible, preparing for my freshman year at a university two states away. Most of that stuff proved to be sorely unneeded, as I then had to find a place for it all in my narrow half of the dorm room! Little did I know that, rather than dorm furnishings, I most needed guidance on how to be light in the darkness. My faith was challenged that year in a way that both frightened me and woke me up to the ever-pervasive darkness in the world.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:5)
This verse from the book of John may paint a sad picture of the world’s lack of understanding, but it also gives us hope. The verses preceding it remind us exactly Who we represent when we cast His light into the darkness.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)
From this passage, and many more, we are given not only the truth about the dark state of the world, but also the “how-to” of being light. I pray these Scriptures encourage you, inspire you, and motivate you to be light in your own dark corner of the world.
Here are three ways Scripture tells us how to be light in the darkness.
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1. Bear Witness
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world." (John 1:6-9)
The role of a witness is to answer questions truthfully and give an honest account of what they have seen and heard. As Christians, we can be light in the darkness by responding to non-believers with truth and testifying to what God has done. Remember, it is not our job to make people believe, but to share the truth boldly and lovingly.
What do you know to be true about the Lord Jesus Christ?
What has He done in your own life?
These are essential questions that you need to be able to answer. Answering these questions prepares you to testify to the truth and to be light. John bore witness to Jesus because he knew without a doubt Who Jesus was and what He would do for the world.
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me."'"(John 1:29-30)
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2. Follow Jesus' Commands
"Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'" (John 8:12)
When you choose to follow the commands of the Lord and reject the ways of the world, others will notice. Especially when you hold fast to what is true, your light will shine. Though people may reject it, there will be some who are drawn in, curious as to why you live differently.
The challenge for us is to keep our eyes on the One we follow. For the moment we take our eyes off of the Savior, we will be tempted to slip into the darkness of the world. Just as Jesus set his face like flint toward the redeeming cross, we too must set our faces like flint toward the Redeemer.
The Bible says that if we claim to be in communion with the Lord, but walk in darkness, we are not practicing the truth. My prayer is that we will take Jesus’ commands seriously and live as light in the darkness by walking in obedience.
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:5-7)
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3. Put Yourself Out There
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
It can be a little scary thinking about shining the light of Jesus for all to see. It’s much safer to casually mention Him, in hopes of not offending anyone. However, Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 5 that His disciples were the light of the world. They were not to remain hidden. They were called to shine their light as a city set on a hill.
We are Jesus’ disciples too. We’re not meant to stay tucked away in our protected corner of the world. We are to boldly let our light shine before men!
Here are a few authentic ways to put yourself out there and be a light for Jesus:
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3 Authentic Ways to Be a Light
With a glad and willingly heart, seek to serve others in the name of Jesus. Consider joining a ministry and volunteering your time. Remember, in all the work you do, work as unto the Lord and not man. (Colossians 3:23)
Start A Blog
Have you ever considered an online outreach? If you are gifted in the area of writing, consider starting a Christian blog or newsletter. People need to hear what the Lord is pressing on your heart! Pray and ask the Lord for direction and share the light of truth with those He brings along your path.
Teach Little Ones
I can’t think of a better, brighter way to let your light shine and build the kingdom of God than to invest in the next generation. The world’s voice seems to be grow louder while God’s gentle whisper seems to grow more faint. If God has gifted you to teach little ones, be a light for His glory and know that you reaching the next generation for Christ.
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"... now you are the light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8)
Ultimately, each of us is called to be light in the darkness. That doesn’t have to scare us. Most of us can remember a time when we walked in darkness ourselves. And from that experience, we know how strongly it contrasts to walking in the light of the Lord.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8)
Just as I filled my car that day with too many things I did not need for college, we often fill our lives with things that don’t matter. Bearing witness of the Savior, following His commands, and putting ourselves out there for Jesus’ sake are three beautiful ways to live intentionally for the Lord and to be light in the darkness.
Jennifer Waddle is best known for encouraging Christian women in faith and life. She is the author of several books, including Prayer Worrier: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer,and is a contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com, Crosswalk.com and abide.is. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. You can find free resources at EncouragementMama.com or find her books here. Jennifer is also available, via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She reads every single email that lands in her inbox, and would be honored to pray for your requests.
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Originally published Thursday, 24 January 2019.