Be a Light in the Darkness
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)
It seems like lately there has been so much awful, negative stuff going on all around us. There have been numerous devastating hurricanes and storms one right after another. Tragedies, attacks, murders and threats are happening both on grand scales and at individual levels affecting families all over the world. Suicide is wreaking havoc on the families and friends of its victims. Racial tensions are causing division. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. A lot stuff going on in the world lately just really kind of sucks to be honest! It’s dark. It’s broken.
On a side note…I have a friend that’s endured a lot of dark and tough times throughout the course of her life. No matter what she has gone through or continues to go through, she continues to stay positive even during some of the toughest times. She consistently remains a light in the darkness and a beacon of hope. This year for her birthday I got her a bracelet that reminded me so much of her that said, “The darkest nights produce the brightest stars.” More Christians need to follow her example to be a light in the darkness.
Just this past weekend my pastor did a message on “What Difference Does God Make…In the Face of Evil?” One of our pastors pointed out that in dark times it’s an opportunity for Christians to shine even brighter. One of my devotions this week also emphasized the importance of sharing hope and bearing witness of Jesus. It’s kind of been a theme that I’ve seen repeated lately—that we need to be a light.
Now, how can we practically do that?
Practical wisdom on how to be a light in scripture
Well, my key verses in the devotion I mentioned were Colossians 4:2-6:
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:2-6 (NLT)
The devotion mentioned three ways taken from this passage that we can be a witness to others and be a light in a dark and broken world: persistent time in prayer, using wisdom, and communicating with grace.
We should be praying for opportunities to be a light to others. Additionally, we should also pray that we will recognize the opportunities when they come and then seize them. We should also pray that when the opportunities arise that we will say the right things and relay our message clearly so that that the listener may understand.
Wisdom in how we live
We should constantly be using wisdom in how we live, speak, and act around unbelievers. As Christians our lives should be different and stand out amongst the norm of culture and society. Our lives should speak for us without us having to constantly argue about what we believe. The world around us is dark—we should be the light! We should be able to win people over without saying a word.
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT)
“…Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1-2 (NLT)
Wisdom in how we interact
Furthermore, when we take advantage of those opportunities to be a light, we need to use wisdom in our interactions during those moments. When using wisdom, we need not worry about our inexperience. Proverbs 9:4-6 (CSB) tells us that we can leave our inexperience behind and have understanding about which way to pursue. Wisdom will give us good judgement.
“Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” To the one who lacks sense, she [wisdom] says, “Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave inexperience behind, and you will live; pursue the way of understanding.” Proverbs 9:4-6 (CSB)
Wisdom in what to say
Also, it’s important to be led by the Holy Spirit to be able to “customize” our approach with each person to meet their unique needs in those encounters. A cookie cutter approach or a scripted message will not likely meet the needs of someone facing dark circumstances in life. If we look to God, He will instruct us in what to say. God knows the other person’s needs, and He knows their heart. He will speak through us if we’ll allow Him to do so. He will use us to be a light for those who are lost in the dark to show them the way.
“Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:12 (NLT)
“For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” John 3:34 (NIV)
Communicate with grace
Colossians 4:6 states that our speech should be gracious and seasoned with salt so that we may know how we should answer each person. I love the way the Message translation reads it…
“..Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”
1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) says to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
The way we communicate with others can definitely be a light in a dark world full of nasty, harsh and bitter exchanges. We are to be full and grace when we speak and portray the qualities of salt. Read what some of those qualities are that we are to emulate here in Part 1 and Part 2 of “Are You Salty? Do You Have the Qualities of Salt”?
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)
Take Some Practical Steps to Be a Light in the Darkness:
- Pray for opportunities to be a light to others.
- Be wise in how you live, in how you interact, and in what you say.
- Communicate with grace, gentleness, and kindness while demonstrating the qualities of salt.
These are just a FEW ways reflected in scripture of how to be a light. What are some other ways that you can think of? How has someone else been a light to you? Share with us by leaving a comment below.
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