Wherever you are today, whose life can you brighten in a simple way?
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
The news headlines drifted in from the living room as I sat at my desk. The story of yet another tragedy contrasted so sharply with what I was writing that I stopped, sighed and leaned back in my chair. A sense of despair washed over me.
"Lord," I silently prayed, "is there anything I can do about the darkness in this world? It seems so overwhelming."
I sensed a gentle whisper within my heart replying, "The only way to get rid of the darkness is to add more light."
Darkness is the absence of light. Trying to go after it directly is like chasing your shadow. You can't bag it up and throw it away. Only light is powerful enough to make the darkness disappear. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that we are the light of the world. We are called to shine. But the light we share is not our own.
From the very beginning of creation, God has been the source of light both spiritually and literally. Genesis 1:2b-3 says, "Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (NIV).
Imagine a world full of darkness. Then with four small words, light blazes forth. Every living thing in our world relies on light for its existence — plants, animals and people. The God who brought light to the world also brings it to our lives. As 2 Corinthians 4:6a says, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts" (NIV).
The best part of all is that we don't have to be like the light bulb that said, "I have to find a way to shine!" The light bulb went to a self-help meeting to learn about its inner capacity for light. It read books about how to get brighter. Each morning the light bulb would get up and recite positive affirmations. "I am a light bulb. I believe in myself. I will shine!" But nothing happened.
Eventually the light bulb became weary and discouraged. It began to doubt who it was and what it could do. It almost burned out completely. Fortunately, one day the light bulb was carefully placed in a fixture. Light burst forth and filled the room. The light bulb finally understood. The key was not to try harder but to plug into the source.
Trying to shine on our own can be exhausting. Instead, we're simply called to be closely connected to God and remain in Him. When we do, His light pours forth through us in powerful, brilliant ways that change the world. The ways we shine might not make the news, but they make even more of a difference than we can see.
Lord, thank You for being the light within us so we can shine brightly for the world around us. When it seems darkness is crowding in, use us to make a difference. We ask that You will help us share Your love, joy and peace — especially this time of year. You are the hope we need and the One light that will never burn out, be overcome or fade away. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Daniel 12:3, "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." (NIV)
Isaiah 60:20, "Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Whose life can you brighten in a simple way wherever you are today?