Embracing the Light!

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
-Psalm 103:2-5

Life effervescent; life overflowing; the vital principle animating–enlivening, inspiring, encouraging, giving forth ardor–burning passion, enthusiasm and zeal–all found within our Jesus–all held out to those who choose to follow after Him. Not too dissimilar to King David’s plea in Psalm 34, we find in verse four of our verses for today the Apostle John dangling this carrot before our eyes in his great desire for us to trust in Jesus the Lover of our souls–both for God’s glory and for our good. King David encourages us as follows:

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)

Satan doesn’t surrender his prey without a fight.
He comes racing after the converted soul, chariot wheels churning the dust, seeking to discourage you, to defeat you.
He pursues you with the intensity of Pharaoh.
He may use your old friends, a spot of persecution, or discouraging responses by your family.
He may show you a hypocrite in the church or afflict you with a general slacking of zeal.
He may launch a missile of temptation right at your heart or fire a volley of trials and troubles into your life.
-Robert J. Morgan

Those who belong to Jesus are offered this abundant life and are given His light within to shine forth in the darkness to a lost and needy world. Jesus transforms us from the inside out, little by little, until we “shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).

Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6) and “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

The false shepherd, the deceiver of men, the thief and killer of souls comes only to utterly destroy, decimate, demolish, and ravage. Conversely, Jesus comes to give us life and to satisfy us with His pleasing and perfect will. It is a lie from the pit of hell that Jesus is holding out on us; that He wants to make us miserable and squirm and suffer needlessly; that His way for us is somehow boring, unfulfilling, and unsatisfying compared to what the world entices us with our eyes.

Have you ever followed the world, or self, or even Satan, and seen the death that comes forth from that pursuit? The death of a relationship, the death of trust, the death of character, the death of love–and on and on it goes. If we would only play out our poor choices and actions to the end result and the consequences, I doubt seriously very many of us would continue down that path.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33
“We judge things by their present appearance; but the Lord sees them in their consequences.  If we could do the same we would be perfectly of His mind; but since we can’t, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is regarded as one of His heaviest judgments when He gives any person up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk according to their own wisdom.” (John Newton)

Defeated Christians are rampant. Defeated Christians do not shed much light.

It is only Jesus who can bring us peace within our storms of life. It is only from Jesus that we receive grace sufficient to meet our every need. It is He alone who totally satisfies. It is He alone who overflows our cups. Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God. –
Alexander Maclaren
Satan high fives defeated Christians who are called to be the light of the world–a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14) yet remain faintly flickering. I love the quote given to D. L. Moody by Henry Varley: “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man or a woman who is fully devoted to Him.”

Take It to Heart

A fully devoted follower of Jesus will shed much light for their King.

Paul gives us insightful help in Romans regarding the “how-to” of defending ourselves against Satan’s attacks and against conforming ourselves to this world allowing our lights to shine forth.The secret lies in the daily renewing of our minds through the Word of God:

There are five Gospels: Matthew Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, and some people will never read the first four.
-Irish evangelist,
Gypsy Smith

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Each one of us is to be a light for Jesus–shining His light to those who are in darkness. As Billy Graham once said, “The Christian should stand out like a sparkling diamond.”