John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
There once was a man in the market for a donkey. After finding one that suited him, he decided to test the animal before purchasing him. He took the donkey home and put him in the field with his other donkeys. The new animal strayed from the others to join the one that was the laziest and the biggest eater of them all. So the man quickly took him back to his owner. The man inquired how he could have tested the creature in such a short time. He replied, “I didn’t even have to see how he worked. I knew he would be just like the one he chose to be his friend.” The moral of this old Aesop’s Fable is that you are known by the company you keep.
Another famous fable tells of a stork who gets caught in a farmer’s trap. The farmer carefully set out to catch the cranes and geese who are stealing the seeds he is sowing, but the stork gets caught, too. The stork pleads for his release as he has taken no part in the theft. The farmer replies that since he is caught in the company of thieves, it must suffer the same fate. Hence the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Jesus came to be the Light of the World. His Arrival meant that people no longer had to grope for God, but grace opened the Gate and made the Way for all who desire to walk in its way. A commitment to Christ and to follow Him is a choice. It is a daily decision to love the Light more than the darkness so prevalent around us.
Have you ever noticed that during twilight it sometimes is the hardest to see? The time of day when soft, diffused light from the sky is giving way to darkness or at the down as the sun rises to chase the night away. I believe that if we are not careful that rather than choosing to live in the light or in the dark too many times Christians like the twilight or gray areas of life. The place where it is comfortable and easy to be complacent. Unchallenged – it seems like a careful compromise that has just enough Light to save us but not enough to expose all that is hidden deep inside.
John 3:18-21 (NLT) “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
There is no judgment against anyone who “believes in Jesus Christ. Anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged and condemned. Is believing in Jesus Christ alone enough? For God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit it is more than enough because His Grace is sufficient. I think if we could get back to the basics of Christianity and discard traditional religion to pursue a full-blown relationship with Jesus Christ – it would be simple. God’s Light came into the world but the people loved the darkness more. Why? For their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light. The Light of the World is Jesus Christ. Now…do you love Jesus? Do your actions show it?
Before answering yes or no, it is important to understand that all one must do to be saved is accept Jesus as Savior. To have the inheritance and blessings associated with making Him one’s Savior requires deciding to make Jesus the Lord of our life. If we believe in Jesus and all He has to offer, no person in their right mind would not pursue His Prosperity and Blessing which becomes available by His Grace and evident in the avoidance of sin and darkness. Could it be that we entertain darkness which drives the light from us?
I Corinthians 15:33-34 (NLT) Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.
Bad company corrupts good character. What does this mean? Does it mean that we must avoid those who do not know Jesus? Are we supposed to exist on church cliques and dictating doctrine? Should we form sects? Are we not religious enough or too religious all together? I believe that we have stopped living in the Light of His Love and so now we cannot see clearly the fine lines between love and hate, good and evil, relationship and religion. I love what Paul says in the very next verse, “Think carefully about what is right and stop sinning.” Life lived in the Light of His Amazing Love is summed up in just one sentence. Will we do it?
I Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.
One of the gifts of aging is that most people begin to care less and less what other people think about them. Call it mellowing or maturity either one may apply. As we grow in Jesus Christ, it should matter less and less to us what others think of us as well. If we embrace and embody the idea of “thinking carefully about what is right” – following Jesus becomes practical and logical rather than foreign and unattainable. I believe that this indeed means that Jesus wants us to look before we leap out in faith. He does not want rash promises or weak commitment so the Lord values our full consideration of His Word, His Will and His Way.
For those who take the time to move from random religion to a radical relationship with Jesus, these are the ones who will stop sinning. Those who think about their walk with Christ and consider Him each day. Love is a commitment. It is service that gives up our own way to be together. Paul says in his letter to the Church of Corinth, “Look, I don’t even trust my own judgment at this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t mean I am right.” We must learn to walk in the Light avoiding darkness even if it means walking alone. When it doesn’t make logical and rational sense, we must still choose to follow Jesus practically in all things. Avoiding evil.
The manifestation of spiritual demons is not surprising. There is a strong fascination in the world for things associated with darkness. I know I am being silly, after all it’s just entertainment. There have been some strange things coming about amongst our young people in our youth group as they have thought about and spoken of dark things. They are Christians. Yet even in the simplest acknowledgement of their existence invokes danger. The devil is real. His demons are dispatched. Why would we entertain such a hopeless and deadly realm when we have been given life in abundance? Consider the shows and movies that are watched without even thinking about spiritual ramifications. After all, it’s not real. Our fiction is very well someone else’s reality. Now the dramas on television encourage sympathy for the attacker rather than concern for the victims. There is a strong fascination with the occult and dead things. I do not understand how a man or woman filled with the Holy Spirit can watch something like The Walking Dead and not be stirred on the inside to turn it off. No judgment. No condemnation. I have my own struggles with staying in the Light and avoiding all darkness just like you – but shouldn’t we at least try?
Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT) “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
We must evaluate the contents of our heart and mind each day for genuine faith and hopeful credibility. No longer entertaining darkness but encouraging the Light of God’s Love in all things. Our eye is the lamp to our body that provides light for our body. Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Our ears are the gateway to our mind. The helmet of salvation covers our mind against spiritual attacks. We will not win the war until we decide to listen to those things that edify our soul. Our heart must be overwritten with God’s Word to change us from loving sin to loving our Savior. We have been given the Mind of Christ. His Spirit teaches us all things and guides us in Truth. But if we do not love the Light more than darkness…what’s the point?
Religion doesn’t matter. Going to church doesn’t save you. Crying at the altar can become a quick fix but there is a long-term solution. We must think about it. Stop being religious living in radical obedience to the Lord which means ridiculously loving all people. We love them most when we see them through the eyes of Jesus Christ. When I see videos of soldiers returning home from duty, I cry every single time. Why? I have welcomed a son home safely. I cry when my friends in the fight post praise reports during and after treatment. Why? I have had my share of bad ones. I cannot live this life for Jesus and avoid judgment if I love darkness or choose to live in it. It is in totally surrendering our life to the Light of His Love that we can see clearly the Gift of Grace that we are given and take full advantage of every blessing that the Father has promised.
Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
To live in God’s Peaceful Presence means that we must follow Jesus. Fixing our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Thinking about the excellent and praiseworthy things rather than always griping and complaining. Keep putting into practice all that you learned and received from me. Jesus did not make up a bunch of complicated rules and religious opinions to bind us to a doctrine nor did He give us grace as an excuse to sin. It simple think about ways not to sin. Why can’t I sin? It separates me from Jesus. I will not leave darkness behind if I love it. I cannot follow Jesus wholeheartedly if I live a sinful life.
Our life cannot contradict our commitment to Christ and be valid. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. His Peace will guard our heart and mind when I live in Christ. Worry, stress, fear and doubt are all contrived from areas of unsurrendered space in our heart ready to be given to the Lord. The Lord is not looking for perfect people. Light will always drive darkness away. To allow darkness to remain in our heart, mind, soul or body is to live in rebellion against God and declare to love it more than Light who is Jesus. Look at the company you keep today are they Light Lovers or darkness dwellers – it matters. God is looking for those who are drawn to the Light or they will quickly be returned to their owner. Lord, examine my heart today for darkness. Jesus shine the Light on Your Love on anything that offends you are causing a separation in our relationship. Let my love for you be fully expressed from the depths of my soul! Amen.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.