But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

John 3: 21

 

Black and white form a stark contrast when they are placed next to each other, for they are strikingly different and obviously so. Patterns painted in these two colors are easy to identify and relatively easy to paint as the black will always cover over the white. Yet, outside of paint schemes and Harlequin makeup, most of the world where we live is not so easily discerned. Black bleeds into white and grey is formed, and some greys are light and wispy like soft clouds, and some are dark and ominous like a rain storm that is ready to let loose.

 

Jesus is telling us that it isn’t so much the color that we are painted that matters; rather, it is the way that we choose to go that counts. There is true light and dark in our world, but this can be challenging since we people, by nature, are big on defining and determining right and wrong based upon our own needs, wants, and desires; thus, we often start to try to paint over our world with our cans of black and white paint. We spray the things that we want to be good and acceptable with our can of white, and we coat the things that we view as bad, wrong, or inconvenient with the black. Unfortunately, we often cover people with our spayed on values. When we are in the midst of tagging our world, we aren’t following Christ’s way of grace that creates movement toward reconciliation.

 

God gives us the true light in a darkened world. He provided us with its perfect living source in Jesus, and He continues to bring light to us through the presence of His Spirit. When we hear the safety briefing on an airplane, we are always told about the string of lights that are set into the center aisle to lead us to safety if something really bad happens. I can tell you with all sincerity that I have no desire to ever use those lights. In a world that is suffocating in confusion and deception, Christ provides an illuminated pathway to safety that is much clearer and more certain than the plane’s ribbon of lights. He gives us the eternally bright truth of His Word, the brilliance of His people, and the leading of His Spirit to direct our steps to safety and to strength. Move toward and into the light and the glory of God will surround you; live in truth and the brilliance of the Lord will radiate from you.

 

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But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

John 3: 21

 

It is the Christmas season and people are decorating their homes and places of business in festive colors and with bright lights. I truly enjoy the sparkle of creativity that comes out during this time of year. The lights are especially attractive to me. It is as if our homes and city streets are putting on their best jewelry to wear to a very special party. Of course, we know that this is true. We are celebrating something that is far greater than anything else in history. These parties and other expressions of joy and of reverence are engaged in remembrance of a birthday, but I suggest that the birth being celebrated is not just that of Jesus.

 

The joy that is felt is that of humanity’s birth out of the death of sin’s separation from God and into the life that is found in Christ. Jesus was born, raised into adulthood, lived among us, and died the sacrificial death that restores us to God’s graces. So, as we string the lights on our homes and around our trees, we are expressing our delight and appreciation for that work of restoration that God engaged so purposefully. These strings of lights are a representation of what Christ brings into our world. They shine brightly for a season, but the Lord desires for His people to shine out into the darkness of all times and seasons.

 

The true things that Jesus was speaking about are those ways of thinking and acting that are a human expression of the gospel. In Christ we can be bold and fearless. We are granted the grace that we need to expose our own sin and depravity to our God with the certain knowledge that He has forgiven us and that He will heal us from their destructive effects. As we dwell in the restorative light of Christmas come we are called upon by Christ to step out into our world in order to bring the light of righteousness, grace, and love into its darkened corners. I think that our Lord is delighted when He sees the streets of our world illuminated by the light of His truth as His people live it out.