For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5: 5

In general, the day is characterized by visibility. There is present in it an abundance of the bright and dependable light that comes from the sun. This stands in contrast to the night when the brightest source of illumination is the elusive and less than reliable moon. In the sense of spiritual things, Christ is also that powerful and constant light source. This carries through into all aspects of life and into the way that followers of Christ live, too. Christ gives us a perfect example of what it means to conduct ourselves in a manner that can be examined under that bright light and found to be, in all matters, above reproach and without even the slightest taint of corruption. This radiance of purity, the holiness of God exemplified, fills our world with its presence as it becomes the true light that God’s own people see and that provides the clarity of eternal wisdom to all who seek to know it.

In this way, we are changed by surrendering our lives to Christ. The light that He grants to all who follow Him is transformative in the work that it does with hearts and upon minds. We literally see the world differently when Christ is the source of the illumination that makes it all visible, and everything that is made visible by Christ’s light is also made known to us through the filter of God’s Word of truth and wisdom. This new perspective on life is a great gift that God gives to His people. Yet, it is left to us to fully utilize it and to exercise it to the greatest extent possible in conducting ourselves as Christians in our world. Unfortunately, none of us do this with the same consistency as Christ exhibits in granting His love, grace, truth, mercy, and righteousness to us. Most people go through life with our eyes half closed and with our vision obscured by selfish interests, prejudices, and the outworking of our fears.

As we are new beings in Christ, so we can let go of all of these remaining aspects of our old selves by surrendering them all to Christ and submitting every aspect of our lives to the control of the Spirit and to His work within us. The statement, “We are not children of the night or of the darkness” is an affirmative one. We can enter every day that we face with it upon our hearts, implanted into our brains, and spoken as our motto upon heading out into the world. Christ has taken us out of the perpetual darkness of sin and its death shroud of separation from the glory of God, and He has bathed us in the newness of the light of his Spirit now resident within us. We can enter into the challenges and the adventure of each new day with the certainty of Christ’s presence with us in all that we will encounter. We will face into situations and we will engage with people who desperately need to know the love and the grace of the Savior. There will be many moments along the path that we follow through each day when the light of Christ pouring out from us may be the illumination that is needed to change a small corner of the world; so, I pray that in those moments I will let the glory of Christ shine out unfiltered and without restraint or restriction.   

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5: 14, 15

 

There are many bright and shiny lights in our world. We can acquire then from stores in our towns and from sources around the globe. We turn them on and they fill the space around us with their glow. But our need for light doesn’t stop with light fixtures, lamps, and candles, for we also fill our world with electronic devices that shine with the words and the sounds of others. We seem to need the presence of these luminaries in order to understand our culture and so that we can attempt to find a place in the universe. People, I include myself among them, frequently look toward celebrities, politicians, and athletes as the light that guides us away from the emptiness, the futility, or whatever else is lacking in our normal lives. All of these earthly sources of enlightenment will fade, rub off with use, and be extinguished in the process of living out our days.

 

The only light that remains at the end of all days is the singular light that was present before any of the rest of creation came into being. God was present before He devised any of this world or the universe that surrounds it. Then He proclaimed the presence of light. This light precedes even the sun in God’s creative work. Light with all of its properties of illumination, clarification, purification, protection, and health for the body, mind, and soul is a primary gift that God provided to His beloved creation. Then, in time, He would join us in our travels and in our troubles and be the light of the world so that anyone who believes in Jesus, the Christ, would never again walk in darkness (Jn. 8:12). This is the light that Jesus is speaking about in these verses from Matthew. He is that light that cannot be hidden, and His truth is the radiance that should never be concealed so that everyone can be influenced by the healing touch of its eternal glory.

 

God’s gift of the light of His love, grace, truth, righteousness, and peace has existed from before the created universe; it came into our world in the presence and the person of Jesus; and now it dwells within each of us who follows Christ. In Christ we are light bearing vessels. We have a mandate from Christ to let this light of the Gospel shine out from us in every aspect and into all of the corners of the world that we inhabit. This flame that burns within us is fed by God’s Word as we read it, contemplate its message, listen to it being taught, and discuss its meaning and application for us and for our world. It is strengthened by engagement with God through on-going prayer, and it is nurtured, encouraged, and magnified as we gather in the fellowship of God’s people, His church. As God’s people we do not need earthly sources of light or human understandings of enlightenment. In Christ, we are to be on view, boldly burning with the flame of His truth as we open our hearts and our homes as sanctuary and as places of nurture for the people of this world as they seek out the true light that saves souls and heals broken spirits.

At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Ephesians 5: 8

 

Light and dark, images that describe the two ends of the day and that also depict the beginning and the end of our earthly days as we are born out of the darkness into the light of the world outside of the womb and then we end our days by returning to the darkness of the grave. This same light verses dark concept reflects the conduct of life during the hours in the middle of our days and in the days of our earthly journey. Although, people are faced with many decisions that seem to be shaded in gradations of grey, in fact, all of a person’s personal morality and its ethical underpinning is founded upon beliefs that are either darkened or enlightened.

 

The source of all light in this world can be traced to God. He is the author of all that is just, right, loving, and merciful on earth. In the Lord’s design for this world and in its original creation, these characteristics of God were universally present. Even the darkness that was the result of the way that the earth travels in its orbit about the sun was infused with the same holiness as was the day. Yet, rebellion and sinfulness shattered that perfection and brought a counter-God force into being in all of creation. Now, as people are born into that light of the sun, we are all still darkness dwellers in our hearts and to the depths of our souls. Thus, each person starts life in conflict with the light of righteousness that is the nature of Christ.

 

However, that same Christ from whom we flee is actively and aggressively seeking after us and pursuing relationship with each person on this earth. The light of the Lord seeks to replace the darkness of sin and death in the hearts and the minds of all people, and as we accept Christ, His light becomes who and what we are. Although we are now true children of the light that is the character and the nature of God, the darkness that was ours from birth still attempts to assert itself into our daily journey. So Christ implores His followers to reject the darkness that attempts to enfold us, to confess the times when it shows up in our thoughts and actions, and to turn away from its hollow allure as we claim the victory over sin that is found in the glory of Christ in us.

Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Isaiah 2: 5

 

God created the light; as, it was essential for the new world that His hands had made. It brought warmth, it brought the growth/rest cycles that every living thing needs, and it provided the primary source of energy. Yet the sun was by far the lesser light in the world, for God’s presence brought light to the souls of people.

 

The ability to respond to the illumination of the Spirit that leads people to seek truth is what sets humans apart from all the rest of creation. God implanted into people a desire to love and to be loved, to live at a level that is above that of the rest of the animals, and to have an intimate relationship with our Creator. The Lord has continually remained among us; as, He has always stayed connected to us here while we walk through this life. God designed the world to be a place where peace, justice, compassion, understanding, and graciousness were the rule of living, and He gave us the truth of His love to guide us in our interactions. If we desire to follow the Lord and to live inside of His will, these are the qualities that we need to seek. Also, these are the characteristics that we need to show to the people around us.

 

God gave light of the sun to this world so that we could find our way through it, and He gave us the light of His Spirit to make right living the bright and the desirable path to follow. This new life in Christ is the gift that is wrapped with the shinny ribbon and the beautiful paper; we need to open our hearts to see it clearly. As we open this gift from God and live in His light, the qualities that grow in us will bring life changing warmth to our world.