Monday, January 7, 2013

Shining the Light of Christ

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  –John 8:12 (KJV)

I know of a pastor who several years ago accepted the call to a church in Alaska.  He and his family made the move and began their ministry.  Unfortunately, they only lasted about two years.  Neither the pastor nor his family could handle the long winters and continual nights.  He became depressed and sorrowful and eventually sought out a ministry back down here in the lower 48.  I could certainly relate to this, because I too thrive on sunshine and brighter weather.

During these months of winter, there are strategies we can employ to stay on top of our moods such as exercise and a healthy diet.  Let me add to this the importance of prayer and staying in the Word of God.  When we lack the nicer weather we prefer it is imperative that we seek the light of Christ in our daily lives.  John 8 relays the situation where an angry mob was ready to stone to death a woman caught in adultery.  They brought her to Jesus and demanded that He state His views on the problem.  They did this, of course, in an attempt to trap Him, but Jesus confronted the crowd with their own hypocrisy.  “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (V 7).” The mob, now pierced by the realization of being unworthy to condemn the woman, withdrew.  Jesus then told the woman to “go and sin no more.”

Following this tense exchange, Jesus addressed any that remained with a powerful truth; Christ is the light of the world.  Whoever follows Him will not walk in spiritual darkness, but will possess the light of Christ.  As Jesus’ followers, we have the light of Christ in us.  This light can shine in us, around us, and from us even in the darkest of days.  Rather than surrender to despair and hopelessness, which is so common during these bleak days, we can instead walk forward in faith.  One way we shine the light of Christ is to reach out in tangible ways to those around us.  Helping others is a wonderful way to beat the winter blues.  Hospitals, nursing homes, and homeless shelters are always looking for volunteers.  Shine the light of Jesus Christ by taking part in such an organization. 

There are also those right next door and on our street who need the love of Christ shown to them.  Stopping by to visit an elderly neighbor can make all the difference to someone.  According to Jesus’ definition of our neighbor, this is anyone who has a need we are able to address.  Becoming so proactive in our approach to reaching out to others will take us out of our comfort zones, and it is by such steps of faith we grow and discover peace and fulfillment we previously did not think was possible.  Practice shining the light of Christ to others and you will find the bleak days of winter seem brighter.

I spoke with a man I know who is going through a difficult time.  I am going to stop and check on him today and try to encourage him to stay strong and trust God.  Well, what do you know?  My day seems brighter already!

God bless you today.