Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vision Problems

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

People are watching you! What do they see? What they see has an influence on them. And it should. You see, Jesus told us that we would have an influence in this world, yet so many of us Christians are no different than the world.

George Barna's research has shown that the average Christian in the average evangelical church is almost indistinguishable from the rest of society. He is not talking about being different in some artificial and outward way that you might see in some legalistic churches. Rather, he is talking about the fundamental moral and ethical difference that Christ can make in how we live. When our teens, supposedly saved, get pregnant and do drugs at the same rate as the general teenage population - when our marriages end in divorce at the same rate as the rest of society - when we cheat in business, or lie, steal, and cheat on our spouses at the same statistical level as those who say they are not Christians - something is wrong.

Perhaps that is the reason why our influence has not been felt in a way that points people to Jesus. Think of it, over 25% of the population of America claims to be born again. Based on the impact they are having, that cannot be true. But what if there were over 50 million true Christians in America. In reality, you wouldn't even need that many. Just what would happen if the ones we have would really start living like they were saved!

How clear this illustration is of the life and ministry of the one who follows and displays the life of Christ who Himself is seen as the "light of the world." (John 8:12). The concept of "light" is one that all can grasp and apply.

It is a Needed Light
It is the fact of darkness that presses the need for light. While the nature of darkness is not described, the need of light speaks to the need.  In scripture, darkness is seen as negative and representative of sin and death. Ephesians 4:18 speaks of those darkened in their understanding and separated from God. Walking in "darkness" is detrimental to our lives.

God, Christ and salvation are all seen as "light" in the Word.  Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

The need of light is not difficult for us to comprehend for we too live in a world of darkness.
The oppressiveness and defeat of sin is a darkness for which many turn to counseling for "light".
Dark are the feelings of insecurity, fear and isolation therefore many need light for security and peace and to better their lives.  When men spoke of learning that changes the world about them they used the term "enlightenment." Jesus is the "enlightenment" needed for man in any age to discover meaning and fullness in life.

The world does not suffer so much from the bad ways of bad people as it does from the good people who have very bad ways of doing good. Does your life make a difference? What kind of difference do you make? Jesus is clear that we are to make a difference. This week we are going to look at the explicit implications of what Jesus is saying and apply them to where we live. As you read these devotionals examine your own life to see where you can flip the switch to be the light to those around you.  

Scripture to Claim: "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."  John 3:19

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