You are hiking on an unfamiliar trail in the wilderness when suddenly you realize you are lost. Raging rivers and wild animals are near. You dig for your trail map in your backpack, but are unable to read it because the sun has dipped below the horizon; the sky is getting darker. But you remember your flashlight, into which you insert a new battery.
Question: What is your primary concern about the flashlight? A) does the flashlight casing have an attractive color, B) does the casing have scratches or dents, C ) does the casing have a clip for my pocket, or D) does the light bulb work?
OK, it’s a dumb question. What good is a flashlight if its light doesn’t work?
In my little parable, let’s imagine the wilderness is the world we live in. You are the flashlight casing. And the battery is the Holy Spirit. Far too many of us are focused on the outside casing, my appearance, my health, my house, my relationships, my finances, and care little about whether or not the power of the Holy Spirit is using me to guide people out of the darkness. Our prayers (too many times my prayers) are centered on what we want God to do for us, rather than what He wants to do through us.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” To glorify God simply means that when others see the light of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, faithfulness, self-control, etc.) shining through me, they learn something about God and get a glimpse of Him through me.
Interestingly, the greater the darkness, the easier it is to see the light. But what good to God is a Christian who, when darkness comes, cares more for the container than the content, cares more for the outside casing than the inside power? And friends, the world is getting darker…
The number of Americans who don’t believe in God has increased by 10% in just the last 4 years; the fastest rate ever recorded.
As of January 1, the Boy Scouts of America are signing up homosexually active boys who will share tents with other boy scouts.
Our government is requiring The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity, to provide contraceptives and abortion drugs to its nuns.
40% of all babies in America are born by unwed mothers.
More people now believe that we evolved from monkeys rather than created by a Creator.
A New Mexico Christian photographer was forced to close his business for refusing to take wedding pictures for a homosexual couple.
A bake shop in Oregon was forced to close their business for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple.
Our government is again using the IRS to silence conservative organizations that do not adhere to a liberal, non-Christian agenda.
In some states, churches who offer their sanctuary for public use can no longer refuse their church facilities for the wedding of homosexual couples.
If we have the Holy Spirit in us, then we need not wonder whether or not we have the power to be “the light of the world.” The question is, on a day to day basis, what is my focus? What am I doing to overcome the darkness? Jesus promised that if showing His light in us is our focus, then He will take care of the other things. “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, then all your daily needs will be provided.”
Sadly, too many Christians live as if the darkness is not so dark, or that maybe it will go away on its own. But a big reason God allows the darkness is to show the beauty of His light through those whose hearts are focused on Him.
As the world descends further into darkness, may your light shine bright.
P.S. Here are some nonprofit organizations I support and act through in order to “contend for the faith” and hopefully let my little light shine: www.citizenlink.com (a ministry of Focus on the Family), www.lc.org (Liberty Council defends, in the courts, pro-family legal cases), www.mrc.org (Media Research Council exposes the liberal biases of our mainstream media).