Be a Light in the Darkness
“The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (MEV)
Throughout the five books in the New Testament attributed to the Apostle John (The Gospel According to John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation), we see an unwavering perspective of God as the light in a darkened world, an inextinguishable flame of truth and hope. When we walk in that light, John tells us “we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7).
In a similar way, Jesus tells each of us in Matthew 5:16 to “make your light shine.” What, exactly, does it mean for us to make our light shine in fellowship with others? How can we follow Christ’s example of being a light in the darkness?
The truth is, we can all be a light for others. Another truth is we all need the light in each other, especially in times of darkness.
But what does it mean to be a light to others?
It means doing our best to live each day on purpose and in a way pleasing to God. It means showing kindness and compassion to others and yourself. It’s about looking for opportunities to be more like Jesus, to lift others up, and to do the right thing. It also means making a mindful effort to let your light shine brighter and help others discover their light.
Most of us know someone who lights up a room when they enter, making everyone feel comfortable. Their very presence is like a warm hug and a ray of sunshine on your face. You’re always happy when you’re around them and you feel blessed when you leave.
The interesting thing about people who are such a joy to be around is that they all seem to have similar traits. Let’s look at four of these traits and see how we might learn from them.
Gratitude is a powerful way to live and show the light within us. It can change us and our circumstances in ways that are nothing short of miraculous. Consider this – if we always complain, or play the victim, what does that say about us? Sure, we all have tough times and it’s okay to admit when we’re struggling, but we should always keep our attitude as positive and grateful as possible (Philippians 2:14). Even in the most difficult circumstances.
How do we do this? One way is to start a gratitude journal thanking God daily or even weekly for the blessings He has given. We always have something to be grateful for.
Empathy for Others
A person who exudes gratitude and is a light for others truly cares for the people around them. They focus on encouraging and supporting their brothers and sisters to know God and understanding the worth they have in His eyes.
Empathy doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with what the people around you are doing. It means to understand why it is happening and then helping the person to live a better life. Consider the example of Christ, who spent nearly all his time with those suffering from broken lives and sinful natures. He loved them while still calling each one to turn from their brokenness.
Empathy is one of our most important callings as believers in Christ, and the essence of his command to love others as we love ourselves. As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
How do we do this? One of the most immediate ways is simply to study God’s Word in how He wants us to love others, then pray for His guidance in whom to comfort.
Words have lasting impact! They can literally change someone’s life. Our words can tear down, they can inspire, they can teach. They can promote life or death, victory or defeat, insecurity or confidence, weakness or strength, trust or doubt. Words are the mirrors of our hearts, (Matthew 15:18) and have power when we share them. So use your words wisely, always searching for ways to encourage your brothers and sisters.
How do we do this? Everyone has natural gifts and talents. Encourage someone today by recognizing their individual strengths or gifts.
A person who exudes joy from within loves God, themselves, and those around them. They understand the depths of God’s love and the grace He continually pours out for us (1 Peter 1:8). Joy from within comes from embracing that love and living life in awe and admiration.
How do we do this? Immerse yourself in God’s word to understand the love He has for you, taking time reflect and understand what an amazing gift His Grace truly is to us.
One of the most surprising gifts of shining your light is that your family, friends, and community will want that light to shine also in them. Be the light and live out your faith with your full heart and spirit. AMEN!
May God continuously lead your path.