Go therefore and make disciples of every nation, teaching them all things, baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 18:19
I love city lights. There is something magical about lights to me. The sparking white, yellow and orange glow mesmerize me every time I have the opportunity to gaze upon the beauty. Although I admit, there is even some magic in the small town city lights. I especially love to see lights from a higher vantage point.
Today, as I was flying out of Houston, our plane was small. It didn’t travel at the higher altitudes. As we climbed higher and higher, the lights remained in view. We never lost sight of the lights on the ground throughout the flight. Not only the large city clusters, but the smaller cities, the trail of car lights on the massive highways and even some lone bright lights shining in the darkness.
I remembered that as the Church we are called to be the light of the world. I felt like what I was seeing was a clear picture of the Church today. A picture of what seems to be the latest fade in the church. A picture of where many believers stand as part of the church. And a picture of what we should be as followers of Christ, as the Church.
I could see clearly the clusters of light that shine brightly together, yet had no impact on the massive darkness that surrounds them. They light up a large spot, there is a deep darkness that engulfs everything surrounding the bright lights. It may make small ripples as it adds to its territory, but only in the area directly surrounding it.
There are a lot of groups in the Church that are focused on drawing people to their theology, their congregations, their programming. They are building a name, but the name is not always associated with Christ. Mainstream media has no problem sharing parts of them, because the focus on The Kingdom is left out of much of the attention they draw. They brand a person, music, or specific group, in the name of Christ often, but they do not generally have the primary focus of drawing people to Christ of demonstrating the Spirit and power of God. People follow the brand, until the brand fails or they move on, they often miss Christ on the message.
The Bible warns of this in I Corinthians 2:4, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
We need the power to that comes from the Spirit in order to be His witness to carry forth our purpose here on earth. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
Then the car lights, traveling on the highways caught my attention. In some spots that trail of lights were constant. Congested highways I saw our call to go in Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We are called to be His witnesses, to carry His light out into the world. The local Church was called to train the saints to carry out the work of the ministry. Our lights should be moving. They should not be stationary. They should be carried into our neighborhoods, our work places, our communities.
In other areas there were multiple small clusters of lights. Towns that were far enough apart to show their separation; yet bright enough to light up more of the darkness collectively in the area surrounding it.
I pictured the multiple groups that cross geographical lines, cross denominational lines, and combine well known groups or leaders to meet the needs of a community. Much like the New Testament Church of Acts these groups focus on building the Kingdom, agreeing on what they can and setting aside those things they don’t agree on to meet the needs of those around them. You get enough of these together, and the darkness disperses in the cluster of their light.
At times, there were some really bright lone lights. It was dark, I don’t know what they really were. I thought about the believer that feels like they are all alone in the darkness. Maybe the only believer in their workplace, which feels so dark and lonely. Or the only one in the family that is willing to take a stand in Christ against family norms and traditions, feeling isolated even in a group. Or the one labeled a “Holier than Thou” even by other believers, that isn’t quite sure where they fit in with others.
Yet lights like these, often shine brightest in the darkness. They illuminate the area immediately around them, and maybe a little farther. Yet their light is something others take notice of because everything else around them is so dark. There is value in being that lone light.
There were other lights that one could faintly see in the darkness, but were still visible. Maybe small well lit neighborhoods, maybe small city street lights, again I am not sure.
I think most a Christians feel like they are these lights. They want to shine bright in the darkness, but they don’t feel like their light makes an impact. Here is the truth, if I can faintly see the light from the sky, they are still shining bright. They are light to those around them, even if they don’t realize it yet. We have to hold onto that truth. The enemy wants nothing more than for use to believe the lie and hide our light from others thinking we have nothing to give.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
As believers, we carry the light of Christ in us. We do not walk in darkness, we are called to be the light of the world. We are not called to keep the light in the four walls of a building. We are meant to let it shine and carry Him with us in all that we do. We were made to connect with other believers and allow our lights to drive out the darkness. We are called to shine brightly where we are in life and not allow the enemy to convince us that we don’t shine enough so we might as well hide our light. We have His light in us!