Devotions

Shining Light into a Dark Place

By Mary Loudermilk
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“So that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:15, New Living Translation).

Light is a luxury we take for granted, at least until a storm brings down a wire or blows a transformer. Then, enveloped in a blanket of darkness, we lose our feeling of comfort and security. Anyone who has ever experienced total darkness knows even the smallest dot of light reduces our fear and helps orient us to our surroundings. Without light we stumble, bump into things, or trip and fall.

Some time ago, a spring storm took out the electricity in my area. I located a flashlight but discovered the batteries had grown weak over time. It helped temporarily but then flickered and died. On my next shopping trip, I loaded several packages of various sized batteries into my cart. I was determined to be prepared if there was another outage.

Matthew 5:14 says we are light to a dark world. Those around us walk in darkness and need our light to find their way. They do not know what danger lies around them because they walk blindly. Our light will pierce the darkness to show them a safe path.

“But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.” (Proverbs 4:19, NLT).

We are to be light to this world—but is our light shining in the right direction? Is it enough to be light, or must we “direct the beam” to where it is most needed? A light may shine brightly, even if no one is in the room to see its brightness. But what benefit is it? A good reading lamp, however, directed at the page of a book is effective. Keeping our light within the walls of the church does nothing to dispel the darkness in the world outside. We must direct our light to where the need is greatest.

How do we light our world? Philippians 2:15 says we must live in a way that none can criticize us—”clean, innocent lives as children of God.”  We once lived in the darkness of sin, but our lives changed when the Lord filled us with His light. We want that same transformation for others.

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:8-9, NLT).

If our lives and our words are not in harmony, then we are like the flashlight with weak batteries. We cannot pierce the darkness if our light is dim. The world will listen to what we say after they see how we live. If there are inconsistencies between our talk and our walk, they will disregard our message.

The night is dark, and many are stumbling on an uncertain path. We must make sure our light burns brightly to show them the way.

Lord, help me to be a bright, steady beam of light in a world filled with darkness and sin. I want others to experience the same safety I found walking in Your light.

 

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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