What The World Needs Now

2.3.14

There’s no need to demonstrate that this is a dark world in which we live. We know it. But I am puzzled by the cosmopolitan attitude toward sin that some Christians display. We expect the world to criticize us if we do what is right, but it seems a lot of Christians feel they are too sophisticated to recognize anything as a sin anymore. Even more, they join the world in criticizing the Christian with scruples. I find that untenable.

Grammy nominated Natalie Grant recently walked out of the Grammy Award Show early. She didn’t make a spectacle of herself, and even declined to outline the reasons for her action. But with satanic-themed performances and immoral sexual overload on the stage … there wasn’t much left for Christian people to applaud. Still, some Christians were critical of Mrs. Grant’s actions, leaving me to wonder how deeply has the dark infiltrated the light?

What happens when the Gospel of Darkness is embraced by the Children of the Light? What the world needs is light. That is what the world has always needed.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-20

The world needs light that is not characterized by judgmental yelling and finger pointing. I get that Christians do not want to be perceived as judgmental and unloving -the favorite accusation toward Christians today. Being light and salt is not about holding up picket signs and screaming at people.

The world needs light that engages in the lives of others in love. Love doesn’t call us to gather up within our walls to pretend we are not in the world any longer. Love moves us into the marketplace, among those who are hurting in the darkness.

The world needs light that  doesn’t look down its nose with sour and arrogant comments.  This is especially true in the social-media feeding frenzy. If Christians expect Christian behavior from the unregenerate, then they’ve had their eyes closed to reality.

The world needs light that exposes a pathway to the Father. Being light and salt in the world is not about exalting ourselves. It’s not even about trying to leave the impression that we’ve got it all together. It’s about showing the way to a God who loves and saves.

The world needs light that won’t go away. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up, but Jesus spent the previous verses of Matthew 5 reminding those who shine brightest that it won’t be easy. There will be times when we will be called upon to control our strength meekly and endure persecution bravely. We may be treated poorly as we try to bring about peace. We may suffer losses. Before Jesus told us to be light and salt, he blessed those who would choose that path in spite of the difficulty (Matthew 5:1-12). Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to shine like stars in the universe:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. – Philippians 2:14-15

The challenge to shine … to be light in a dark world .. is a real challenge. We’re not only going against the cultural tide, but also the the movement among Christians to so want to be liked by the world that their eyes are shut to the darkness around them. 

Tom Bodett was famous for his commercials for Motel 6, which ended with the catch phrase, “We’ll leave the light on for you“. That slogan won many advertising awards. I think something resonated with the American people in that simple expression. Every once in a while one awakens to his or her own spiritual condition and it’s nice to know that someone’s keeping the light on to show them the way to a promised rest.

On the mountainside that day Jesus told a crowd of people struggling with the same everyday problems we have that in spite of their troubles, they should leave the light on. Somebody is going to need to find their way.

Thanks for reading,

John

 

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