As we close out 2022 and look towards the days and weeks ahead in 2023 and beyond, the people of God need to bring about a new, powerful Jesus movement for the 21st century, a Jesus Crusade. A crusade that will sweep through our church, our communities, across our nation, and around the world. I am talking about a movement that will recall the strayed and draw those lost in darkness into the light– the light of Christ. Part of this new Jesus crusade involves reviving and igniting the church, as a whole, in a renewed commitment to fulfilling its purpose to serve the Lord, share the gospel, and make disciples. What the church needs today is to be emboldened!
During the past two years, dealing with the global pandemic, the nationwide shutdown, and so on, Christians and churches were constrained from seeking the lost proactively. Now, in all fairness, there was and remains a degree of concern for personal safety. Still, as time moved on, Christians and churches have primarily stayed withdrawn though conditions became safer for people to interact. Simply put, we need to return to the basics, back to proclaiming Jesus and teaching others about God’s word. Therefore, in the days and weeks ahead, we will engage in messages and devotions for our winter series titled “Embolden.”
We begin with Jesus, who is now an adult, teaching His disciples the importance of letting their light shine before men. Jesus often taught using parables, and a parable is an uncomplicated story that illustrates a simple moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus said to His disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.”Matthew 5:13
Like today, salt was used as an effective food preservative and seasoning in the first century. In Jesus’s time, the people acquired salt from the Dead Sea; however, it was not pure salt but a mixture of salt and other elements. The salt would dissolve and wash away when exposed to the weather, leaving the other elements that only looked like salt but without the taste and preserving trait. So it is with some Christians today who, when facing times of adversity, allow their faith in God to dissolve and wash away, making them an ineffective preserving force of the gospel in an otherwise decaying world. Jesus also said:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16
In John’s gospel, Jesus declares that He is the light of the world, and anyone who follows Him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. So why then would Jesus tell his disciples that they are the light of the world? One modern example that helps answer that question is the moon that orbits the earth. When we see the moon in the darkened night sky, the light we see is not the moon’s light but the light it reflects from the true source, the sun. As Christians, the light we shine in the world is not our own; instead, it is the light we reflect from the true source, the light of Christ.
It is comforting to know that Jesus casts His righteous light upon everyone who has chosen to faithfully follow Him so that we will shine in an otherwise dark and dying world. When the light of Christ shines upon His followers, they are like a city set on a hill that can not go unseen. Just as Jesus said that men do not light a candle to place it under a basket, so should believers never hide the light of Christ imparted to them but stand tall as lampstands that they may give light to all humanity. We share the light of Christ in terms of how we live, the love we extend to others, and the message of good news we share that is the gospel.
The problem with many Christians today is they choose to suppress the light of Christ, to place it under a basket if you will. They do this for various reasons, such as fear, worldly gain, and the list goes on. So, as we usher in the New Year of 2022, let us renew our commitment to faithfully serve our Lord and proclaim His name to everyone we meet. Most of all, we must let our light shine brightly, which is the light of Christ for all the world to see, and if there is one thing the world is in dire need of, it is Christ. Therefore, ask yourself, “How can I let my light shine for someone today?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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