STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional
SERIES 1: The Voice of God
A Believing Voice
“You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)
Jesus has declared that we are the light of the world. In so doing, he shows that the world is a dark place. We don’t need much convincing to believe that. We are fully aware of the bigotry in the world, the racism, the immorality, the thefts, the robberies, the deceit, the cheating, the lies, the cynicism, the rapes, the abuse, the molestation, the violence, the wars, the greed, the envy, the terrorism, the arrogance, the cruelty, the treachery, the betrayals, and more. It is all so dark out here in the world that it is hard to see where the world is going, what is happening to it, and what God is doing about it.
What is not so easy to believe is Jesus’ declaration that it is we who are the world’s light. How can that be? We know of the times we have been victims of the world’s darkness, but not its light. We know of the times we have been participants of the world’s darkness, but not lights within it. We know of the times we have cowered in the face of the darkness in the world, but did not have an enlightening effect on it. How can Jesus possibly believe that we have what it takes to bring light to the darkness? How can he place this responsibility on us? To be the light of the world must surely mean to expose the darkness, but we all know how dangerous that is. Does Jesus not care about our safety? Being the light of the world must also mean to confront the evil in the world, but we all know how unpopular that is. Does Jesus not want me to be liked? Being the light of the world must surely mean being an example to the world, but we all know how difficult that is. Does Jesus not want me to be comfortable?
And this is where the struggle is. We have made safety, comfort, and popularity such core features of our identity that it dizzies us when Jesus declares an identity for us that jeopardizes those features. Jesus says that your identity is the light of the world, and that may very well cost you things that you consider parts of your identity. And if it feels like you are more a relic of darkness than light, it is because the light that we are called to be is neither a product of the world nor of our upbringing nor of our personality nor of our education nor of our culture. Jesus declares us the light of the world because only he can make such a declaration. Only Jesus has the power to call light into being where there is darkness. He does not say it because we are so wonderfully full of light that he has confidence in our capacity to shine. He is not making an observation but a declaration. His confidence is in his own ability to make lights of our dark lives.
Keep the Faith