Tag: living in the light

Living in the Light: Looking Up and Lighting the Way for Others to Follow: Part 1

 In Your light we see light (Psalm 36:9).

The Value of Created Light

Light naturally affects everything around it. It is necessary for living and greatly enhances the quality of life.

The loss of sight is devastating. Those who are born blind can learn to live within the confines of the dark and those who become blind later in life can adjust; however, no one ever chose to live in a world of darkness.

Even a blind person depends on certain properties of light for their existence. Light is necessary for the development of food. Photosynthesis starts by taking energy from the sun converting it into something plants use for their life processes. Animals make use of this energy when they eat the plants. This consumption of energy continues all the way to the top of the food chain. Nearly all life on earth benefits from food as a result of a few bacteria and photosynthesis in plants.

Many sighted people, especially children, are afraid of the dark. However, when light illuminates a dark place, fears of the unknown and the unseen are often dispelled. A lamp, a flashlight, a candle or electric lights can expose what is really there. Monsters created in the shadows disappear.

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal depression that occurs the same time every year, most often during the cold, dark days of winter. The curative properties of light are the prescription for this malady.

On one of those cold days, there is a vast difference between walking in sunlight and walking in the shadows. Sunlight brings warmth and comfort.

“Einstein said that the reason he could construct the theory of relativity was because there is one thing in the world that is unchangeable. That one thing-the speed of light-is the only constant in this physical, material universe” (Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.). Light brings knowledge and understanding.

Lighthouses have distinctive light patterns, enabling mariners to identify their location. Even though many ships now have GPS capability, their captains often still trust in lighthouses to give them direction.

Spiritual Light

The value of light is far reaching both physically and spiritually. God is light (1 John 1:5) and His Son is the Light of the World (John 8:12). Jesus said His followers are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). The Apostle Paul said Christians should live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8) and the Apostle John said we should walk in the light as Jesus is in the light (1 John 1:7).

Looking to the Light saves from a life of darkness, provides nourishment, dispels fear, provides healing, warmth and comfort, and gives knowledge, understanding and direction.

Light in Scripture

Light is so important to God that He mentions it thirteen times in the first eighteen verses of Genesis and ends Revelation with references to it. On the first day, He spoke light into existence and separated it from the darkness. On the fourth day, He made two great lights to govern the day and the night.

Throughout Scripture, light is a recurring theme either as eternal light, created light or shared light. The last two chapters of the Bible tell us that the sun or the moon will no longer be needed as light, for the Lamb is the light. The light that God created to shine in the darkness pointed to the Light of the World. He was Light before the foundation of the world, came so that we might see the Light, and will reign forever as the Light of heaven. In the new heaven and the new earth there will be no more night. There will no longer be anything associated with darkness: no more death, no pain, no fear, no sorrow, no impurities.

Masquerading Light of Death

There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death (Proverbs 14:12).

The god of this world fools many people of the world with the wisdom of the world. Satan, the father of lies, appears as an angel of light. As Adam and Eve discovered in the garden of Eden, believing his lies results in death. Satan’s goal is to keep people from looking to Jesus, the Light of the World, and trusting Him as Savior.

The Age of Enlightenment, a dark period in the history of the world, left God out of the picture. “Enlightenment was a desire for human affairs to be guided by rationality rather than by faith, superstition, or revelation; a belief in the power of human reason to change society… ” (Wikipedia: definition by Dorinda Outram). It has become obvious that human reason has not changed society for the better. Without God, there is no understanding of right and wrong. There is no light.

As I travel internationally to teach the Bible, I am aware that many are still ignoring the presence of the Light of God. In many cases, people are creating their own belief systems without checking the validity of God’s claims on their lives. Instead of looking up, they are looking inward. Satan, as an angel of light, is very subtle with his temptations. It never occurs to many who listen to his lies that they are doing his bidding because they prefer evil. The Apostle Paul instructed believers to get rid of any deeds of darkness and wear an armor of light. Although Satan continues to lead many astray, God enables His children to live in the light in a world of darkness.

Examine John 1:4, John 3:19-20, Romans 13:12, 2 Corinthians 4:4

Living in the Light

The light of life is a beacon shining throughout the word of God. After his testing experience, Job said, God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life (Job 33:28 NIV).  Since God is the believer’s dwelling place (Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV), the light of life is home to His children. David said, For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life (Psalm 56:13 NIV).

Christians have an eternal life which began the day of their new birth. They have received the light of life. It is only possible to live in the light if you know the Light. Jesus shared the characteristics of being the Light of the World with His believers. As a result, Christians are also the light of this world and can penetrate the darkness. As lights upon a hill, Christians are to have a Christlike influence on those around them.

Lighting the Way for Others to Follow

As the Light of the World, Jesus provided some unusual leadership principles to equip His believers to light the way for others to follow.

Many leaders in the secular world provide good practical advice on leadership. They command an audience because of their achievement of their business goals. By sharing their expertise, they can lead others to succeed in business.

Christians, however, regard that privilege from a different viewpoint. Emphasis on Christian leadership is based on one model only. Jesus is the example of leadership for Christians. Paul understood that principle well as he encouraged others to imitate him as he also imitated Christ. As the psalmist recognized the written word of God as a lamp to his feet and a light to his path, we also acknowledge that Jesus, the living word of God, is truly the Light worth following.

Even if you don’t realize it, you are a leader. Someone is watching you and following your example. It may be a child, a spouse, a coworker or a neighbor. None of us are without influence. If you are a believer in Christ, His expectation is that you will light the way for others to follow Him.

In part two of this Bible study, seven Christian leadership principles founded on the Light of the world are examined.

For further study:

Research other scripture on light.  Reflect on whether the reference is to eternal light, created light or shared light and how each applies to living in the light.

For further reflection and/or discussion:

  • How can you recognize true light and masqueraded light?
  • Of all the unique statements Jesus made about Himself, what is special about the Light of the World to you?
  • Have you noticed a difference in characteristics of leaders in the church and leaders in the business world?  If so, what are they?  If not, what does that mean?
  • There are many movies and books that deal with darkness and light (for example: the Star Wars).  What, if any, revelance does that have to God’s references to light?
  • Have you ever had a sudden understanding of a Biblical concept that you have been researching or wondering about?  Did you feel like “a light came on,” a revelation in your mind?  Examine Psalms for scriptures that might explain what happened to you.

© Stephanie B. Blake

Download Living in the Light Part 1

Living in the Light: Looking Up and Lighting the Way for Others to Follow: Part 2

This Bible study deals with Christians taking seriously Jesus’ command to be the light of the world. Part one gave some general physical and spiritual principles of light. This last part completes the description of some leadership qualities that was endowed to believers by the Light Himself. 

Leaders are First Followers: They Must See Before They Can Guide

Every one of us was spiritually blind until our eyes were opened and we invited the Light of the world to take control. No one can be led to light by someone who does not see. Jesus cautioned against the blind leading the blind.

The essential prerequisite for a Christian leader is that he follows the Light. He has a foundational relationship with Jesus, the origin of light. Since he follows the Light himself, he can lead others to follow the light.

Just as Jesus empowers His followers with His light, He does so not only for our benefit, but for others. Light is meant to be shared. We are not the light with a capital “L,” but a reflection of the Light. The light of life living within Christians should be evident to others. Just like John the Baptist, we should bear witness of the light.

Someone once told me she believed that a good man she is acquainted with who attends church regularly but denies the existence of Christ was a secret Christian. I heartily disagree. If, as Jesus says, those who believe in Him are the light of the world, there is no such thing as a secret Christian. A Christian is light only because he has looked to the source of light, the Light of the World. Light does not belong under a bushel. It is meant to be on a lampstand. As such, it can penetrate the darkness and help others see their way.

See Psalm 27:1, Psalm 36:9, Matthew 15:14-16, John 1:8, John 8:12.

Leaders Lead Others Where They Have Been

Spiritual birth is the beginning of an eternal journey. Good leaders do not stagnate. They keep moving. Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, is a narrative about that journey. The best leaders lead because they have already gone down the road they are encouraging others to travel. They are constantly learning, looking to the Light for guidance. As our example, even Jesus learned obedience.

As Jesus did, leaders lead by example. That is understood in the secular world as well. Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing.”Military leaders who generate the most respect and loyalty are those who go with their troops into battle. Many politicians have campaigned on the basis of their identity with the common people. Most successful business leaders achieved their success through hard work in their field. Having “been there, done that,” leaders can give guidance.

Leaders of light do not lead by intimidation but by example. They take time to develop their own relationship with Christ. They know their limitations. They ask Christ to expose any darkness in their life that can adversely affect their influence. They are willing to be conformed to the character of Christ. They agree with Paul that to shine as light in the world, they must become blameless and harmless. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf said, “Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

See Romans 8:29, Philippians 2:14-15, Hebrews 5:8

Leaders Share Only the Truth

Just as Jesus brings revelation of things as they really are and dispels the fear of the dark, Christian disciples always point those they are trying to lead to the light of Truth. They recognize the natural tendency to fear what one does not understand. Leaders will spend time getting their facts straight.

Unlike many politicians who will only want to say what is popular, Christian leaders must tell the truth. What they teach will be truth even if it is hard for others to hear. That means that a Christian leader is a student of the Word. They don’t fake their knowledge because they have asked God for wisdom in their leadership.

See Psalm 43:3, Psalm 119:105, James 1:5

Leaders are Diligent Workers

The role of leadership naturally means that you will not do all the tasks yourself. No one thinks a micromanager is a good leader. Although the leader may be able to do everything required to get the job done, he does not do it all. His strength lies in being able to recognize the capabilities of those he is leading. However, that does not mean the leader stands idly by and watches others do all the work. The difference is the assignment load. A good Christian leader will take full responsibility for providing the guidance that his team needs to do the work. He will make good use of his time and just like a traffic light, know when to signal others to go, wait, or stop awhile.

The remarkable example that Jesus gave of leadership was in his instruction for his followers to take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29). Life is hard work in itself, but those who look to the Light for leadership will find that Jesus shares their burden. Gentle is sometimes translated meek. Meekness is often associated with being feeble or weak, but that is not the case at all. The best definition for meekness is strength under control. The great Lion of Judah is also the sacrificial Lamb of God. Jesus inspires confidence because he embodies strength and decisiveness as well as a gentle caring for those he leads.

See 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6,8

Leaders will Care About Their Team

This can be an unusual leadership quality in the secular world. Business leaders can be so results oriented that many times people’s lives are trampled in the process. These are not good leaders, to be sure, but how many people have been injured by someone else’s climb to the top?

Concern for others is a trait of Christian leadership. Just as it is easier to travel a road that is well lit rather than one that is dark, Christian leaders care about providing the light that is needed to get the job done. Whatever is needed for others to be able to fulfill their calling in life, a good Christian leader will find time to provide. Goodness and compassion are hallmark traits of a leader worth following.

See Ephesians 5:8-10

Christian Leaders Work Within the Context of the Body of Christ, the Church

Jesus appeals to our logic by stating that no one lights a lamp, hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. A lamp is meant to be placed on a stand to provide illumination. Jesus refers to churches as lampstands. The church is being observed. When Jesus is not the leader, the head of the church, the light of the church is being hidden. The church, the Body of Christ, is designed to give off light so that others may see Christ and glorify God.

See Isaiah 2:5, Luke 8:16, Revelation 1:20

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. . . (1 John 1:7).

Leaders Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Good leaders recognize that nothing would be accomplished without the team that works under them. They will recognize and honor those who do the work. They are quick to praise when a job is well done. The Apostle Paul had a prayer of thanksgiving for the recipients of his letters (in every case but one). Committed believers would love to finish the assignment God gives them, whatever that is, and hear him say, “Well done.”

Christians must recognize where the source of all ability comes from. Whatever is accomplished in the life of a believer is the work of the Holy Spirit. The light of the believer is not equal to the Light of the World. It is reflected light. Our light is bestowed upon us so that God’s light can shine through us and give him glory. We are not the sun, but we can walk in the sunlight. The Christian leader walks in the light of Christ and lights the way for others to follow.

See Matthew 5:14-16, 2 Corinthians 4:4

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

For further study and discussion

Examine the scriptures given after each section and discuss the influence of light.

© Stephanie B. Blake

Download Living in the Light Part 2