Thursday, December 4, 2014

Spiritual Life - The Lights of Christmas

It never fails, the most profound things seem to always come from the mouth of my 3 year old. He has been many a sermon illustration or communion meditation, as I can see God in the questions and comments he makes. Christmas time brings with it a lot of his favorites to include lights. The other night driving home from Target, been there 5 times in 3 days...I know it highlights the need for a support group, we decided to go see some lights. While not every house is decked out yet, there are enough to enjoy with kids. My 5 year old in a 28 year old's body and my 3 year old loved identifying everything they saw and heard as we pulled over to watch a light show to music in a neighbor's yard. We had a fun time.

The next morning my son asked me, as we were driving, where all the lights were? I explained that we don't turn them on in the day because you can only see them at night when its dark. I've heard Christine Caine share a similar story about her daughter and a flashlight and it sent me into spiritual mode. As I discussed this phenomenon with my son, and answered a long string of, "why" I realized this spoke deeply to the commission God has given us and brought a certain scripture to mind.

Matthew 5:16 - In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Our light only shines in darkness. When we congregate only with other Christians and shut out the world we are wasting our light because it is doing nothing. That is not what we were called to do. We were called to shine and that only truly happens in darkness. Being with other believers is not wrong, but our time with believers should be spent encouraging and preparing us to go out with purpose to share our light.

Its easy to get stuck in what's comfortable and easy, but that was never what we were made for! Doing life should be a little messy and uncomfortable. We should be around people that challenge our views and our norms. We need to be people who are approachable and adaptable to whatever mission field God calls us to. If we are so used to being with others like us we miss out on a great gift. Why?

1. We won't grow, and growing is what brings us closer to God.
2. We won't get a full picture of who God is - we are all made in his image and when we only seek out others like us, we only get a limited view of our Father. Sure the world can taint people but find the challenge of seeing God in everyone.
3. We will miss out on what God is doing. We were meant to be apart of something bigger than ourselves and when we put a box on our experiences we handicap God from working fully in our lives!
4. We won't fully know love! The manner of love given to us by God means loving people who hurt us, and when we know love beyond an easy mutual affinity with someone else, we begin to know what the cross was all about.
5. We won't shine. We will be a boring house with lights on it but not plugged in as the sun shines on us exposes the cords. Let the sun set and plug in so you shine and shine bright!!!

In the words of Chris Rice - "Take your candle, go light your world."