In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson reminds us Jesus wants His followers to walk in the light. That's crucial in these dark days!
Some time ago, when San Diego had days of heavy rains—not common for us—I got a serious case of "The Glooms."
My nutritionist said I might actually have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). And that might be. Thinking back, I've never tolerated gloomy days well; I've always craved sunshine.
I remember one day in the midst of The Glooms when I got out of our car and suddenly, a ray of sunshine peeked through some clouds. I turned my head toward the sun and basked in its light.
Though I love the crispness of fall, I NEED the sunshine of summer.
I read about a little bird that enjoys perpetual summer. In the book God of Wonders, David A. Steen writes about the arctic tern, a mostly-white bird with a bright-red bill and tiny red legs and webbed feet. The arctic tern only weights about 3.5 ounces. When it's summer in the far north, they raise their young in Greenland or Iceland, and then when summer wanes, they take off for the Weddell Sea in Antarctica—some 12,000 miles south!
The actic tern "enjoys the most daylight hours of any creature on earth," Steen wrote. Flying in a looping, zig-zag pattern, they log the most miles during their annual migrations—24,000-30,000 miles each year, pole-to-pole-to-pole, round trip. They are so desperate for the summer sun.
Now reading that, I had a thought. I wonder how desperate I am for the light of the Son? How much do I desire to seek Him—the Light of the World? I get so caught up in seeking other things. But God has a better way.
The Lord wants me to live as a Light-Dweller.
Here are some things He's teaching me about that.
1. I'm Learning to Seek the Son.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
What we seek shows the state of our hearts—what we really crave. Sadly, I'm inclined to seek "stuff" because I love it; but oh, how I need the Son!
Sometimes the Lord has had to draw my stuff away from me before I realized what really matters. "Stuff" isn't wrong, but my inordinate affection for my stuff can keep me from seeking and loving God and desiring to live fully sold-out for Him.
I must learn to turn my head toward the Son and bask in His glory.
2. I'm Learning My Position—Light in the Lord.
When I became a Christ-follower, the Lord slowly began transforming my heart as I studied the scriptures. I learned I was once "in darkness," but by God's grace I became "light in the Lord." God wants me to discern what is pleasing to Him (Ephesians 5:8-10).
Slowly I've understood: the darkness of my spiritual graveyard is behind me. In the resurrected Christ, I should and can live in the light of my new birth.
I am a partaker of "the inheritance of the saints in light" (Colossians 1:12). That's where I belong ... in the light.
Jesus wants to shine His light on me, but I must wake up and start living like a child of light (Ephesians 5:14-17).
3. I'm Learning to Walk in the Light.
In his book study on Ephesians, Warren W. Wiersbe wrote, "Walking 'as children of light' also means reveling in God's light in our daily lives. By our character and conduct, we bring God's light into a dark world. As God's light, we help others find their way to Christ."
Yes, I need to discern what God wants and obey Him for my own good and His glory. But walking in the light is even more than that. People are blinded by Satan and living in darkness. "Only as we witness and share Christ can the light enter in," Wiersbe wrote.
I can't be sluggish in my walk of light. I must be intentional and faithful.
"Jesus bids us shine, shine for all around.
Many kinds of darkness in the world are found.
Sin and want and sorrow, so we must shine—
You in your small corner and I in mine." (Susan B. Warner)
4. I'm Learning How Light Exposes Darkness.
Light reveals truth and exposes lies. It reveals sin for what it is.
That's why some people avoid church like the plague. They will not come to the light (John 3:20); they like their sin too much.
We don't have to blast sin at every point. God wants us to love people. But the truth is, if we are seeking God, resting in Christ and walking in the light, our lives will expose others' sin in contrast.
Some time ago, a woman blasted me, saying I was "on a pedestal." She said I must think I'm "holier than others." Her words cut deep. I felt I was following hard after Christ—pursuing Him and His righteousness; but I examined my heart to see if there was truth in her statements. Was I projecting pride?
God showed me one way that might be true and I dealt with that, but in the process, the Lord showed me the root of the problem. This woman was smarting under her own sinful choices. She lashed out under the weight of her own guilt.
God nudged me to love her more, encourage her and "be there" for her if opportunities came to help. But I realized at that point, standing for righteousness is going to invite some enemies (2 Timothy 3:12). I can't be a phoney Christian—I must walk in HIS light and not put the spotlight on anything less (and especially on myself)—but I can't expect everyone will love me for that.
The self-righteous Pharisees hated Jesus, the Light of the World, precisesly for this reason, and they tried to destroy Him. When sinners saw Christ's character, they had no cloak for their sin (John 15:22).
The righteousness of Christ in us will make the lost and religious hypocrites uncomfortable; but that doesn't mean we should stop walking in the light.
I want to be a Light-Dweller. Don't you? What's stopping you? Turn your head toward the Son today, rest in Him, and walk in His light.
Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.
Graphic of Sunbeams Breaking Through a Cloud, adapted, courtesy of SeaquestDS at FreeImagesLive.
Graphic of Arctic Tern, courtesy of Pixabay.