August 28, 2015
By Skip Heitzig
Did you know there's a phenomenon called light deprivation? During the time of the year when there's less sunshine, a person can become moody and even depressed. The scientific name for it is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Scientists have discovered that we physically and emotionally need sunlight. So, people who have SAD will bring special light panels into their home to make up for it.
In the same way, people can't survive or thrive spiritually without Sonlight—the light of God's Son, Jesus Christ. In John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." This means several different things for those of us who follow Him.
First, it says something about our internal condition: we have confidence. Think back to the Israelites in the wilderness. As long as the cloud by day and the fire by night was with them, they didn't have to worry about where they were going; they would just follow (see Exodus 13:21-22). Following Jesus Christ is like that: The way is lit up. Your life makes sense. You have the light of life.
Second, it says something about our external behavior. The word walk in that verse is used figuratively to mean one's entire lifestyle (see Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:2; Romans 8:1). The idea is that your external behavior changes when you come to Christ. You're not self-centered anymore. It's not all about you. The worship of yourself is replaced by a pure, bright, God-obeying, God-honoring lifestyle.
Third, it says something about our spiritual influence. Zero in on the phrase "Have the light of life." It's not just that the light helps you navigate your way through life; it's that you now reflect the light. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His followers, "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). You're to be that light. I'm to be that light.
Fourth, it says something about our eternal destiny. The Bible promises that if you follow Jesus and reflect His glory now, you will be celebrated in the kingdom forever (see Daniel 12:3). After the sun burns out, all the constellations die, and there's a new heaven and earth, you'll still be shining. Jesus said as much: "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).
So often we complain about the darkness we see. We're really good at noticing all the bad stuff. But this world needs more glow-in-the-dark Christians who will say, "Okay, it's dark—but what a great opportunity for light." The darker it gets, the more the light is noticeable.
It could be that your life is in the shadows. You haven't been walking with Christ. Every step to you is uncertain and confusing. Jesus is saying to you, "Hey, step into the light. Follow Me." So, do the same thing you do when you come home at night and it's dark: you walk in the door, and you what? Flip on the light. Jesus is saying, "Come follow Me; turn on the light." That's the invitation.
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