This morning while driving to work, I marveled at the beauty of the moon and the light of the sun it was reflecting. I began to think about our reflecting the Son’s (Jesus Christ) light to the rest of the world. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (John 8:12) John calls Him “the life that is the light of men,” “the light that shines in the darkness” (John 1:4-5). The light in us is His light, the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit within us. The apostle Paul speaks of “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We have that light shining through our lives if our actions reflect the nature of Christ—His love, compassion, and forgiveness. His light shines through our attitudes, words, and deeds. When people see that our lives have been changed so that we have Jesus’ values and see the power of God at work in us, they will agree that we do have a great Savior. When they see redeemed people, they are more inclined to believe that we have a Redeemer. The Christlike life is the platform on which individual testimony becomes convincing.
The German atheist philosopher Nietzsche once said that if he saw more redeemed people he might be more inclined to believe in their Redeemer. Christians who do not have changed lives have a credibility gap. What good does it do to tell people how great our Savior is if they cannot see that we ourselves have been saved from sin? The Christlike life is the platform on which individual testimony becomes convincing.
A scoffer who was as empty of truth as he was full of bluff derisively remarked, “Religion is all moonshine.” Unwittingly he came close to uttering a remarkable similitude. The moon and Christians have much in common! What the one is to the physical world the other is to the spiritual. The moon shines with reflected light. It has no light in itself. It shines with the reflected light of the sun. So disciples (born-again believers) reflect the light of Christ. Apart from Him, we have no light to give. We can only give light as we forget ourselves in reflecting Christ….
Paul describes what true ministry is. It means being ministers of a glorious new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:4–4:6), trusting God in the midst of troubles (1 Corinthians 4:7–5:10), and speaking the message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11–6:13). Paul insists throughout the rest of the letter that faithfulness to these tasks—not eloquence, deep philosophical thought, or worldly standards of personal excellence—is the basis of a valid ministry.
God’s sovereign initiative is necessary to enable us to embrace the gospel message. Just as God’s original creative word made light where there was no light, so now God’s creative word gives spiritual life and understanding of the gospel where previously there was none.
The alternative is for the Christian to live in the dark. Scripture teaches that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6). If no light shines from your life, either you have no relationship with Christ or you are bringing dishonor to Him. It is a sad thing for someone to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and continue to live an openly sinful life. It brings disrepute to Christ and the gospel. It is a stumbling block for unbelievers. It is certainly not effective in convincing anyone that Christ has the power to transform lives. Our responsibility as disciples and evangelists is to have lives so transformed by the Word and the inward presence of Christ that everyone can see His light reflected in our acts of kindness.
I confess that there have been plenty of times in my life that I certainly didn’t “sell” Christianity – even though I was a Christian, there was not much outward difference between me and my unsaved neighbor. I wasn’t seeking a close, personal relationship with Christ. I am seeking God’s Word, listening for His still small voice and praying in His will.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) Having knowledge about God is not enough. Knowing and meditating on God’s law is what leads to changed behavior. Read “Hidden in my Heart” and “Meditating on God’s Word”. Develop a personal relationship with God; talk with Him daily and listen for His guidance.