I was in Russia for six weeks and we took a trip to the Black Sea one weekend. As night fell, I could see a huge light scanning the water back and forth. As I went to investigate, the search light became bigger and bigger – it must have been ten feet in diameter when I finally saw it up close. The purpose of that light was to search the open water for smugglers from Turkey trying to enter the country under the cover of night and I would say it was effective at lighting up the night for several miles.
The third and final installment of the banner series: Love Much, Live Well and Light Your World – moves us into the realm of influencing those around us. Like I said, I love the use of light in this last piece for two main reasons:
- Light overcomes darkness. In all cases (even black holes are defined by the light being captured around them), when light is shone into a dark area, that area is lit up. You never see the darkness able to prevail in that engagement.
- Light behaves as both a wave and a particle. Hang with me for a second. As a wave, light can travel vast distances and not be affected by gravity and other external forces. As a particle, light influences and impacts the physical world in real and tangible ways. The coolest thing is that light is neither a wave nor a particle – IT’S BOTH…AT THE SAME TIME. This means it has vast reach and real impact.
So when we talk about lighting our world, what we’re basically saying is that we (you and I) are to be sources of light shining into the dark world. Some questions immediately come to mind:
- How bright is my light (effectiveness)? If you’ve ever lost power at night and your flashlight needed new batteries, you quickly realize just how ineffective a dim light can be when you need to find your way. I think a Christian’s effectiveness in being a light to this world is how connected you are to the Father. To put it simply, moving toward God means a brighter light and moving away from Him produces dimmer and dimmer light.
- Where do I shine (intentionality)? Ever needed a buddy to hold a light when you’re working on your car or the kitchen sink? He can never shine the light exactly where you need it because he can’t see what you see. I think at times, Christians point their lights in the wrong direction and waste the lumen lighting up dead ends. Just like a third hand would ensure you get the light in exactly the right spot, I think God desires to use us in the same way. He knows where light is needed and desires to shine us right where light is needed most.
- To what end? Lighting your world can take a variety of expressions. It could be seeing a need and responding out of love. It could be telling a friend about your faith and life eternal. It could be having hard conversations with your kids about morality. It really is about responding to the world around you based on loving much and living well.
One final point about light – multiple light sources produce a brighter overall illumination. Back in the day, as more and more candles were grouped together, their combined light was more effective in overcoming a greater amount of darkness – thus the term “candlepower” came to be. This speaks directly to making sure we are moving together, in one accord with purpose.
Putting it all together:
- Be sure you are moving toward God so your light is a bright as possible
- Ask Him and courageously move where and do what He instructs
- Seek out and embrace community so we may increase our candlepower
PARADIGM CHECK: If you find yourself frustrated about the lack of response you are getting from efforts to influence those around you, examine how much you are loving and how well you are living. If you focus on step three and neglect steps 1 & 2, you may be shining your light into empty corners.
We’ve come full circle and as I consider the progression of Love Much, Live Well and Light Your World, it doesn’t seem like a linear progression any longer, but a circular one. Each step reinforces and deepens the next, but it all starts with love – may we never start anywhere else and may we never stop doing all three more and more.