Walking in the Dark

We live in a world that seems to be growing increasingly dark. Morality has taken a nosedive, tolerance of everything besides Christianity is the norm, drug and alcohol abuse and misuse are rampant, a racial divide continues, craziness that we’ve never witnessed before arises frequently, and the idea of putting others first is almost nonexistent. Those are just some of the things that are going on. As a whole, our society and culture doesn't seem to be improving. It seems to be growing angrier and far less kind. Sadly, I think the way may get even darker. So how exactly do we as Christians navigate in this world?

Good question. You might be able to guess by now that I do not have an easy answer. The apostle Paul said that we shine like stars in the universe, Jesus said to let our light shine and that we are the light of the world. In a darker world the light ought to be even more visible! Here’s some suggestions: First, our world needs honesty and kindness. Your friends do not need you to be so "holy" in order to point them to Jesus. They do need you to be real. Be willing to confess, to let people know that you struggle too. That you have wayward thoughts, are tempted, and are prone to blow it. Let them know about forgiveness and hope and where to find it. Let them know about a savior who loves us while we were still sinners. Be kind because most people are hurting somehow.

Second, live in freedom. What I mean is don't get bound up in a lot of religious trappings. Love Jesus, love people, and walk with God. An Old Testament prophet put it this way: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Well said. Do what's right, have your convictions, be unafraid to call sin for what it is, but Don't think you have to be politically correct, or morally superior. Just love others and let God’s grace ooze out. The aim is to be like Jesus. His was a self-sacrificing love, he tended to “see” people and not their particular issue or sin. Try to do likewise.

Third, know that this world is not home. We are only passing through. Don't get too attached or fall in love with the things of this world because that's a trap we all fall into from time to time. Easier said than done. The things of this world are attractive for a time, and they can make us feel better about ourselves, feel as if we've "arrived", but long term they never satisfy. Live simply. The only things I know that go with us to heaven are not things at all, they are people. Invest your time and resources there.

Lastly, the walk we are on involves constantly running back to Jesus. That involves his Word, prayer, good thinking, confession, and the things that personally help you fix your eyes on him. Your walk with God will have some things in common with others, but not everything. Since each of us are unique, God is able to give you a unique way to connect with him. Go there often. And worry less about what others think. It's just healthier. This is a dark and often dangerous world. Our Lord is the good shepherd and he will lead us through the minefield of life, and ultimately, safely home.

Pete Nelson