Photography is all about capturing light and darkness. Freeze framing a moment, when a ray of light beams in a particular way, on the object or person being photographed. Darkness is just as pivotal, like stars up in the heavens, that are exposed at night.
I have always struggled with the light and the dark. The secular and the sacred. The church and the world. Philip Yancey says it best:
“Sometimes I feel like the most liberal person among conservatives, and sometimes like the most conservative among liberals.”
We do make a huge mistake by camping out, stubbornly, on either side. Aren’t Christians supposed to reflect the Light of the world to folks in deep darkness? I get it. Some people love their dark worlds, while others are desperate to get out.
The late Chuck Colson entered the dark world of prison, when he was sentenced in 1974, due to his involvement in Watergate. Before then, in 1973, as he was facing being arrested, he met Christ in his car in the driveway of his friend, Tom Phillips, who explained Christianity to him. During that time, Newsweek magazine questioned the sincerity of his conversion. Other critics said his “religion” was a ploy to reduce his prison sentence. After serving his sentence, he shined his light by founding Prison Fellowship. It is the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. His prison ministries also extended internationally to 120 countries. Of his many books, he wrote Kingdoms in Conflict, which is one of the most balanced volumes on the tension between the church and the state. From that book, Colson wrote:
“When Christians either lack knowledge or are insecure about what they believe, as is the case with many today, they forfeit their place in contending for theological truth, and secularism advances.” Yeah, some believers are afraid to stand up for their so-called beliefs, which they are not even sure about themselves, so they take a back seat. Their light doesn’t glimmer, or shine.
One of Jesus’ disciples, John, wrote:
“God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” (3:19b-20, NLT)
When Jesus Christ invades this world for the second time, Revelation says, “And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.” (21:23) Until then, we are the light bearers. When a pastor told me years ago, that it would be depressing if I took teenagers to visit the elderly in a nursing home, I responded, “No, it is depressing if we don’t go!” Off we went and those lonely souls were ministered to, for many years. John also said, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (1:5, NLT) Where will you shine your light?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”
4 thoughts on ““Shadows and Light” (Influencing The World: part 1)”
How strange…. as of just last night, God opened my eyes on an instance of His light shining through us. This devotional is so deep and real that I pray there will be a revelation to everyone who reads it. Excellent… and once again, I say Thank You for sharing. I love your LIGHT shining in the DARKNESS of this world.
I covet your prayers that I would not get in the way of shining that light.
You certainly know how to put it all together to make us take a step back and really think on how we can best show our light. I’m afraid I am lacking in so many ways and yet I am reminded that when we least expect it we see God work in the simplest of ways when we need it the most…through a smile, an act of kindness, and the power of prayer. Thank you again Nelson…. great blog!
Yeah Anita I am also challenged by my own stuff. Everybody has something to work on, like they say at MetLife all the time!
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