Lights in the Darkness
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”—1 Peter 2:9
Thank you for your willingness to be counted as Jesus’s disciple, even though you live among those who do not share your beliefs. He has called you to be light in the midst of darkness. Many around you live in darkness they have not yet embraced Jesus as their light. Many of those in the darkness often do not understand or even recognize the light.
Being Jesus’s lights in the darkness can be difficult when it comes to your relationships with the people that you love, that you care greatly about. You know that you’ve found the best thing in life and you desperately want them to have it too. Sometimes they accept your faith but they don’t open themselves to partake of the gift of His salvation, or the blessing of His words and truths that you want to share with them.
Don’t despair and don’t give up when you find yourself in a situation like this. Continue to love your loved ones and friends and acquaintances with God’s love. Let them see the joy on your face and the peace in your heart. Continue to be an example to them of His power at work in your life. It’s your job to be living proof of God’s power through your witness and the example of your life, but only the Holy Spirit can work through their choices to bring about the changes in the hearts of others.
“Your speech should always be winsome, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you must answer each person.”—Colossians 4:6
Thank you for being willing to be “in the world but not of the world.” Jesus knows the challenges you face in being true to your convictions and to His Word, and at the same time relating to the significant others who are part of your life. He knows it can be discouraging when those close to you have a hard time understanding or accepting the love and witness you want to give them.
As King Solomon once so wisely said, there is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose under heaven. There is a time to sow the seed of God’s Word and witness, and a time to simply be a good friend and co-worker, while praying for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of others. The love you give others through praying for them is never wasted.
The fact that someone is not yet ready to open their heart and spirit to Jesus today or tomorrow, or even next year, does not mean that they will not do so someday. So keep being a good friend and reflection of Jesus to those He brings into your life.
Try to keep the doors of communication open. You can show Jesus love by being a co-worker that people can count on, a listening ear, a sympathetic shoulder to those having a difficult day, a friend in time of need. Continue to pray for them and ask Jesus to work in their hearts and lives and to heal their heartbreaks and provide solutions to their problems.
While Jesus lived on earth, He often spent time talking about fishing to the many fishermen He encountered. He also talked about carpentry, about children, and about all kinds of things that were important and of interest to people in His day. Jesus was God’s face to the world, He was also made human so that people could relate to God, and through Jesus, come to know His Father, who is far beyond their comprehension.
Jesus helped His earthly father in his carpentry shop. He talked with His neighbors about the issues that interested them. He was an older brother to His siblings. He fulfilled the duties of a son, honoring and respecting His parents, even helping to provide for their livelihood until it was time to devote Himself solely to His heavenly Father’s work.
Jesus offered His friendship to everyone He could, in every way they could receive it. He told stories to people in terms that they could relate to, to help them to understand deeper spiritual truths. He cared about people’s illnesses, heartbreaks, and financial needs. Though His message was spiritual, it was packaged in human form to reach deep into the hearts and lives of the people.
A key to being an effective witness is showing an interest in others and the things that are important to them. Avoid arguments and controversies or imposing your opinions on others. Make it your business to be at peace with all men, as much as you can, and to become all things to all men, that you might reach as many as you can.
Ask Jesus to give you wisdom in your interactions with your relatives, friends, and co-workers, and always remember that “the greatest of these is love.” Love is a universal language that can touch even the most unreceptive heart over time.
Love means accepting others as they are. It’s important that you don’t draw a circle around you and your life for Jesus that shuts others out. While you need to be faithful to your convictions by not participating in activities that would go against your beliefs or be hurtful or harmful to you or others in some way, try to be as kind, welcoming, and accepting of others as possible. Seek to build bridges of communication. Show yourself to be welcoming and open. Be a true friend to others by showing kindness and respect. Be willing to listen, to share. Look for receptive people who you can share God’s Word and witness with. But at the same time, don’t shut out those who are not yet ready or open to receive Jesus or to grow in His Word.
If you push your program on others, you risk being judgmental, intolerant, and inconsiderate. Instead, try to find ways to share words of comfort and encouragement, faith, a prayer, without making people feel that you are forcing your beliefs on them or that you are not open to their feelings, viewpoints, beliefs, and convictions.
Tread softly. Handle the hearts of the people you live, work, and meet with regularly with wisdom, tact, respect, courtesy, and kindness; you will win friends this way and avoid alienating, offending, or hurting others unnecessarily. Remember the little things in life that are important to people, and take the time to show an interest in them and get involved in those things.
Find points of common interest and dwell on those. Sometimes you can’t avoid controversy or debate, and there will be times when you’ll have to contend for your faith, but do so with love, wisdom, and tact. Walk a mile in the shoes of others to understand their viewpoints and where they’re coming from.
If you’re faithful to treat others with courtesy, respect, kindness, humility and wisdom, they will be more readily able to accept those times when you have to take a stand on an issue or point that they may not agree with. When you find yourself in a situation of debate or disagreement, where you can’t avoid offending people without compromising your beliefs, ask for God’s wisdom so that He can oil your communications with His Spirit and give you wise answers.
Seek peace wherever possible and pursue it in your interactions with those Jesus has brought into your life. Every encounter in your life is for a purpose, and Jesus’s love reflected in you is meant to touch every person you interact with in some way. His supernatural love will help you to see the good and the possibilities in every person. He will also give you the wisdom to know how to best manifest that love in ways that will be winsome and touch people’s hearts.