“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12
This is a popular passage of Scripture with far-reaching implications for Believers. Firstly, and perhaps most plainly, Jesus outlines for Believers how to avoid stumbling: follow Christ. This point is not as facile as it seems, because the ongoing, persistent , unrelenting clamor baying at every Christian is to follow the principles of the world around us.
For example, we are constantly being told to get physical exercise and eat healthily: but God’s word tells us that bodily exercise profits little; instead our focus must be on Spiritual exercise and ‘eating’ the Word of God. And hour in God’s Word has far more benefit than an hour in the gym. Moreover, the more we grow spiritually, the less prone we are to give into the desires of the flesh, including overeating.
Another example, the world tells us to “take care of number one”, but God tells us to put ourselves LAST and take care of others first. Therefore as we follow the worlds edicts we stumble around in the traps hidden therein. The world says, divorce if you are unhappy with your spouse, God’s word tells us not to separate what God has joined together. How many homes have been wrecked by focus on self-fulfillment? How many marriages could have been saved by focus on God-fulfillment instead?
We stumble around, falling into trap after trap, pothole after pothole, ditch after ditch, because we fail to follow Christ, we fail to walk in The Light. To avoid the innumerable pitfalls of life we must constantly reject the principles of the world. Rather, we must learn, inculcate and follow earnestly the principle of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible, the Word of God.
A second, related, implication of the text is that those who walk in darkness, because they have no direct access to the light (i.e., those who reject or do not know Christ), MUST stumble; they have no choice. Therefore, Believers should EXPECT the world around us to ‘decay’. Individuals, groups, and governments of ALL ‘stripes’ will ALL tend to make foolish choices because they are walking in darkness with no direct access to the light of Jesus Christ.
This is a crucial point for Believers, because we often get caught up in an ‘expectation game’. For example, we follow political leaders/movements hoping for a change or some improvement. But we are frequently disappointed (or at a minimum ‘under-whelmed’) by their failure to effect the transformations we had hoped for. Instead they often make decisions that patently unwise: the y often stumble around because they are not walking in the light!
Similarly, we sometimes get into ill-advised relationships with non-believers only to be left disappointed, broken-hearted and/or bankrupted by their repeated stumbles. Believers must never expect those who don’t believe to do anything else but stumble around in error, repeatedly making bad choices, because they are NOT walking in The Light, they are not following Jesus Christ.
Finally, every Believer must consider his/her role in the world. Jesus is The Light, and we have The Light inside us. It is God’s plan for The Light that is Jesus to shine through us into the dark world in which we live (Matthew 5:16). It is critical, therefore, for every Believer to recognize him/herself as a “Light bringer” (i.e., a lamp). In every situation that we find ourselves, it is our calling to “bring the Light”.
A Believer in a boardroom must bring The Light of Jesus Christ to the decisions being made by that board. A Believer teaching in a classroom must bring more that merely the curriculum: by word and deed that Believer must bring the Light of Jesus Christ to the students. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, Believers must bring The Light to help those with no direct access to The Light avoid stumbling.
Believers must show those walking in darkness that there is a better way. Consequently, it is folly for Believers to only have Christian friends; Jesus was the friend of the publicans and sinners. It is folly for Believers to spend most of their time only with other Believers; Jesus spent most of His ministry reaching out to those who would later reject Him.
Believers must choose to go where the darkness is darkest, because that is where the light is needed the most! Conversely, when Believers do assemble in church (as we should), our church services should be a meeting of floodlights on full power. So that every sin, every sinful way, is revealed.
Ananias and Sapphira could not hide their sins because the light of the church was too bright! It is folly for our churches to be places where wolves can hide in the shadows waiting to raven the sheep. If believers bring The Light of Christ with them there will be NO shadows in our churches; and sin will have to place to hide.
Brothers, Sisters, let us walk in the Light of Christ, rejecting the darkness offered by the world. Instead let us shine The Light everywhere it is needed and into the life of everyone who needs it. Amen!