Saturday, July 18, 2009

Living in the Light and Loving Well

It seems as if I am having a run on burnt out light bulbs around my house. In my kitchen alone I have 4 out. I keep intending to go down to the basement and hunt for new light bulbs, but I get distracted and don’t. One by one, the light bulbs burn out, and my kitchen is getting darker and darker. Even the light in my bathroom is burnt out, and we are (strangely) showering in the dark. We need some light around here. I need to change those light bulbs so that we can see what we are doing, at least more clearly!

As I thought about needing to increase the light around our house, I thought about living in the light in life. We need to live in the light, in order to see what is going on around us and in us. We need to live in the light of God’s love, Jesus, so that we can, in turn, love well.

“Loving well” – what does it mean? How do we do it? I am challenged by the whole concept. It is complicated. It requires a great amount of strength and a great amount of patient perseverance. It requires the grace of God. It requires wisdom and a willingness to live in the Light. It requires work.

How to “love well” in difficult times is on my mind right now. When do we withhold an answer and when do we speak? When do we turn the other cheek and when do we share the truth? When do we address an issue and when do we not throw pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6)? How do we live fully in the light, when there is so much darkness around?

Ephesians 5:8-15 says “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them ... everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

Whew. That’s a lot, but it encourages me and strengthens me. To live and love well I need to remember that I am a child of the light. Everything is exposed by the light of God’s truth. We need to spend time with the Lord to know the truth, and then to have the wisdom and strength to expose the truth. We are to be careful and wise. These are desperate times. People can be deep in denial about themselves or their situations out of fear, or they are choosing to walk in their own way, away from God. The truth is not revered. In contrast, it is ignored. However, to live in the truth – in the light – is to “love well" and God calls us to love.

Dear reader, perhaps you are at a point today when you need to step out in to the light and live in the truth about yourself and your life. Maybe you need to confess and repent. Maybe you need to confront someone else. Maybe you need to stand up for yourself, find your voice, and speak difficult words, in love. Seek the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and soul and ask Him what His will is for you. It can be very difficult. I would rather not do the challenging work (I can tend to put it off, like changing light bulbs, but even worse), but I also know that it is well worth it. Trust the Lord. He will give you the strength that you need for today to do what He has you to do, in the light of His love.

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