“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Given to his own devices, man will waiver. With few examples of courageous action, most wilt at “real sacrifice.” That is why men and women who regardless of consequence, stay the course, stand out in a crowd. Given the option of right and wrong, they weigh the cost of their action and choose their path through conviction. What makes the difference between those that chose the “light” instead of some form of the grey facade? Is there a difference, or are we all cut from the same cloth? Do we have the ability to face our giants and behave courageously, or will we find out later we were only fooling ourselves? Is our concern that our bravado and actions are only skin deep, an example of an illusionary appeal to fears in our life? Are we worried someone may see us for who we really are? Should we be afraid?
Fear, perceived or real, can be a very powerful weapon. It can keep us entrenched in past behavior or move us to action. The fear of being “found out” can have positive and negative implications in our life. Hidden, sin becomes shame and guilt and keeps us in a state of fear. When illuminated, we find that the darkness no longer has a hold on us. This is the promise that Jesus brings you and me. Where the enemy would lurk in the shadows and prowl in the valleys, he now has no place to hide. He has been dispersed by the “light of the world.” Sin will have no hold on you.
We read in 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
The big question is, are we fooling ourselves? Have we somehow whitewashed our action to the point of appeasing our beliefs? Are we examining the intentions of our heart, or are we playing the one foot in the grave game? Are we trying to ride the fence of sin and righteousness? A life, instead of being illuminated by the light, is dimmed and appears as fog. Peeled back, we see our facade for what it is, a lie.
John continues, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).
For those of us who proclaim Christ as Savior, this should bring fear and trembling at the very thought of living a life contrary to our faith. If we do not illuminate His presence in our lives, is it possible to claim Christ as our Savior? If there appears no fellowship with Him, can we really make a case for our salvation? The Bible makes it very clear that we not only deceive others but ourselves as well. Our biggest fear should be at the day of our redemption, Jesus says: “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:22-23).
Our respect for God should transcend our fear of appearing peculiar to the world. In fact, the very distinctive characteristics of a born again believer should be a calling sign to those who search for the truth. Those who have yet tasted the goodness of the Lord still rely on the “flesh” as their barometer. So by example, we must be true to the Word if we are to make the most of our time here on Earth. The renewing of our mind becomes an exercise that we incorporate in our day to day life so that we are able to show the light that is in us. So stand up and do not be shaken by the opinions of the non-believing world. Be the lamp we are called to be to those around us and remember, His promises are true.
Deuteronomy 31:6 adds, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
He has given us a reason to be strong and steadfast in our faith. As the Son of Man’s light shines as we walk in fellowship with Him, the fear of controversy quickly fades in our life. Our strength is emboldened by the illumination of His righteousness in our life. We can now proclaim in any situation, He is my Savior!
Finally, 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”