Sunday, November 24, 2013

Guiding Light

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

-- Matthew 5:16 

High-tech energy-saving light bulbs like LEDs, halogens and CFLs have gotten lots of press the last few years because of their purported efficiency and endurance. Unlike old-fashioned incandescent bulbs that might last 1,000 hours before burning out, some of these next generation light sources are rated for 15 years of service.

That's impressive. But as the saying goes, Lighthousethey don't make them like they used to. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes a lowly 60-watt bulb hanging in a Livermore, CA, fire station as burning almost continuously since 1901 (the year England's Queen Victoria died). Made by Adolphe Chailet (a competitor of Thomas Edison), the tiny hand-blown beacon actually has its own website and fan club. 

Mr. Chailet obviously crafted this so-called "Centennial Light" with the right materials to last for the long run. And in much the same way, God has given His Spirit to every Christ-follower to help them endure through their life-long faith-journey.

Indeed, the Bible tells us that God doesn't leave us alone against the world once we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Just as our lives as Christ-followers are marked by twists and hairpin turns along an often rugged path, God continues to spread His grace (undeserved favor) to us all along the way. And it's a good thing that He does. Because from time to time, we all need spiritual renewal as we grow into what it means to walk in His steps. Even the apostles--the ones who had personally witnessed Jesus' life-changing miracles--asked the Lord to increase their faith. So we're in very good company.

After abandoning their livelihoods and following Jesus for three years, the apostles were both physically and spiritually drained. So when their Master was arrested, tried and crucified, they scattered in fear for their lives--just as Jesus had predicted. But the story wasn't over. They would soon become re-energized the night Jesus reappeared to them in a most-unexpected way. John's Gospel describes the scene like this:

In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples had met together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood right in the middle of them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he showed them his hands and his side, and when they saw the Lord the disciples were overjoyed. Jesus said to them again, "Yes, peace be with you! Just as the Father sent me, so I am now going to send you."

These first Christ-followers could now continue with their world-changing mission. They had renewed vitality and confidence. And not in themselves--but in God alone. It was through Him that they possessed the guiding light of living faith to accomplish, endure and thrive in a rapidly-darkening world. 

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