Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Firemen and Lighthouses

“There was a man named John who was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” John 1:4-5
It all really depends on how we look at our world right now. It seems to me there are two primary perspectives that have emerged as predominant among Christians.

The World is on Fire
With this perspective, we can look at the calendar for 2020 and see so much chaos and confusion, much of it driven by anti-christ. Some of it driven by panic and worry over environmental or natural disaster.

This perspective can cause us to react, to respond as firemen. We can feel a deep urgency to speak into every anti-christ circumstance and splash hope on every natural disaster. As keyboard warriors, we can even be tempted to blame natural disasters on Satan as we seek to sooth and salve — and hose down the world.

It is next to impossible for anyone to address every divergent and aberrant idea that confronts us from all sides. And maybe that's the point. There are more fires than there are firemen.

The World is in Darkness
Understanding that the World is in darkness, that it has been in darkness since the curse, that the darkness is not greater now than it was then and that the source of light is a person can help us find balance and perspective in 2020. Darkness by virtue of its substance, is complete and stands no chance against the light. The light always defeats the dark and the dark is everything that is in opposition to the light.

The Firemen
As firemen responding to fires we are entirely reactive. Our Gospel attitude is in response to those fires and because it is driven by response we can sometimes wander astray of the Gospel in our fervour. We've spent our lives looking out into our own culture and shaking our heads and saying things like "tut tut how far we've fallen", "can you believe they did that", "I'm not shopping there anymore". We risk allowing our response to circumstance serve as our only Gospel witness, which is sort of like throwing a water balloon into a house fire.

The Lighthouse
A lighthouse isn't a primary source of light, a lighthouse is a collection of mirrors and lenses in the upper tower of a home on a seashore. As obedient Christians we are called the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), our home on the seashore - peering out into the darkness of the world, it has a fire. That fire gives us the ability to produce light. The fire doesn't come from us, it is ignited by the Holy Spirit. With it we have the capacity to reflect the light of Christ - out into the darkness. An unlit lighthouse on the shore is of no functional use, darkness cannot reflect into itself.

Often as a lighthouse, we will have the opportunity to speak Truth into specific situations. Apologetics can be good and helpful, but proactively and driven by the authority of Scripture and not by emotion.

Our attitudes are to be as ambassadors for Christ, as a bright reflection of the light of Christ - the message of the Gospel ever on our lips.
“From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Does this mean apologetics is of no value or that we should stop having public opinions? Certainly that is not what I am trying to say. However, if our entire Christian life is trying to spray the message of the gospel onto the fires in the world we may end up overwhelmed, discouraged and burned. Culturally reactive Christianity is not what we see in the narrative of Scripture. Consistently and repeatedly Scripture commands us to proactive obedience. Attitudes of; thanksgiving (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20), praise (Psalm 130, Hebrews 13:15), worship (Psalm 100, Hebrews 12:28-29), surrender (Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 16:24, Mark 12:30), obedience (Galatians 5:22-26). All of this is meant to be our primary pursuit as followers of Christ. And as we read in 2 Corinthians, serving as ambassadors, reflecting the light of Christ into the darkness.

In 2020, Pursuing Christ in Obedience should be our primary objective. That obedience is marked by our desire to reflect His light into the chaos around us. God's Word is effective (Hebrews 4:12) and will always have His intended effect (Isaiah 55:11). The same cannot be said about my Word if it is not informed by His Word.

My encouragement to you today, as you traverse the minefield that 2020 has brought us, is to pursue Christ in His Word. Put away anxiety (Philippians 4:6-8, Psalm 37) and simply in obedience, reflect the light of Christ into the darkness. We don't have to answer every evil in the World, God promises He will do that.