Isaiah 9:2,6 | John 1:12, 3:19-20 | 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 | 2 Peter 2:9 | Matthew 5:14-16
Hide it under a bushel? No!
Does it seem like things are getting kind of dark lately? Do you ever look at the selections on your streaming video app and wonder, “Who watches this stuff?” When did ‘true crime’ become a movie genre? AND a TV genre? AND a podcast genre?
Why are people calling bad stuff good and good stuff bad? (And not just entertainment, either…) Don’t they know which is which? Sadly, much of humanity is living in darkness.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.Isaiah 9:2 NLT
God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.John 3:19-20 NLT
God’s light has come into the world so we do not have to live in darkness. That light is Jesus. He showed us how God loves us and how we can be his children.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12 NLT
And he offered us the ultimate proof of his love, by paying the price for all our wrongs.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.Isaiah 9:6 NLT
Then, proving he was the Chosen One that the scriptures foretold, he came back to life.
Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.1 Corinthians 15:3b-4 NLT
God loves you. He does not want you to live in darkness. He wants you to live in the light of his love and forgiveness, and live with him forever. He wants this so much that he paid your way. All you have to do is trust him and accept his offer. Isn’t that good news?!
When you understand this Good News and step into God’s Light, you become part of it. And, what’s more, you can share it!
You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.2 Peter 2:9b NLT
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”Matthew 5:14-16 NLT
If you have the light of God’s love–the light of Jesus–in your life, share it! Let your light shine.
Questions for Group Discussion
- What is the ‘darkness’ referred to in Isaiah 9:2 and John 3:19? Is it evil? Is it the ignorance of a better way? Is it both, maybe more?
- What is the ‘light’ referred to in John 3:20? Is it Jesus? Is it honesty, or a more general ‘transparent’ way of living? Is it both, maybe more?
- Does scripture use these metaphors of ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ in other ways than the examples from the preceding two questions? If so, do these ways add to an overall analogy or larger meaning? Please provide examples to support your answer.
Challenge: Flip the Switch
When you have a lamp, you have to turn it on. First you make sure it’s plugged in, then you flip the switch. (Yeah, we’re taking this light analogy all the way…)
Before you start in on the instructions below, pay special attention to the first step… Is your light plugged in? Also, a quick word of advice: feel free to discard your lamp shade.
- Plug in your lamp.
- Read scripture regularly. If you have a study Bible, use it to read notes/commentary on what you read. Be sure it is from a source you trust–if it says anything about Jesus not being God, prophecy not being from God, or anything about not being able to fully trust scripture…find a new one. There are sites like Biblehub.com where you can find commentary and even the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic text for the whole Bible.
- Pray. Do this as often as you can. Ask God to reveal more of himself to you. Ask him to guide you and help you obey his commands. Praise him. Thank him. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Keep your lamp clean: remove sin. This can be tougher than just up-and-quitting. Ask God to help remove habitual or ongoing sin from your life. You shouldn’t feel guilty about this–you are forgiven when you confess–but you may feel convicted and know that you’re doing wrong. You also may need someone you trust to help you change your behavior.
- Turn up the brightness: Remember that God loves you, and live like you are forgiven and free. This may seem like a lot for one step, but it all kind of goes together.
- Don’t be afraid to get light in people’s eyes. Sometimes, you just have to tell people about Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words. When you get used to it, this can become your favorite part of being a Christian.