The world is a tough place sometimes.  We have good days and many blessings, to be sure, especially living as Christians in the United States.  But we don’t have to look far to see a darker side of life around the world and here as well.  Poverty, abuse, disaster, tragedy, corruption, violence, and sin are parts of our daily exposure unless we live in a cave or a hobbit hole.  (I really wish I had a picture of my own hobbit hole right now.)


When the world and sin press in close to home, it feels much more personal.  How do we answer and live in these times?  We want to protect, and sometimes we just have a gut reaction of anger, indignation, or fear when we feel we can no longer do that.  I get it.  We want what is right and pure and holy to prevail.  And it will.  God wins.  I promise.

However, when we live by that initial reaction I think we give power away to sin and to Satan.  We, ourselves, have sinned in thought or in word and have confirmed the accusations of many who observe and judge us at that moment.  We do not participate in God’s kingdom victory by our own wits and reactions.  You “Star Wars” fans remember how Luke opposed the dark side, but in opposing it, actually gave in to its influence through anger.  Suffice it to say that love and mercy must rule our hearts.

Christ is the light of the world, and if we have repented of running our own lives and given Him that place, then we are filled with His light and life.  So let’s live like it.  I am speaking to myself as much as anyone else here.  We should be seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, enabled to live carefully and wisely, determining His will before we speak or act.  God has made every provision for us to live this way, and it’s really not optional.

Speaking about the sin we see around us can become a slippery slope into our own pit of gossip, condemnation, and judgment.  Instead, God tells us to live out His light, light which exposes and overcomes darkness simply by being light.  The essentials of living out the light are blessedly few.

Keep being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Be full of joy.
Be thankful for everything and say so.
Put on Christ and His armor and stand, just stand.
Pray in the Spirit at all times,
on every occasion,
for everyone, everywhere.
Lives like that have power, His power.  They give off a fragrance that will cause some to shrink away, be repulsed, or be opposed to that power; some fear the light more than what may lurk in the familiar darkness.  Thankfully, that is not our responsibility except to pray for them.  In other lives that power and fragrance will be the first pure breath of life they have ever experienced, and they will be drawn to Christ, to light, and to freedom.  Thankfully, that is not our responsibility, either.  The Lord is perfectly capable of accomplishing exactly what He desires with our lives, but only if we let Him have His way.
Thank You, God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, that You have provided all that we need to live Your way.  Thank You that You are never caught off guard, never wringing Your hands, and never wondering what You should do next.  You are in control of all things everywhere whether we understand them or not, and Your kingdom reigns both now and forever!  All praise to Your holy name!
Ephesians 4, 5, and 6

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