My husband, three children and I will be traveling with my parents to the West Coast for a family wedding this month. My daughters haven’t flown in an airplane since they were little bitty, and they are so excited to fly! They can’t wait to experience the thrill of liftoff, the views of the landscapes below, and the beauty of the clouds as we get an up-close encounter. I think they’re even excited for the little bags of peanuts and their choice of beverage! The girls have thoughtfully arranged a schedule of who will sit in the window seat during each portion of the trip (a timeshare of sorts) so they can both enjoy the views equally.

Our flight will be in the evening, so much of their view will be darkness. If you’ve ever looked out an airplane window at night, you understand the stark contrast of the views below.

Flying over the countryside, the darkness and emptiness can almost lull you to sleep. There’s nothing to notice, nothing of interest, nothing that stands out.

But as the plane approaches a city, you see clusters of lights building upon each other until the entire landscape is shining brightly below. It’s really a beautiful sight to behold!

 

Lighting Our World

“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)

Jesus told us that we are the light of the world, like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. The very fact that we’re called by his name means that we’re set apart. Just as city lights visible from an airplane window are distinct among the darkness, so also are our “lights” distinct and on display. In fact, everything in our lives is on display – our character, our behavior, our attitude, our words, and our choices.

I heard a question proposed this week, “If we are the light of the world, then why is the world getting darker?” If we as Christians were “shining” as Jesus told us to do, wouldn’t the world be getting brighter? I never really considered being “the light of the world” in those terms. I never realized that if we shine our lights brightly and boldly, then not only will we stand out from among the darkness, but we actually will infuse it with Light!

The more I thought about this, the more God convicted my heart. I realized how easy it is to complain about the “current state of affairs” while staying safe within my comfort zone. It’s pointless to voice my indignation over the decline in morality around me, all the while walking around with a basket on my head (not literally, but you get the point). Like many over-worked, sleep-deprived, struggling-to-keep-the-spark-alive moms, I can let weeks go by before realizing the only people I’ve influenced are my husband and my kids (and I pray it’s for the better)!

 

Adjusting Our Wattage

We should use every opportunity to bless those around us in word and deed. Our acts of service and sacrifice and our words of encouragement and hope are tangible expressions of God’s love. Whether we direct these expressions toward our loved ones or complete strangers, each act of love lights our world and pushes back the darkness.

This kind of living doesn’t come naturally; it requires a daily surrender of the will and fresh filling of God’s illuminating power. Join me in praying through the following questions, asking the Holy Spirit to show us where our lights could shine brighter.

  1. Am I walking consistently with the Lord, trusting him as my shepherd?
  2. Am I affirming God’s truth and grace to myself and those around me?
  3. Am I obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit or disregarding them?
  4. Am I standing strong in my convictions, or blending in with the crowd?
  5. Am I repenting of sin in my life, or letting it create a wedge between me and God?
  6. Am I acting in love and meeting the needs of those around me?
  7. Am I sharing with others about the source of the light inside of me?

I admit that my answers don’t always line up how they should. We all need to adjust our wattage from time to time. But the good news is that God never condemns us when we stumble (Rom 8:1). Instead, He gently encourages us into his light, like a shepherd guiding His sheep.

 

Walking in the Light

The enemy loves to whisper in my ear that God isn’t pleased with me, that God can’t use me, and that my prayers don’t matter. He whispers these lies because when I believe them, my light stays hidden! Believing those types of lies makes me timid, doubtful and ineffective. If I’m not convinced of my worth as God’s light-bearer, then I won’t step up on that lampstand!

We have to be intentional about what we believe. We have to choose to believe the truth of the Word of God.

  • God says we are his masterpiece, created anew in Christ to do the good things he planned for us long ago (Eph.2:10).
  • He tells us not to be afraid or discouraged because he goes before us, is with us, and will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).
  • God is working in us and gives us the desire and power to do what pleases him (Phil. 2:13).
  • He even promises to do immeasurably more than we might ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

Those kinds of promises should give us great courage!

 

Shining in Our City

I love the vision of City Lights Ministries. There is much to celebrate when women of faith (no matter their denomination, race or background) come together to encourage one another, to spur each other on toward acts of love and good deeds, and to PRAY!

Our prayers have power. God works mightily through prayer, in us and through us. Never underestimate your ability to change a circumstance (or a heart), because you always have the ability to pray! 

Women have such a special ability to connect on a heart level and to see needs around us. When we rally together, united in prayer and purpose, everything is possible!

So, ladies, let’s shine our lights! Let’s allow the love of Jesus to pour out us. Every light impacts the darkness, but be encouraged that we don’t stand alone.

As we stand united, we will emerge as brilliant city lights seen from an airplane windowwe will make a BEAUTIFUL and UNDENIABLE impact on the world around us!

 

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