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6 Ways Broken Vessels Shine Light in a Dark World:

“There is a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

You don’t have to look far in any direction to see brokenness, heartbreak, weakness, lack, or some other fragile echo of what is ‘not yet.’ Indeed, since ‘the beginning’ of our present story, the chaos of darkness has interwoven itself into the very fabric of the tapestry we call life. And yet.

Darkness is not our inheritance, but a foreign invader. Indeed, “darkness” is nothing more than “the relative absence of light in any given place.” In the world to come, when we see God face to face, we will experience no darkness for the rest of eternity. God Himself will be our Light.

It is only here that darkness surrounds: the darkness of the mystery of unanswered questions. The darkness of the misery of unhealed wounds. And the darkness of mismanagement; a self-imposed night we unwittingly befriend in any place we fail to praise God and instead seek to play ‘god.’

Darkness is scary. Darkness is lonely. Darkness is disorienting and overwhelming. But “there is a crack in everything,” letting the light shine in. This is at the center of the incarnation: the literal Light of the World clothing Himself in the tattered frailty of human flesh.

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16

It isn’t simply that Jesus came to reflect Light, but that somehow His Spirit rebirths us as lights in dark places (Matt. 5:14). We are ‘clay jars’ who carry unspeakable treasure as we allow Him to radiate through broken vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). Here are 6 ways we can shine in dark places:

  1. Watch what you’re watching.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22-23

Every day, there are only two stories being told: the voice of the Savior or the slanderer; the thoughts of the Advocate or the accuser; the inviting hand of restoration, or the pointing finger of condemnation.

Five times in John, Jesus said He only spoke what the Father was saying. We become like what we let our hearts behold. Here’s some places to start:

  • Refuse to immerse yourself in negativity, outrage, offense, and gossip (this includes consuming social media or reality TV spaces that feed on offense).

  • Choose purity. In an age where 40 million Americans regularly visit porn sites and 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic in nature, we desperately need sons and daughters who will say ‘enough is enough!’

Creation groans for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed. When we choose what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, we reflect a God worth beholding.

2. Camp by the gates of hell until heaven comes.

“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47

It’s kind of useless to be ‘light’ if you only surround yourself with people who are positive, secure, and healthy while scores languish in the dark. Lighthouses plant themselves by the shores of souls struggling through storms and waves, not by comfy country clubs in gated communities. Ask God to show you the dark places in your city He’s inviting you to set up camp..and go there in community!

3. Know Who You Are ‘to' God and ‘in’ Him.

“He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

We live like who we believe we are. Belonging to God means we are “new,” “beloved,” “saints,” and “blessed” forever. I’m convinced if we could see our lives from heaven’s perspective, we’d never again be anxious, worried, or overwhelmed, but would see we are presently held and dearly loved. Make continual space to hear the Father’s adoration for you and those you meet.

4. Be willing to be courageously misunderstood.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15

“Holy” means “set apart” or different. We are those who don’t conform to the image of the world, but who continually allow God to transform us as He renews our minds (Rom. 12:1-2). If you choose to love courageously, you will be opposed by some on both sides of the church walls.  Decide today to keep going anyway!

5. Banish Scarcity and Scapegoating.

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” 1 John 2:9-10

The high walls and narrow borders of some professing Christians are unworthy of the Savior who came as “good news of great joy for all people.” We are called to give and forgive; to see and celebrate, to love and shout from the rooftops about the Father’s transforming life to:

White, black, rich, poor, healthy, infirmed, conservative, liberal, Christian, non-Christian, local, foreign, kind, rude, respected, and despised.

ALL people need the Gospel and His arms are big enough to hold the world. There is no “us and them.” There is only “us.”

6. Let your hope in forever be louder than your heaviness about what’s fading.

It’s easy to complain at the darkness. It takes prophetic voices to call forth the light. Light pierced the first Christmas sky as a foreshadowing of the day we’d escape the shadows for good. Our tears will be wiped away. Our hearts will be healed. Our hopes will be fulfilled. This is just a moment — a vapor where those in the light can take the hand of one struggling in the dark and lead them through our exodus together. God is all around. There is a crack in everything letting the light through.

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These are Great Truths to live by!

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