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This Little Light of Mine

** I am HONORED to feature a guest blog from my very dear friend and one of my co-pastors at my home church, Brenda Balogh! Jill and I have walked with Brenda and her husband, Josh, as some of our closest friends for over 2 decades now. Brenda consistently radiates a perfect blend of passion for Jesus, true pursuit of people and their stories, and an honesty that is refreshingly disarming. Brenda is our Next Gen Pastor and SUCH a delight. I just KNOW you'll love her as much as we do! - Chuck

I accidentally read a Bible verse this morning (well, I MEANT to read a Bible verse, just not THIS one). I was set up by the Holy Spirit Himself. The verse reads,

"So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.” 1 John 1:6

Another version says it like this: ”If we claim that we share life with him, but keep walking in the realm of darkness, we’re fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” "Share" or "fellowship” means to partake, partner, share, or contribute help. “In life” means ALL OF THE THINGS that make up our days. 

This means if we SAY we are participating in, helping, contributing, and partaking in all of the things that make up life with Jesus, and yet we’ve relegated Him to a meal prayer, a convenient call for help, or we leave Him on the shelf until we get home from work, we have become casual sideline admirers of Jesus and not active followers. Wherever we do this, we are fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 

Here’s a not so secret thing about me: I’m pretty scared of the dark. As I type it out, it feels juvenile. I’m ok with that. I’m a real wimp when it comes to darkness. So here I sit with this verse and I know it’s not about physical darkness but I have some real feelings toward it. I don’t want physical darkness and I SURELY don’t want to live in spiritual darkness. 

The generation of teens and children all around us are covered in darkness, tormented by depression and oppression, and anxiety.  The spirit of fear and the unseen things have them crippled. That's true for many of us who are older, too. We need LIGHT. Jesus says “I am the light of the world.”

We are doing a family experiment this week. It has to do with using candlelight instead of light bulbs for a few days. Weird, I know. Here’s something I’ve already noticed. I want to be the where the light is. And if I walk to another room, I want that light with me. More than that, I actually don’t want just my single candle, I want my husband and kid’s lights to go with me too. 

If I am sharing/participating in all of life with Jesus, it means the joy AND the suffering. Jesus spent his time with His Father, therefore, I am spending time with the Father more than in our “morning meetings.” I am sharing in all of life; doing dishes, yard work, laundry, reading, drinking coffee/tea, balancing checkbooks, working my job, buying and selling things, etc. I am carrying His light into every place I go. 

This isn’t just true of fellowship with Jesus. It’s true of our fellowship with each other, too! He uses that SAME WORD (fellowship and sharing, partaking, contributing, helping) for our lives together. Look at the next verse:

"But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 

ARE YOU SEEING THIS!!?!?  This is incredible! 

A phrase Christians like to use is, “doing life with,” as in, “This is my small group, these are the people I do life with.” A friend asked me the other day, “What does that mean?” Like, “I hear the words you’re using but… what ?” It’s a language the Church has adopted to mean fellowship, partaking, sharing, and helping in life with one another. It’s a right sentiment, however...if we are saying these words, yet have relegated our friendships to a weekly meeting, an organized mission once a month, or a polite greeting until we see each other again, we are fooling ourselves and worse, we may be lying. 

Stop for just a moment and read that last part again. The kind of "fellowship" God invites us into is incredible, but it’s also countercultural and easier said than done. But so worth it! Jesus says, “You are the light of the world”.

Just like in my dark house with my singular candle, you have a light that goes with you. But imagine the comfort, luminescence and POWER that is present when we collectively share in the life of Jesus and with one another! Exponentially better! Together pushing back the darkness. We need light. That’s what I’m praying for my family, for my church family, and for all of us as the global Family of God. God is faithful and He will do it. But we have to be honest. Where is He calling us to courageously realign some things to step into the light of true fellowship? 

Reflection Questions:

  • Are you experiencing "true fellowship" with God, inviting an active awareness of His presence into every area of your life? What are the places you struggle doing that? How could you take one step closer to Him this week?

  • Do you have people you "do life with?" Who are they? Are you walking in "true fellowship" with those you SAY you "do life with," or is it segmented to nice sentiments and organized meetings? What is one step you could all take closer to truly sharing life together this week?

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Well said Brenda! Thank you for hosting/sharing this Chuck!

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