TGIF! That phrase is on the minds of millions of people as they wind down their work weeks, planning for Friday night. What are your plans for this weekend? Maybe you have a Friday routine with coworkers, friends or family. Or maybe you’ve planned something different, a distraction from your regular routine. When was the last time you sat down and thought about why you made those particular plans?
Whether we are willing to admit it or not, there is always a “why” behind our choice of activity. So when our responsibilities are fulfilled for the week, and time is in our control, why do we choose the activities that we do?
While talking about something completely different at our weekly Bible study, we touched on the topic of being around non-Christian people in their own environments. One example was of being at party; while some people might be drinking, I can still be there without drinking, being a Christian light in the midst of those people.
This is the typical answer that makes us sound spiritual and gets us off the hook for being somewhere that, (1) others might think I should not have been, or (2) my conscience is poking at me for being. Either way, I don’t have to worry, because “I was being light in the darkness.” But were you really?
I’m all for being light in darkness, but for light bulb to be on, there has to be a clear mission to being in the same place as the darkness. Here are two examples.
Jen is a stay at home mom with four kids. Her husband, Jimmy, has a good job with regular hours. Come Friday, Jimmy stays home to give Jen the night off with some down time. She calls up the girls and they head out to the club downtown. She drinks Diet Coke instead of the mixed drinks her friends are drinking. Her goal isn’t to get drunk, just to escape from all of the worries and crying and demands on her life.
Dave is also married, the father of two, and he loves to hunt. He takes two weekends every October to hunt with his father, just like he has for twenty years. They get away from all of the noise of work and family. After the sun sets, they had out to a cabin that sleeps eight, and a few of the other hunting guys join them for the night. Dave drinks a Pepsi while a couple of the others are drinking local beers. They talk about work, family, and once in a while Dave mentions something about church and God.
In both of these scenarios, the individual gets away from their cares for a while. They each spend time with friends, stay off the alcohol, and have a good time. Are they both shining light in the darkness? I would say that only one of them really is.
You see, being “light in darkness” is not about what we don’t do around those who don’t know Jesus, as much as it is about why we are there.
The housewife that is there because she wants to get away is not concerned about shining the light of Christ. She is looking to escape. Is she really that different from those she went to the club with just because she’s drinking a Diet Coke?
The husband and father who goes away with his father is there first because of relationship. If he doesn’t tag his deer, will it ruin his weekend? Not like missing it entirely would break his father’s heart. And because he is looking to build relationship with his father, he has opportunity to build relationship with others. Sure, he’s out hunting with guys, but he has a chance to connect with those he might not normally get to, proving he is just another normal guy with an additional element in his life: God.
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Do you feel like God is leading you to be a light in the midst of darkness? Then you are on the right track, because you have God’s plan in mind. Are you using the “light in darkness” line as an excuse for being where you want to be? Then you have to stop and check that your light is still on.