walk in the word
Category: Attitudes, Change, Character, God Can Use You, Sin / Suffering / Satan, Your Walk With God
An open letter to those I love about the real hope of Christmas
One of the favorite traditions of the Christmas season is to illuminate the night with lights. Before we even turn the calendar to December, neighborhoods and businesses, homes and churches all burst in patterns of red, green, and white. Who doesn’t enjoy decorating the Christmas tree, then turning out all the other lights in the room to enjoy the twinkling lights? Even the flame of a single candle burns brightly against the backdrop of darkness.
This tradition is well suited to the real celebration of the season. The Bible says that when Jesus Christ was born, the light came into the world (John 3:19) In fact, more than 200 times throughout the Bible, God is described as light. Figuratively and literally, whenever God appears, light appears. It happened in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, and all the way at the end of time when the book of Revelation tells us that in hell there will only be darkness and in heaven there will only be light.
When we celebrate Christmas, we remember the day in history when Jesus stepped from heaven to earth, bringing with Him the light that drives out the darkness in our hearts. This is amazing news! The person who wanted you to read this didn’t want you to be left in the dark about the greatest offer you could ever be given—the gift of life and light. The Bible says, “In [Christ] was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
You may be wondering, what does this have to do with me? Or, what does it mean to have the light of life? Those are the right questions to ask. There are many ways to describe the gift that God wants to give you, but let’s start here. Ask yourself, “What should I do with the light of the world?”
JESUS SAID, “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. WHOEVER FOLLOWS ME WILL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT WILL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE.” JOHN 8:12
The Light helps you find your way.
Have you ever been in some pitch-black place when you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face? That’s what life is like without Jesus. Every person who turns to Jesus Christ sincerely by faith, He helps find their way out of the darkness. But you can’t fully appreciate the light until you feel the weight of the darkness.
Maybe that describes you. If you understand what this means and desperately want to know the way out, you first have to admit that you’re in darkness. You don’t understand the purpose of life. Apart from Jesus Christ you’re not prepared to die, and apart from the forgiveness of your sin that can only be found in Him, you’re not prepared to live. Without Jesus we are all lost, alone, and in darkness— without hope because we’re without God. But it all can change right now.
Your friend who gave you this can attest to the fact that before they turned to Jesus, nothing made sense. They couldn’t sort out anything in this mixed up world. But since they received Jesus as their Savior, they understand what’s going on. Although life still isn’t perfect, they realize the destructiveness of sin and understand what God’s love and provision can and will do in their lives. Suddenly Christmas is so much more than a stale exchange of gifts and some silly guy in a red suit. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus Christ the light of the world and the forgiveness of sin that can only be found in Him.
The Light exposes your heart.
It doesn’t matter what you read in the paper, there’s no darkness so deep that it can not be overcome by light. Think back to that pitch-black place—now light a candle. Suddenly darkness is chased away. But it begins by facing the hard reality of who you are: a person in need of God’s grace.
The darkness of your heart can’t be denied anymore; it can’t be hidden or pushed away. But you can’t experience what the light of Jesus Christ offers you until you first let it expose who you really are.
We are all born with a sinful, dark heart. That doesn’t change until we first recognize how desperately we need God and how we have broken His law and are under His just condemnation (Romans 3:23). When you choose to come to Jesus, the light, the first thing that happens is that the light exposes your heart.
Many, many people tragically refuse to accept that truth about themselves. Jesus moves toward them to show them their heart and how much they need Him, but they push Him away.: No thanks, I’ll be fine—and they go back to their dark thinking. You have to let Him shine His light into all the darkness that is there if you want to receive all that He’s offered you.
But won’t I feel shame? Won’t I be condemned? More good questions. Let God answer them directly from His Word:
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. FOR GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT IN ORDER THAT THE WORLD MIGHT BE SAVED THROUGH HIM. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM IS NOT CONDEMNED, BUT WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, BECAUSE HE HAS NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF THE ONLY SON OF GOD.  AND THIS IS THE JUDGMENT: THE LIGHT HAS COME INTO THE WORLD, AND PEOPLE LOVED THE DARKNESS RATHER THAN THE LIGHT BECAUSE THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL. FOR EVERYONE WHO DOES WICKED THINGS HATES THE LIGHT AND DOES NOT COME TO THE LIGHT, LEST HIS DEEDS SHOULD BE EXPOSED. BUT WHOEVER DOES WHAT IS TRUE COMES TO THE LIGHT, SO THAT IT MAY BE CLEARLY SEEN THAT HIS DEEDS HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN GOD. JOHN 3:16-21
The Light dispels the darkness.
Now for the good news. When you expose your heart to the light and you see what you really need, the light of Jesus Christ chases away that darkness that is in your heart.
There is no darkness in any human being that the gospel can’t get to. You may have read this far thinking: Sure, this is all good news for some people, but you don’t know what I’ve done.
There’s no place where you have been where Jesus’ light can not go. There’s no sin that you have fallen into that the light can not overwhelm with grace. No sin is so dark that the light of Christ can not penetrate its depths.
What qualifies Jesus for this transaction? As God’s Son, He took on all your sin—and the sin of the world—when He died on the cross in your place. His blood covered the darkness of sin; He paid the complete price. He deserved none of it but He took all of it. The greatest injustice of all would be to continue to live in the darkness. Jesus suffered and died to set you free.
Sin offers only suffering, sadness, shame, and slavery. But Jesus, the light, brings hope, healing, forgiveness, life, and love. Your friend has found this to be true in their life, and they desperately want you to know about this gift from God. Your can receive it, too.
Here are the steps again: Find your way to Him. Let Him expose your heart. Let Him dispel the darkness in you. “SO JESUS SAID TO THEM, “THE LIGHT IS AMONG YOU FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER. WALK WHILE YOU HAVE THE LIGHT, LEST DARKNESS OVERTAKE YOU. THE ONE WHO WALKS IN THE DARKNESS DOES NOT KNOW WHERE HE IS GOING.  WHILE YOU HAVE THE
LIGHT, BELIEVE IN THE LIGHT, THAT YOU MAY BECOME SONS OF LIGHT.” John 12:35-36a
It’s your choice. Make today the day that you are saved from the darkness of sin. Don’t put it off. By faith, tell Him:
GOD—I SEE MYSELF FOR WHO I AM—A SINNER IN NEED OF GRACE. YOUR LIGHT HAS SHONE INTO MY LIFE AND EXPOSED MY HEART, PITCH-BLACK WITHOUT YOU. BUT I TURN TO YOU RIGHT NOW IN FAITH. I CHOOSE TO LEAVE THE DARKNESS BEHIND AND RECEIVE YOUR LIGHT OF LIFE AND ALL THAT THIS MEANS. MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE DOMINATED BY DARKNESS AGAIN BECAUSE I TRUST WHAT YOU’VE SAID IN YOUR WORD: IF I BELIEVE IN YOUR NAME, YOU WILL GIVE ME THE RIGHT TO BECOME YOUR CHILD. I BELIEVE THAT YOUR SON DIED IN MY PLACE ON THE CROSS AND TOOK MY PUNISHMENT FOR SIN. I RECEIVE HIS LIFE NOW IN EXCHANGE FOR MY REPENTANCE. IN CHRIST, I RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE. AMEN.
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