As spring begins, we thank God for light – more sunshine and longer days. They aren’t just conveniences. They remind us, after the cold and darkness of winter, of the hope of Christ’s resurrection and the new life He promises.
Living by the Light
By Sonny Westbrook, UGM Director of Ministries
In one of my favorite "I AM" statements of Christ, He identifies Himself as the Light of the World. The Apostle John recorded His words.
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Notice His use of the definite article. He says He is the light of the world, not one of many lights, but THE light. And He follows with a promise: “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life.”
No light, no life
As I think of this wonderful metaphor, a couple of things come to mind. The first is the relationship between light and life.
In the physical world, we have the sun that gives light to us. It is a scientific fact that if we did not have the light from the sun, there would be no life on the planet. No light, no life. It’s as simple as that. Without light, the amazing phenomenon known as photosynthesis could not take place and plant, animal and human life could not be sustained.
So it is with Christ. Without His light upon us, we cannot have spiritual life and sustain spiritual life.
The same apostle who recorded Christ’s great I AM claim also wrote these words in the prologue to his gospel account: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
This passage takes us all the way back to creation and informs us that this truth about our Lord Jesus Christ has been the truth since the very beginning. He has from the very beginning been the moral, spiritual light of the world, and He has also always been the life giver.
This is exclusively true of Him! There is no one else like Him, nor will there ever be. He has forever been and will always be the exclusive light giver and life giver of this world. How awesome He is!
Within the Union Gospel Mission, it is our joy to exalt Christ by sharing His claim and His promise to all who come through the doors of our various ministries. We can truthfully and enthusiastically give this message to all who come: There is no need for anyone to walk in the moral, spiritual darkness of the fallen world that is all around us, because the One Who has always been the Light of the World is still that today. And whoever will attach to Him in faith and follow Him, that person will experience the light of His life from deep within, a life that is eternal in quality and duration!
No light, no sight
Now, a second thought comes to mind regarding this metaphor: Light is also absolutely essential to sight! If you’ve ever been in a place that was “pitch black” or completely dark, you know that in such a place you cannot see anything of the real physical world that is all around you. No light, no sight.
Now if you try to navigate around without being able to see the realities around you, you are subject to all kinds of painful experiences.
You can fall off the side of a cliff to serious injury or even death, because you couldn’t see the precipice you were on. You can crash your head into a doorway because as you tried to feel your way through the house in the darkness, one of your hands went into a room, the other went down the hallway, and you couldn’t see the corner of the doorjamb, and it left a dent on your forehead. Ouch! Ask me, I did that.
What are the implications of this for us? Without the light of Christ, Who He is, what He has accomplished for us, we simply cannot see the spiritual realities all around us. We are spiritually blind, and in this state we are subject to painful experiences and even death. Again, however, if we attach in faith to Christ, He sheds His light on every situation and we can walk in that light.
We have the wonderful word of God, by which He illumines our hearts. As we study it, He turns the light on our pathway, so we can see how to live. We can discern between good and evil. We can choose the good and shun the evil. And we can avoid so much of the pain that would come to us if we were to continue living in the darkness. Even death is completely overcome by His life in us.
So, here at the Mission, with the full authority of Christ Himself, we daily proclaim to our guests what we have discovered, that whatever our experience of darkness has been—addictions, fear, guilt, loneliness, depression, despair, broken relationships, isolation—the Lord Jesus wants to lead us out of that darkness. He is the light and He is the life of the world, and He wants us to cross over to Him from darkness and then walk in the Light that He gives to us.
His light gives us His eternal life and His light gives us sight, and we can live the life and see the life He has always planned for us. It’s here for us, and it all comes to us as we take up His invitation and follow Him.
What a joy it is to have Him as the light of our world! What a joy it is to share Him with all who come to us for help. Praise the Lord!
Sonny Westbrook worked in education for 15 years and in pastoral ministry for over 20 years. Now, he is the director of ministries at UGM where he has served for a decade, caring for both staff and guests at UGM. Sonny's greatest passion is encouraging Christians to see all they have been given in the person of Christ and to live in the fullness of His life.
Besides more daylight, another amazing part of springtime is how God's creation buds with new growth and promises a harvest later on. Click below so we can send you free seeds to plant in your garden.