Avoid the Cave (Walk in the Light)
Updated: Apr 15
(04/03/2023) From John MacArthur's Truth for Today June 27 - John 12:35 (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.)
This is my first blog post in a long time, and it is simply my devotions for the day. It was inspired both by the devotion itself and Pastor Matt Morton's sermon from the day before. It is rather stream of consciousness, since it is just what I wrote for my day's devotion and is other wise unedited.
Avoid the Cave
MacArthur uses a cave metaphor. You are lost in a cave with no light. You grope around for ages, trying to find a way out. Eventually, you see a pinpoint of light. Carefully working your way toward that light, you finally get to the cave entrance and are free! But after a while, you decide that there were some things you liked about the cave; or perhaps you left some things behind. So you go back in the cave. The cave, of course, is darkness - sin.
I actually like a quote that I saw on the Instapundit Open Thread last night better. It went something like this: it is okay to be scared of the dark; what is not okay is to be scared of the light.
What is the light? It is truth, of course, but light also exposes. That is, light exposes us. And there are things in our lives that we’d rather keep dark. As Christians, the past is past. But for the present, we should be willing to be standing in the light. Not just willing, we should prefer to be doing so.
Matt gave a great sermon yesterday on Matthew 5:13-16 - you are the salt of the world, you are the light of the world. If you were to boil it all down, it would be that we, as Christians, are to be different from the world. Of course this means to be different in that we do what the Bible tells us, not what the world tells us. And we should be obvious about it, not shy about it.
I have to say that I have always been vaguely annoyed that Jesus referred to salt losing it’s saltiness. Salt is salt and remains salt - you cannot leech the saltiness out. But the interpretation which Matt presented, is not that salt somehow loses that which makes it salt, but rather the salt becomes diluted by the introduction of foreign (non-salt) elements, in which case it ultimately becomes useless from the salt perspective.
And we, as salt of the world, need to avoid becoming useless - we need to preserve our saltiness. That is, we need to preserve our biblical worldview and lifestyle and example, and not let it become diluted or corrupted by the introduction of worldly, foreign elements.
How can we be a light to the world, how can our light shine, if that light is not different from the world’s “light?”
Maybe it was the sermon, though I have been concerned about this for some time. I know what triggered the thought. There was an article about a Dem representative who announced that he has cancer. I was appalled by the number of commenters applauding this fact and some explicitly saying they hope he dies. He supports abortion, after all. A lot of these commenters have to be Christian. Are they acting in a Christian manner? Not at all. Totally the opposite. They are acting just as the world does. The best testimony that Christians can give to the world is to be different as Scripture tells us to be different. The world needs to see that Christians are different. There is no positive testimony if Christians show themselves to be no different from the world. In fact, it is negative testimony.
I think this is a super serious problem in the Christian community. Some of us may be acting like Christians within our own Christian community, but acting as the world acts outside of it No, no, no! We need to act as (not merely “like”) Christians all the time. We should be showing the world that we are different and in doing so encouraging others to do likewise. If we are not different, we have absolutely nothing to offer.
I was thinking about the whole notion of forgiveness - and Christians are called to forgive. How many times do we hear someone say “I can’t forgive” this or that. Sometimes it is over something really major. But I see it a lot regarding things that are relatively trivial. A couple points. Christians are supposed to believe in redemption - after all, we have been redeemed. And yes, we can forgive; it is never impossible.
Regarding forgiveness, the problem that many have is not that they can’t forgive, it is that they do not want to forgive. But as Christians, it isn’t a matter of what we want to do, it is a matter of what God commands us to do. Holding a grudge - and that is what we are doing when we refuse to forgive - is harmful to us. And when we claim to be Christian, it is very sorry testimony.
Redemption? We see this stuff in the political sphere all the time. We have things from even 30+ years past thrown at people to discredit them. If you have to go back way into the past to dig something up, it almost certainly no longer applies. I’ll even defend Joy Reid for her old “homophobic” tweets from 10 years ago. If you have no evidence that she still thinks this way, then this is something to just ignore. Of course, if she is going back that far to bash someone else, then it is fair to point out the hypocrisy. But to say someone had bad thoughts many years ago is only relevant if you can show that they still think that way today - or at the very least have shown no evidence of thinking differently since.
People can and do change. And as Christians we ought to be fully aware of this.
Okay, what is the takeaway? We Christians (me, too!) need to be doing a much better job of walking in the light and being the salt of the earth. Right now, statistically speaking, there are a lot of areas where Christians do not seem any different from the world. Divorce, for example. There are some areas where we are clearly different - Christians are definitely more generous with their time and money. There is the saying that no one should be surprised to discover you are a Christian. That is, your lifestyle is consistent with what the Bible demands. Someone will be surprised if that is not the case. So you are a Christian? Really? I never would have guessed! To say this is sorry testimony is an understatement. How many people stay away from church, how many are not receptive to the gospel message because of all those “hypocrites” who claim to be Christians? We can’t stop phony Christians from claiming to be Christian (though we can certainly try to move them in the right direction), but we can most definitely make sure that we are doing a good job of Christian testimony in the way we live our own lives.
I think that a great many Christians simply do not realize just how much we have let our biblical worldview (including God’s commands) be corrupted by worldliness. Worldly applause is seductive, worldly approval likewise. Without even thinking about it, we have let our guard down and allowed a great deal of worldliness to creep into our lives.
Yes, as Christians, we have individual responsibility regarding our lifestyle and the example we set. But being reminded from the pulpit can be a big motivator. We need to examine our lives and see where we have come up short, where we have let the world in, where we can do better. And if we are open to this, surely we will receive guidance, encouragement and strength from the Holy Spirit. It is a journey that we will never fully complete in this lifetime, but we have to get started on it, and once started, we have to keep moving on it.
A final note.
Being a Christian does not mean being a nice pushover. We are to stand up and stand strong for biblical truth, and there is a big overlap between biblical truth and what political conservatives believe to be true - men are men and women are women, abortion is evil, fornication and homosexual acts are sin, genuine racism ("genuine" being a topic for an entire essay) is wrong, the list is long. Yes, we are to stand up for truth with "gentleness and respect." But we are to do it! If someone is offended by the truth, that is their problem, not ours.