To Be, Or Not To Be, A Light?

By Matthew Sargent

Matthew 5:14a “You are the light of the World…”

Matt SargentI was sitting in the break room the other day, with a handful of coworkers, watching the latest news cast of all the turmoil happening here in the US and around the world. Quick and sharp reaction was voiced to the events that are currently unfolding. While listening to everyone’s concerns, it was interesting to note, that the bottom line in everyone’s mind was not on a specific issues or event that was being broadcast, but more about the overall critical state of the world that we live in. One main underlying factor that was voiced by all was… “People in the world seem to be going crazy! Too much hate.”

State of the current culture:

  • We are a society that loves three things: self, money, and pleasure
  • We are a society that is a tinder box ready to explode at the slightest offense
  • Our political climate, alone, is turning families, communities, and people against one another
  • There is a constant stream of negative news fueling our great divisiveness and hate

Simply put, in almost every fabric of our culture today, love for one another is being snuffed out. Being replaced by every form of this self-centered, “what can the world do for me?”, “please don’t offend me, or else!”, attitude! It is getting pretty cold in our world, and it is just as God warned us of what is to come.

A sign of the end times: a world that lacks love 

Mathew 24:10 — “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…”

Matthew 24:12 — “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold…”

2 Tim 3:1-5 — “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Rise to your calling: be the light

John 13:34-35 — “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I John 2:5a — “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in Him”

I John 2:6 –“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

I John 2:9 — “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the
darkness.”

I John 4:11-12– “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

I truly believe there is no greater time on earth that we as God’s children need to heed God’s call when Jesus said, “You are the light of the world”. We are living in the “End of the Age” Era, and this dark world that is increasing with hate, so desperately needs to see the light and love of God in the people of God.

It is clearly stated in God’s Word that His light can only be seen in our lives when we love one another. God’s love is so special and unique, it has its own fingerprint. When we love one another unconditionally, the way God loved us through Christ His Son, God Himself is manifested through our lives in which the world can see. That is how they will know that we are followers of Christ, not because of what we say, but what is seen living in and through us.

Our challenge:

It is time that we the children of God become a bonfire of light in this dark world that we live in. It means living a life of love and service as Christ lived, and modeled for us. A life Jesus commanded us to live. It truly is the worlds only hope. That is my challenge and calling every day, is it yours?

Challenge question: 

Is God’s fingerprint seen in your life today? How bright is the light of Christ shining through you?

 

Matthew Sargent is the former director of Extreme Impact Teen Ministries and Foundations Life Recovery Men’s Ministry at The Hope Center. Matt is a graduate of Liberty University with a degree in Pastoral Studies. He currently lives with his wife and four children in Wesley Chapel, Florida

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s February 14th…and love is in the air.

But love is not only in the air…it’s also in our wallets. According to Yahoo!, in 2009, American’s spent over $17 billion on Valentines Day gifts. Yes, that is billion – not million. In fact, that same year American’s spent $367 million on Valentines gifts – for their pets!

Obviously Valentines Day has been “Americanized” just like all of our other major holidays. It’s another commercial success for American businesses. And to be honest, it’s good that we have holidays like this to help boost our economy. But when you start to think about the amount of money spent, do you think that maybe we are losing the value of the holiday inside all of the commercialism?

It’s a little like Christmas. We’ve begun to lose the real meaning of the holiday in all the materialism. There is nothing wrong with buying things for the people that you love. Nothing at all. But when “things” become the focus, then it’s wrong.

Take Valentine’s Day for example. It’s a day to celebrate love – love for your spouse or significant other – love for your kids – student’s love for their teachers. Even love for our pets. And when you look at this, you realize what this day is really all about. It’s about the most powerful of all human emotions – love.

Love is so incredibly powerful. In fact, love is so powerful that it “conquers all.” As much damage as hate has on humanity, love is so much stronger. Love can melt the most hardened heart. Love can heal the most broken person.

And that is what motivates us at the Hope Center. Love. Love for others. Love for those in need. Love for all. And it’s not just the “love” that can be easily printed on a Hallmark card. It’s not the same love that can be found in a box of chalky, heart-shaped candy. It’s God’s perfect love.

Sin has destroyed every good thing on this planet, including love. Love has become selfish. Love has become jealous. Love has become lust. Love has been trivialized. But one thing that Satan could never have really understood about God is His pure love for His creation.

This love is what sent Christ to earth. He didn’t come just to be a prophet or a teacher. God’s love sent Him to be our Savior. God’s love wasn’t in the form of a greeting card. It was in the form of His Son, beaten, broken and dying for our sins.

And as sad as that story seems, it was also God’s love that brought Jesus back from the dead. It was His love that rolled that stone away. It was His love that conquered death. It was His love that gave us hope.

And it’s that same love that commands us to be different in this world. As Christians, we should be the example of that perfect love. We need to be the ambassadors of the love that wasn’t destroyed by sin.

As Jesus said in John 13:34 & 35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As followers of Christ, we should be demonstrating that love each and every day. This is where the unbelieving world will see the difference in us. By our love. This is the hope we have in Christ. That God’s love has completely and totally won. And His love for His creation is so pure and powerful that we need not fear death, hell or Satan.

And this is the love that is used each and every day at the Hope Center. As we see lives destroyed by sin. Relationships in total shambles. Kids hungry. Men and women enslaved by drugs and alcohol. This is where God’s pure love is alive. People, discarded by society, just like in the story of the Good Samaritan. It is love that changes lives. It is love that makes the unbelieving believe.

Each day as you watch TV, it just seems like there is so much hate and anger in the world. From news programs to reality shows to politics, it just seems that our world is running on nothing but hate. This is probably the best time to be the witnesses that we should be. Talk about a light in the darkness. For every hateful act, Christians counter with love. For every mean word spoken, we speak with love. Let’s show the world what really separates us from them. Let’s bring people to Christ by loving the way He loves – unconditionally.

Fortunately for us, God doesn’t have just one day a year to celebrate love. He celebrates everyday. So let’s join in the celebration. We’d love to have you start giving in any way that you can to the ministries at the Hope Center. Help us show God’s love to people that feel totally unloved. Help us mend the broken with God’s love. Help us fight hate with the only weapon known to beat it, God’s love. To find out how you can help share God’s love, call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.