I had a great talk with a friend who leads a family-strengthening organization who was quite disappointed in recent developments in our home state of Illinois. Despite rallying churches and families to seek to pass moral laws, our state is seemingly unconcerned with what God thinks about many moral issues.
That he was disappointed was not a surprise to me.
What surprised me was his conclusion about how he needed to respond. He said,
I need to learn to counsel those who are dealing with difficult issues that will result if marijuana use, abortion rates, and sexual brokenness all are increasing.
How can we respond? We can choose to curse the darkness, or we can choose to be light in an increasingly dark culture.
One candle, in a very dark room, makes a far bigger difference. He was organizing a group from his church to go through our biblical counseling training because they want be candles in the midst of the darkness.
Jesus and the Light
I quickly thought of what Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:14–16.
 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
It wasn’t just our state going through hard choices this week. We experience darkness on a personal level too: both those who claim to be followers of Christ and those who have yet to appreciate Jesus as light. You might be in that spot today – the darkness either personally or in those around you feels oppressive.
How do you respond to the personal darkness that might be around you? Some examples might include:
- One of your children forms an addictive habit.
- Your spouse cheats on you.
- An abuser still walks free.
- Your family mocks you for your faith in God.
- Your parents question your loyalty in painful ways.
- A church/pastor seemingly self-destructs.
- Your employer puts you down because you won’t bend the rules.
This week, the BCC offices and online video counseling sessions were full of conversations about how to live as light in the midst of personally dark circumstances that we so often face.
We can throw up our hands in despair because those around us choose to walk in darkness, or we can choose to come near them with the light. Your light might give them the chance to walk out of the darkness and back into the light.
If we are going to be light in the darkness, the Bible asks us to remember four things so that our Light will shine bright. Check out what Paul said in Philippians 2:14–17.
Check your attitude
 Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
Consider your example
 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Cling to Christ
 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Choose to be faithful
 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (ESV)
2 clear applications of this truth
If you are in the midst of the darkness now:
We can get sour because God has put us in or near a dark place in our family, marriage, church or culture. However, this dilemma is not new those who follow Christ. We can choose to be faithful in walking from the darkness personally or next to those who need the light of Christ to light their path. The light we have from Christ is not really for us, but it impacts those all around us.
If you want to make a difference and learn to shine a bright light for others in need of hope and help:
Learn how to speak to the darkness with the hope of Christ by getting training in biblical counseling. You may organize a small group of people from your church to go through on online video based training at your church or you can take our training wherever you are.
Salt and light, Jesus said. The ministry of preserving salt goes hand in hand with the ministry of truth revealing light. Our world is festering with purification. Salt restrains that. The Holy Spirit through us restrains the lawlessness in our world, along with The Law and Angels (re: Daniel, Gabriel and Michel).
We hold back the lawlessness, while we shed the truth abroad. Wow, what a ministry for every believer.