Christmas lights can be frustrating!
Ever put up a string of lights that shorts out? And can you believe how easy it is to tangle up those lights?
I read that a supermarket posted a job ad on its website–they were looking for an “enthusiastic” person to detangle Christmas lights for customers!
Reader’s Digest carried this funny story about Christmas Lights:
A customer walked into our store looking for Christmas lights. I showed her our top brand, but—wanting to make sure each bulb worked—she asked me to take them out of the box and plug them in. I did, and each one lit up.
“Great,” she said.
I carefully placed the string of lights back in the box. But as I handed them to her, she looked alarmed.
“Oh. No, I don’t want THIS box,” she said abruptly. “It’s been opened!”
I got to thinking this week, as I anticipated getting out my Christmas decor: “Do I shine brightly for Jesus?” Not just in this special holiday season. But all year long?
Or am I short-circuiting my “shine” like a faulty string of Christmas lights?
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
In other words, Shine! Don’t short out!
This has been a message to my heart since childhood, when I sang a familiar song this way:
Jesus bids us shine, Shine for all around. Many kinds of darkness in the world are found. Sin and want and sorrow, So we must shine—You in your small corner and I in mine.
What does it even look like to “shine” for the Lord?
I think it means:
Don’t just talk about the Lord, show people what He’s like … and what living for Him looks like. In other words, DEMONSTRATE His nature (love, forgiveness, etc.).
An English revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill, once said, “The world is waiting for a practical demonstration of the Gospel of the grace of God.” Another unknown Christian said something similar—a quote that motivates me to evaluate my Christian “example” from time to time:
“The world waits for a demonstration of the Christ Who lives in you.”
Pastor John MacArthur wrote, “The Christlike life is the platform on which individual testimony becomes convincing.”
We need to be sure we’re not “tangled up” in sin!
We must be careful not to walk in darkness by practicing sin (1 John 1:5-6; John 3:19-21). We don’t want to dishonor the Lord. As MacArthur further noted, “Christians who do not have changed lives have a credibility gap.”
We’re to let our light shine in the home, in the church, in the workplace, in our neighborhoods. This was the mission of the first disciples, and it’s still our mission today.
Jesus never spelled out a disjointed, compartmentalized lifestyle. He is either “Lord of all, or not at all.”
This gets really practical. We are to shine as brightly in our choices of entertainment as in the songs we choose to sing in church. We’re to serve as faithfully as we wipe our children’s noses as when we teach a women’s Bible study.
We’re to shine in a million practical ways so others will see our “good works” and give God the glory. We’re to live so our Lord gets the credit for everything that is true and pure and good.
The funny thing is, sometimes our light will shine its brightest in the darkest moments of our lives. When our plans fall apart and yet we trust Him for direction. When our health fails, our bank account is drained or our children wander away. When a loved one is killed and yet we can still say, “God is good.”
The truth is, we need to “practice” shining so we won’t short-circuit when hurts, struggles and even tragedies interrupt our lives.
When you put up your holiday lights this year, pause for a moment and pray: “Lord, help me shine brightly in my family and in my neighborhood. Show me how to reflect your glory in the world.”
Are you shining brightly for the Lord today? If not, what is shorting you out? What has “tangled up” your light?