God is light, but you and I are HIS light bearers to bring new life. Every follower of Jesus has something to offer.
1. Be clean
Once light breaks into darkness the darkness is gone. Once God’s light shines into your life, you get to take a clear look at yourself, and you may not like what you see! You may find the light is dim for a while, but you’re not alone, we all have dark voids that God’s light needs to fill.
You may find stuff from your past is now visible to you. Deeply held secrets, feelings of shame over past actions, struggles, sins, and hurts, may be brought to light. These are all part of our former darkness and God promises to remove them or use them, so talk to God about those things. Ask God to release and remove them and use those experiences to bring new light and life to others.
“If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.” (1 John 1:8-9, NCV)
If this is difficult to do find a trusted Christian pastor or counsellor to talk through your past struggles. The darkness will go and you will be a new person empowered by the spirit of God to shine his light in special ways that only you can do!
2. Be yourself
No-one likes a fake, and our world is bursting with fake news and fake people. Be genuine, be real. Don’t try to be like another person, just be yourself. God makes each person unique, right down to their finger prints, and God gives each person unique gifts to use in personalised tasks that God has called you to do. When you are authentic you shine the light of God and then God can work through you.
“For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable”
(Romans 11:29, NIV)
God gives you gifts and he gives you a personal call and that can never be withdrawn by anyone or anything!
Use what you have learnt through life wisely, allowing it to bring understanding, hope and compassion to your interactions with people in dark places.
3. Be there
We have all been in dark places and when you think back to the people who were most helpful, how were they and what were they doing? In most cases it is the person who has taken the time to be there, to listen, to show they care, to pray, to be present, to cry with, to laugh with, to reminisce with… Just be there for one another and show you care.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Philippians 2:3-5 (ESV)
You may think I have no idea what to say? Well you are in good company! Many of the most well-known people in the Bible said the same thing to God! It’s a good thing, because it allows us to be humbly present and listen. It makes us lean on God and not on our own knowledge or experience. I often go back to Moses being told by God to go and tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. Moses was shocked and basically said to God “Are you kidding? Not me! Send Aaron! He’s got the gift of the gab! He’s the man with the mouth, not me! God patiently reminds Moses it is his job and he is not going alone. God would give Moses the words to speak at the right time. God tells Moses, “Who made your mouth? I did. Now go. I will help you speak and teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12).
I have said that phrase to myself a lot of times in my life, “Who made your mouth!” When you are afraid and you don’t know what to say, just be there and make this your mantra as you let God use you as his mouth piece in 2023.
4. Be encouraging
There are so many ways we can encourage one another. A kind and timely word, saying thanks, giving reassurance, a word of praise, reminding them of God’s promises, providing inspiration, a word of hope, showing you care, lifting someone’s spirits, recognising their strengths, boosting their morale, a word of comfort and support.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
(Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV)
Let them know you’ve got their back, you believe in them, you’re there with them via prayer, a text, a phone call, a notelet, a meal, a gift, a job done, an action taken, a positive social media comment, a warm response… Start by reaching out to friends, family and those within your sphere of influence.
5. Be a doer
I recently got a new mobile phone, and to say I could only use it in a limited way would be an understatement. I needed to read the manual, ask family (aka grandson), call friends re the best apps to make life easier, and I go back to the manual every time a new issue crops up to work out what to do. It’s the same for doing God’s will and His work.
“Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves.”
(James 1:2, NCV)
To be a doer of God’s word you have to know what’s in it! God’s promises are true and His words instructive. They provide everything we need to live in God’s way and shine His light in the darkness. It’s not right to hide that light, God’s gift of life is free and for all and we have to share it and shine it into the world. We do that best when we show up as our authentic self, using Gods’ unique gifts and personal call for each one of us, to attend in the tougher dark spaces of another person’s life, with careful, listening, encouraging words, and compassionate action.
Let’s light up our community and our world with God’s love, so everyone has the chance to be, become and live – a full and flourishing life.
If you would like to join us and ‘be the change you want to see in your faith community’, then find out how herewww.afcna.org.au
Author: Anne van Loon RN PhD, Feb 2023