Our family loves to camp. When we are unable to make it to nearby state park, we will often camp in our backyard.
One of our most important pieces of camping equipment is our lantern. Without it, our campsite would become very dark as soon as the sun sets. When we light it, however, we can enjoy a bright and cheery evening talking together and roasting marshmallows.
Time of darkness
In the northern hemisphere we are now entering the darkest and coldest part of the year—not just physically, but also spiritually. During the six months after the Feast of Tabernacles the world around us will keep all of its biggest holidays—Halloween, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day and Easter. It will be about six months before we keep another one of God's Holy Days. Yet it is during this darkest period of the year that we are the most visible as "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14).
Darkness is equated to wickedness in Proverbs 4:19. It is used to picture sin and depravity. Yet in contrast, "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). As His begotten children, we have been called to "walk in the light" just like Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7; 2:6). So how can we keep our spiritual light shining?
Three ways to keep your light shining
First, we should not put our light under a basket (Matthew 5:14-16). We should live God's truth with confidence and not be embarrassed by what people might think of us for living it. This does not mean that we are glaring with our light by being preachy, cocky or arrogant. Rather we should simply "live for righteousness" with "confidence through faith" in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 3:12). God will help us to be bold in our words and actions when necessary, much like He did for Moses, Daniel and the apostles.
Second, we should manage our fuel properly. We must be fueling our life by God's Word (John 6:26-27). This means working to truly digest and apply it. How? By reading and studying God's Word and meditating on it. We need to see how to apply it effectively in our relationships and daily actions. This is filling our mind with proper fuel—God's truth—just like the fuel tank in a lantern. By doing these things we will stir God's Spirit within us, which will strengthen us (2 Timothy 1:6). Only then can we reflect God's character through our words and conduct.
Finally, we must stay out of the wind. It can be very hard to light a match in the wind. The flame will keep going out unless it is shielded. We must be careful to stay out of the wind of confusion found in this world so that our flame will not go out. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). However, Satan is. We must not get caught up in the engulfing wind of confusion he creates as the current ruler of our world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Our challenge is to live in the world but not be of the world (John 17:11-14). If we are not careful, the many forms of media in our world, which are all influenced by Satan, can cause us to drift away from following God. God helps guard our minds, but we need to be very careful how much we allow this world into our lives (2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 John 2:15-17). We are to "leave the corruption and compromise...for good" and not "link up with those who will pollute you" as the Message Translation says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. Our goal is to do our best to live righteously according to God's ways.
Walk as children of light
The next few months will bring more darkness as the days shorten. Our world, too, will continue to have more darkness as it ignores God. But with God's help we can keep our light shining and continue to "walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). UN