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 Matthew 5:14You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
American King James Version×).
Darkness is equated to wickedness in Proverbs 4:19 Proverbs 4:19The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
American King James Version×. 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 1 John 1:5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
American King James Version×). As His begotten children, we have been called to "walk in the light" just like Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7 1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
American King James Version×; 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 Matthew 5:14-16  You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house.
 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×). 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 1 Peter 2:24Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
American King James Version×; Ephesians 3:12 Ephesians 3:12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
American King James Version×). 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 John 6:26-27  Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
 Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.
American King James Version×). 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 2 Timothy 1:6Why I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
American King James Version×). 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 1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
American King James Version×). 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 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×).
Our challenge is to live in the world but not be of the world (John 17:11-14 John 17:11-14  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be one, as we are.
 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
 And now come I to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
American King James Version×). 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 2 Thessalonians 3:3But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.
American King James Version×; 1 John 2:15-17 1 John 2:15-17  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever.
American King James Version×). 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 2 Corinthians 6:14-17  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
American King James Version×. 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 Ephesians 5:8For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
American King James Version×). UN