When I was a boy, I was small for my age and quite timid. My older brother, Kris, was as well. This type of situation tends to put a target on the back of grade-school-aged boys. I kept a low profile in school and stayed quiet, but Kris took a different tactic.
My brother became good friends in Jr Hi with a young man named Robert. Robert was about six inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than most of the other students. He became Kris’ bodyguard, protecting him from all the school bullies. The benefit to Kris, besides not getting threatened by the rough kids, was a new and blossoming confidence. He was freed from the fear of the bullies. He knew that he was safe...as long as he stayed close to Robert.
This reminds me of what we experience in Jesus. He is Lord, Savior, King, Messiah, and Redeemer. But He is also our great Protector. The truth is that we all face an enemy who is real, deadly, and bent on our destruction. Satan is described as a lion seeking someone to devour. Our strength is completely inadequate to deal with this deadly adversary.
What can we do? How can we possibly hope to survive?
Only by fully and totally clinging to Jesus in faith and obedience. His power is greater than Satan’s. His strength is enough. So, hold on to Jesus...and never let go.
In a world that seems to darken more each year, we long for and seek sources of light, brightness, and life.
When we look around and wonder from whence the light will come, does it not change everything to hear the Lord tell us, “YOU are the light of the world”?
Me?! The light? How can that be?
Didn’t Jesus say of Himself, “I am the light of the word”? Yes, in John 9:5 He makes that statement. But He also states in Matt. 5:14 that “you are the light of the world”. This lets us know that as Christ’s follower and disciple, the light that shines from my life is not my light but HIS. I am not to manufacture my own light but to reflect HIS light. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 to “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” So, when we do good things and live like Jesus would, we reflect His glory and character, thus glorifying God.
So, let’s do just that...and light up the darkness!
What if someone this week were to ask you, “Why are you a Christian?” or “On what basis do you believe and trust that what you believe about God is true?” What if your faith were openly challenged or just questioned?
Would you shrink back in uncertainty or confusion, or would you lovingly answer to the best of your knowledge?
This scripture challenges us to be ready. The reality is that we will (and probably should) be approached regarding why our hope and trust resides in Jesus. Our challenge and responsibility are to have an answer we can share. Does this mean I have to know every verse and quote every doctrine and have a rebuttal for every challenged idea?
No, but this verse does insist that I have 3 things: a hope (in Jesus and the truth of the Gospel), an answer for the questioners, and a readiness to share.
What will it take to have these 3 things? It will require an active, growing covenant relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, a heart attuned to the Lord and His Mission, and a regular practice of deep diving into the Word of God. Let us all continually pursue these, so that others can see...and then hear...our hope.
Jon K. Smith