“Givers of Light” (Philippians 2: 14-16, WYC) by Carley Evans

And do ye all things without grumblings and doubtings; [Forsooth do ye all things without grutchings and doubtings;] that ye be without plaint, and simple as the sons of God, without reproof, in the middle of a depraved nation [in the middle of a shrewd nation] and a wayward; among which ye shine as givers of light in the world [among whom ye shine as givers of light in the world;]. And hold ye together the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ; for I have not run in vain, neither I have travailed in vain. [holding together the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ; for I have not run in vain, neither in vain travailed.]Philippians 2:14-16WYC

What are the enemies of a simple, reproof-free Christian life? Grumblings (or grutchings) and doubtings, if you read Paul. I imagine Paul bemoans the critical soul who wrings his hands and shakes his head at the world as it rushes by in its waywardness and depravity. I see Paul weeping over the Ebenezer Scrooges of the Christian world who bah-humbug their way through the Christian life. Paul does not wish to run his own race in vain. He desires the Christians he leads to “shine as givers of light in the world.” He wishes Christians to “hold…together the Word of Life” to his “glory in the day of Christ.”

Paul doesn’t say, “Do some things without grumblings and doubtings.” Rather he says to do all things with joy and faith which come of knowing the Lord. Then, and only then, will we shine as givers of light to the world.

Put Down Our Little Firebrands (Isaiah 53: 5 – 6, HCSB) by Carley Evans

God asks, “Who among you fears the Lord, listening to the voice of His Servant? Who among you walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of Yahweh; let him lean on his God.” (Isaiah 50: 10)

And in His next breath God states, in singularly marked contrast, “Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands; walk in the light of your fire and in the firebrands you lit! This is what you’ll get from My hand: you will lie down in a place of torment.” (Isaiah 50: 11)

We who work diligently to generate our own light remain in darkness while those of us who turn to Jesus for His Light find ourselves in the Light of Life. Jesus says, “I Am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me never walks in darkness but has the Light of Life.” (John 8: 12)

The light we may produce in our own power is no match for Jesus’ Light. We may put our little firebrands atop a hill and think they shine out in power, but the light we produce is too small and keeps us and others “in a place of torment” and dark. We need to stop making little fires, and turn to the One who is Light.

The reason our light is not light at all is because “we all go astray like sheep; we all turn to our own way.” Our way is a path of darkness; our darkness led God to “punish [Jesus] for the iniquity of us all.”

And Jesus says, “The Lord God…awakens Me each morning; He awakens My ear to listen like those being instructed. The Lord God opens My ear; and I Am not rebellious; I do not turn back. I give My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tear out My beard. I do not hide My face from scorn and spitting. The Lord God helps Me; therefore I Am not humiliated.” (Isaiah 50: 4 – 7)

Put down your firebrands; turn your ear to Jesus, the voice of God’s Servant. Let His Light shine in you. For He is not humiliated, and He overcomes the dark.

“Even Demons Believe” (John 8: 31 – 32, ESV) by Carley Evans

Jesus speaks to the scribes and Pharisees, telling each that He is the light of the world, that He is going away and that they will not find Him when they seek Him; instead they “will die in [their] sin.” (John 8: 21)

“As He is saying these things, many believe in Him.” (John 8: 30)

He tells the Jews who believe in Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

These same Jews who believe in Him nevertheless do not accept that they need Him. They protest, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.” (John 8: 33)

Jesus tells them they are slaves to sin. He tells them they “do what [they] hear from [their] father.” (John 8: 38) They claim Abraham as their father. Jesus tells them that the devil is their father. “The reason you do not hear [the Words of God] is that you are not of God.” (John 8: 47)

These Jews who believe in Him say He has a demon. They say He can not possibly be greater than Abraham. Jesus claims, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8: 58)

“So [the Jews who believe in Him] pick up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hides Himself and goes out of the temple.” (John 8: 59)

“The Exact Imprint Of God’s Nature” (John 1: 1 – 2, ESV; 14, The Message) by Carley Evans

The Word is God at the beginning. The Word is with God at the beginning. God and the Word are one at the beginning — then and now and forever.

“The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” The Word came to earth as a baby. The Word grew up into a young man. John, the disciple beloved of Him, writes: “We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (John 1: 14, The Message)

The Word — God’s Son, Jesus Christ — “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the Word of His power.” (Hebrews 1: 3, ESV)

“This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1: 5, ESV) No darkness is found in Jesus Christ, but only Light. He is the Light of the world. David sings, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27: 1, ESV)
Isaiah writes, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9: 2, ESV)

We stand in the Light of the world. We know the Word of God.

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9: 6 – 7, ESV)

“This, Not Of Ourselves” (John 3: 20 – 21, ESV) by Carley Evans

If we are in God, then our actions are of the Light, of God Himself. This is how we are able to come to and stand in the Light of the World. We have identified ourselves as belonging to that Light. Hence we no longer hide from the Light; we step into it so that our deeds are exposed as being not our own, but His. Our deeds are deeds of Light; of Goodness and do not emanate from us, but from the Son of God and from His Holy Spirit who is within us. For, from out of our hearts, come goodness and mercy, love and kindness, peace and holiness. And this, not of ourselves, but of God, lest any of us should suddenly be inclined to boast. 

Those who remain in the darkness of hell, of sin — they hide from the Light for the Light of the world exposes all that does not belong to Him, all that stands outside of His Holy Spirit and His domain of influence. Those in the darkness do hide from the Light so that their deeds will not be exposed for what they are — rubbish, worthless acts, doomed deeds. These are destined to be burned up, to float away as ash on the winds of destruction.

Let us rejoice for “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” (Hebrews 10: 39, ESV)