Is there a practical way for us to shine the light of Jesus Christ into a dark world? What steps can you and I take to differentiate ourselves as believers from society around us? How can we stand out as children of light in the midst of darkness?
Some immediate traditional answers for distinguishing ourselves come to mind — activities like preaching, prophesying and witnessing to others. However, those actions presuppose our friends and neighbors will actually give us a platform to speak. What if we can’t speak directly about the Gospel? What if our primary message to those around us has to be one without words — the way we live, work and conduct ourselves?
In this letter, I want to offer one way we can shine as lights of Jesus Christ in a dark world. In theory, it is simple. But in practice, what I am about to suggest is nigh unto impossible without God’s grace operating in our lives in a big way.
Preaching Every Way Possible
“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” This is a familiar saying commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, although there is no evidence he ever actually said it. That doesn’t take away from the truth of the statement. Shining as lights in the midst of darkness involves not only what we say, but even more often, what we don’t say.
Yet, what we say — and how we say it — can be a powerful tool. Even more powerful is the attitude we exhibit as followers of Jesus Christ. That is the area where the light of Jesus in us can actually shine the brightest.
Pure Light Sent into Darkness
Recently, I was one of three speakers at a week-long series of church conferences in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The overall theme for the conferences, “Pure Light Sent into Darkness,” was similar to the topic of this letter. The basic focus was how to carry God’s light into a dark world.
The foundational verse for each of the six messages I delivered was 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” In each of the sessions, I emphasized a three-step process implied by the latter part of this passage.
First, God has called us out of darkness. Second, we are called into His marvelous light where He works on us, restores us and prepares us. Third, an implied step, is that we are then called to go back into the darkness. After the Lord snatches us out, repairs and prepares us in His light, He then sends us back to reach those held captive in a dark world.
The messages presented by our teaching team were warmly received by the gracious people of Santo Domingo. They comprehended and absorbed what we were sharing — even though the theological truths about light and darkness were somewhat complex. These wonderful people were “with us” all the way. But I wanted to take them one step further.
The Rubber Meets the Road
One of my goals in teaching is to give practical ways to apply whatever I present. As Derek Prince frequently said, “I promised God that I would never again just preach a religious lecture, but always give people an opportunity to obey the message that was preached.” Like Derek, when I share I want to offer a practical step to take.
In the Dominican Republic, one of those steps emerged as I asked the crowd, “What is one way we can shine as lights in a dark world?” For that session, I had been speaking from Philippians 2:15 as my primary passage: “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” The latter part of this verse makes our mandate clear: to shine with the light of Jesus in a dark world.
Then followed the question: So how do we actually do that? Pointing them to one way we can shine, I quoted the brief command in the previous verse — six powerful words from Philippians 2:14 (NIV): “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”
When I proclaimed those six little words during my message in Santo Domingo, the audience actually groaned. Later, when I shared this same passage with a colleague, he said, “Now you’ve quit preaching and gone to meddling.”
Six Little Words
Six little words (seven in some versions which say “all things”): “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Brief, succinct and easy to understand. But oh, so difficult to put into practice.
Derek Prince regularly presented truths which, though easy to understand, were not so easy to fulfill in daily living. In one of his teachings, “Release to God’s Ultimate,” Derek began his message by targeting the need for us to counteract self-love in our lives.
I want to speak about divine love as the absolute opposite of self-love. One Scripture where we see that is Philippians 2:14-16: “Do everything without complaining or arguing [those two — complaining and arguing — are conspicuous marks of self-love] so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life….”
I believe one application of that Scripture is this: if we are to shine as stars in the universe, first of all we have to correct our personal behavior — putting away arguing and complaining. But we do not shine unless we hold out the Word of God. We are obligated to extend the Word of life — the Gospel — to the rest of the world….
Let me say now, I am not trying to change immediately what anybody does. But what I’d like to do is produce a certain attitude. I believe that as we reach out beyond ourselves, there are two circles we need to reach. The first and the closest circle is the whole body of Christ. The wider circle is the whole world.
There is a key to approaching our fellow believers — two ways to approach them. One is the wrong way; the other is the right way. I know from experience that the wrong way is — ”We’ve got more than you.” You know what happens? You put people’s backs up. You stop their ears and they push you away. The right way, I believe, is an attitude: “Can I serve you? Is there something I can do to help you?”
Are You Ready to Shine?
Quite a challenge, isn’t it? Serving selflessly without complaining or arguing. But do you sense the Lord speaking to your heart through these words?
Right now could be a breakthrough moment in your life. Maybe the Lord is answering your question about how you can better reflect His light in your life. Maybe it’s less complicated than you thought: Find a way to serve; then do the job without complaining.
Could it really be that elementary? Notice, I didn’t say simple. There is nothing simple about this one way to shine. It will take a lot of grace and all the self-control you can muster. But I believe the Lord can help you and me if we ask Him.
Are you ready to ask? Let’s do so together with the following prayer.
Lord, I have asked You many times to help me be a reliable witness for You. I believe You have just showed me one way to shine for You.
Father, I am asking specifically that You will help me to carry the same attitude that Jesus, Your precious Son, carried with Him throughout His life. Make me like Him — a servant to all, doing everything You asked of Him without grumbling or arguing.
With this prayer, I am asking You to pour out Your grace and help in my life, enabling me to respond to this simple yet profoundly difficult mandate from Your Word. Lord, I commit myself — with Your help — to do every task placed before me without complaining, without protesting, and without hesitating in my obedience.
Father, I believe that if You will help me to do this successfully, I will stand out from the crowd, shining as a light in a crooked generation. Help me glorify Your name through this one way to shine. Amen.
God’s Grace to Help
You may want to take a deep breath here — because you and I have just committed ourselves to a radical way of life. (Let’s say either “Amen” or “Oh, me!”) You and I have just asked the Lord to help us live out a lifestyle that will distinguish us from most of the people around us — on the job, in our families, in the church we attend. If this truly becomes our way of relating, the light is about to burst forth in a remarkable way.
Frankly, you’re going to need special help with this one. That’s why we here at DPM–USA are ready to supply you with every resource you might possibly need, starting with the full message from which we took Derek Prince’s teaching excerpt: “Release to God’s Ultimate.” We believe this profound message will be a continuing inspiration to you.
We’re Here for You
We want to supply you with great material — but even more, we want to be in touch with you. Please feel free to contact us here at DPM–USA anytime. Hearing from you is one of our greatest treasures — giving us the opportunity to pray with you and encourage you in your relationship with Jesus Christ. You are very important to us, and it is our honor to support you as you shine in the world around you.
Your contact with us is also a wonderful chance for us to thank you personally for standing with us in the ministry of DPM. Because of your prayers, your friendship and your generous contributions, we are able to provide Derek Prince’s timeless biblical teaching to hungry Christians here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Thank you for being a vital part of those efforts.
Time to Shine
Now it’s time to put into practice the principles and promises we have been talking about. That first task lies just ahead. So take that deep breath, bite your tongue if needed, and step out to serve with the best attitude you can muster. You never know who is watching. But as they see light instead of grumbling, it will make an impact.
We will be praying for you all the while. It’s not easy… we know that. But if you will give it your best, serving without complaining will surely be one way for you to shine.
All the best,
P.S. We are so grateful for your willingness to step up to this challenge. Please click here and take us up on our offer to give you Derek’s full message, “Release to God’s Ultimate.” Thank you again for partnering with us in the work of Derek Prince Ministries.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.