To Be a Light to the World… you have to be in the World

“You are the light of the world, a city situated on a hill can not be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp stand and it give light to all who are in the house. In the same way let you light shine before men so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

I live in a Christian bubble. I’ve grown up in church, attending a Christian school, and sheltered from a lot of things. I don’t view that as a bad thing. It’s been a blessing to be raised in an environment that nourished and nurtured my faith. 

But now I’m 18. I’m an adult. I’m about to step out into the real world. And I don’t want to be afraid of it. 

God calls us to be in the world and not of it. But I feel like we focus on the second part of that command a lot more than the first part. God calls us to be in the world!

If I’m going to be a light to the world, I have to be in the world to shine my light. My youth pastor likes to talk about how we build disciples to send them out. We can’t just build disciples forever and never send them to do anything. 

To be honest, that’s scary to me! My safe little Christian world looks great to me. And I really do have more gifts and abilities towards discipleship than evangelism. But just because I’m great at one doesn’t annul my responsibility to the other. 

God called me to go make disciples. Look carefully at the wording of some of Jesus last words on earth, 

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” — Mark 16:15

To proclaim the gospel, we first have to go into all the world. 

Here’s where it gets touchy. 

In our world today, controversy is swirling, boycotts are surrounding us, and Christians are taking stands against all kinds of things. We stay away from the “secular” (which we synonymize with evil) world and the “sinners” that are different from us. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, but God has been laying something different on my heart recently. 

How are Christians supposed to minister and spread the gospel in a world we are staying away from? How are we supposed to be a light to people we avoid? It doesn’t work!

To follow God’s call to be a light, we have to go into dark places. We have to step outside of our safety bubble into the unknown. We have to forego safety and comfort, but it’s more than worth it, and honestly, we don’t have a choice. We, the church, God’s people, are commanded to carry His Name and Good News to the world. Every tribe, every nation. Not select people, not people that haven’t committed a certain sin or only people who have a fairly “respectable” background. 

Sin is in the world. And it’s wrong. I’m not denying that. I’m not suggesting that we overlook sin and darkness, that we condone the evil in the world. What I am suggesting is that we bring light to those places. That we love like Jesus loved. Disciples and tax collectors, Jews and Greeks, children and adults, rich and poor.

We are a part of this dark world as much as anyone. We are just as much sinners, just as dirty, just as in need of our Savior’s cleansing blood. But once He has washed us and filled us with His light, it’s our duty to go spread that light. Not because we’re better than the world, but because we want them to have the hope and salvation we do. We should want that for everyone. And we should be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.