Who Turned Down the Lights? :: By Holly Spate

Something sad has happened to our society. Each day it seems more and more Christians are letting the light go dim. They are exchanging things of value and worth for things which are fleeting. So many are obsessed with themselves and their own happiness, creating a little bubble for themselves that reaches no further than themselves. They have exchanged selflessness for selfishness and don’t seem to be phased by their choice.

So many lust after the things the world dangles before them—the desire for wealth, materialism and recognition. Many are chasing after their moment in the sun, just trying to catch a little taste of fame. After all, isn’t that what makes one successful this side of heaven?

Fame and the idea of fame has become a sick obsession in our culture. So many are guided by it, interested in it, and elevate it. Sadly, it’s no different in Christian circles. There’s even a radio spot I recently heard on a local Christian station that said, “ Do you want to be a star for God?” A star?… for God?….WHAT?!!!

Some Christians have created blogs for the purpose of simply glorifying themselves, hoping to have their “five minutes” in the spotlight. Some document their entire lives for all to see through endless “selfies” (really dislike that word), to pump up their own self importance and gain a little semblance of celebrity. They take to social outlets to chronicle their lives in the best light possible, going to great lengths to make everything look perfect while hiding their failures and setbacks, never allowing anyone to see what’s really “behind the curtain.”

Many can’t allow themselves to be real and vulnerable with others because that would hurt their “brand” and their feeling of superiority. Their self-absorption and smoke and mirrors existence has real consequences in the lives of those who pay attention to them, often leading others to feel inferior by comparison, stirring up feelings of jealousy.

Proverbs 16:5 is one of many Scriptures which addresses God’s view on a prideful nature. It states, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”

This dimming in our culture is occurring because many believers have not separated themselves as God commanded and have exchanged things of value for worthless things- things that won’t last into eternity. They have run with open arms after the world, focusing their time and attention on anything but Jesus. They are churchgoers on Sunday and participators on the world’s playground Monday through Saturday.

Scripture warns against this, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”
(Matthew 6:19-20).

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or
he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth”
(Matthew 6:24)

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John 15:19).

It doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it?

Why would any Christian, knowing what Jesus did on the cross and the gratitude owed Him, ever think what the world has to offer is worth chasing after? It will ALL fade away and count for nothing. It ALL means nothing. Only what we do for Christ will last and go with us into eternity. We’re not to chase after worldly idols EVER, we’re to chase only after the great “I Am.”

There are many Christians who don’t run after the world’s shiny trinkets and who are doing their best to walk the straight and narrow, heeding the Scriptures regarding how they live their lives. But even one Christian dimming his or her light is one too many! The world needs the light of every Christian to shine bright. The light of Jesus expels the darkness, leads the way, and highlights the truth. And when we shine, we’re to let the light of God’s love shine through and take center stage. It’s never to be about us, but always about Him!
The Bible makes it crystal clear how we’re to live our lives in this imperfect world and what defines us as believers:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”
(Galatians 5:22-23).

It’s time to stop chasing after the world and start chasing after the Savior of the world. It’s time to run toward things of value that matter to our heavenly Father, instead of trivial things that will never matter. It’s time to turn up the lights individually and collectively as believers and let Jesus shine through and take center stage.

The world needs no help dimming its own light, but we’re not to be a part of the darkness. We’re called to be set apart and to shine bright!