We’re in a tough period in our culture’s history. With the pandemic, job losses and economic decline, racial protests, contentious politics, schools forced to move to remote learning, and churches not being able to gather in person—it’s understandable if we feel less like a light and more like hiding!
Yet in the midst of darkness and uncertainty we’re reminded that Jesus calls us, not to hide but to be light in a dark world.
“A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Note that Jesus wasn’t saying, someday when you get your act together. He was talking in the present tense: at this very moment, you are the light of the world.
Like it or not, the God of the universe calls you and me to let our light—Jesus’s light, if we’re Christians—shine right now, today.
Because we’re living in a dark world in desperate need of what I call “Social Restoration.”
The Social Restoration I’m referring to is the process of mending the deep relational divisions in our communities and cities. God wants people to live in peace—not in a culture polarized by turmoil and upheaval.
The Church isn’t a members-only club. It’s the Body of Christ Himself, restoring wholeness and bringing light to hurting world.
Remember what Jesus said to His disciples:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
We display the light of Christ to a hurting and broken world most clearly when we love people the way Jesus loved us. How did Jesus love us? He moved toward us when we were far from Him. He didn’t let our sin, our brokenness, or our differences get in the way but forgave us freely. He sacrificially gave His life that we might join the family of God.
We sometimes struggle with this, don’t we? Our pride, our “rights,” or our selfishness gets in the way. It is easy to love the people who look like us, think like us, and talk like us. But what about those who look, think, and talk differently than us?
James, the brother of Christ, nails this issue in his epistle. “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:8).
The way of Jesus is the path of renewal and restoration for our entire culture. This is what it means to be a light in the dark and draw people to Christ.
Is your light hidden? Or is it shining bright?
For more resources on becoming a Jesus-reflecting light in a dark world, check out Ryan’s teaching series, Social Restoration.
Lead Pastor, Awakening Church
Ryan Ingram is currently serving as the lead pastor of Awakening Church in San Jose, California. He and his wife, Jenny, planted the church in 2012 with a passion to awaken this generation to new life in Jesus. Ryan leads his church community through teaching and strategic leadership. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute (in Chicago) and attended Moody Theological Seminary. He lives in San Jose with his wife and three children.More Articles by Ryan