Light is fascinating. It illuminates. It reveals. It clarifies.
Often we don’t appreciate the value of light until we’re stuck in a dark place without knowing the way out. You can appreciate this if you ever explored dark and scary places as a child. But light is necessary for survival. God intended it this way from the beginning.
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines the word light as “that which penetrates and dispels darkness.”
Scripture teaches us a lot about light. First, God created light (Genesis 1:3). Second, God Himself is the essence of light (Psalm 104:2; John 8:12). God’s Word is a “light” to our path (Psalm 119:105). And ultimately, Jesus said His disciples are to be the :light of the world,” shining before others (Matthew 5:14-16).
For the apostle Paul, light played a key role in his life ministry. In the book of Acts, we learn that Paul was forced to the ground by an intense light. While en route to imprison individuals who had accepted Jesus as the messiah, Paul was struck blind by a startling light. In the midst of his traumatic experience, he heard the voice of Jesus and was converted and baptized. He then gained sight, both physically and spiritually. Paul’s transformational experience with the “light of the world” helped him finally understand his role as a disciple called to shine his light before men.
Paul’s experience sparked the beginning of what would become a lifelong passion-taking the message of the gospel into places of spiritual darkness. He took three missionary journeys, spreading the gospel to individuals and establishing churches along the way.
Paul’s three letters to Timothy and Titus (known as the Pastoral Letters) were written while Paul was imprisoned near the end of his life. The letters mentored his younger associates who were carrying on the ministry of the gospel to their local churches.These letters share similar characteristics, specifically in that they were very personal in nature.
Paul had met Timothy and Titus during his missionary journeys. Likely, both of these men converted under Paul’s teachings, which could’ve led to the closeness in their connection. In 1 Corinthians 4:17, Paul referred to Timothy as a “dearly loved and faithful son in the Lord.” Paul also referred to Titus as “my true son in our common faith” in Titus 1:4.
Within these bonds of faith in Christ, Paul used his “light” experience to invest in the lives of Timothy and Titus. He offered support and encouragement for their task of sharing the light with others. Paul knew their struggles. Instead of judging and rebuking them, he helped steer them in such a way that they could be successful in leading others to know the illuminating message of the gospel.
In your own journey, have you had a spiritually blinding experience? Has someone along the way invested in you to help you know and understand Jesus? Are there people that you are invest in and being the “light of the world” to? These questions become the framework for our lives as disciples of Jesus. If you’re having trouble answering any of these questions, then maybe this is your “startling light” experience.
Like Paul, be challenged with the passion of spreading the gospel to the spiritually dark places within your own reach. Be a blinding light that brings illumination to this sometimes dark world. You have it within yourself to be a difference in this world, so make the choice to do it. Find others to invest in. Make sure that other like-minded Christ-followers are investing in you as well. Above all, “let your light shine before men, so that they may see you good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).