Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Ephesians 5:8-9, where the Bible says,   

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).



One of the hardest things about being a Christian is comprehending the reality of the depths of both darkness and light. Even more difficult is the awareness that WITHOUT JESUS, we, just like everyone else, are completely in the dark about living life as God created us to live. Pursuit of happiness? Somberly, working in Washington, D.C. for 6 years has made me even more aware of the powers of darkness and the uniqueness of the light of Christ. Living the “good” life? Without a relationship with God, we might have instinctive glimpses of what “abundant” life might be, but we can’t sustain it. You might say that “darkness” has no power to sustain such things. Human beings are sinful by nature and life on our terms alone can best be described as groping in the darkness hoping to find the light. Do you believe that? It sounds kind of harsh, doesn’t it? But it isn’t meant to be. The Bible speaks straight about the human condition for a reason. If you understand the penetrating reality of the darkness of our sin, it is all-the-more wonderful to hear about the gift of eternal life, the gift of light that comes from Jesus Christ alone for you, for me, and for all people.

A few years ago, Yvette and I traveled to Kentucky with our friends Carol and Rich Cohrs. We spent one day of our vacation exploring the caves of Kentucky. If you want to know real darkness, journey to the depths of these caves and then turn off whatever lights you have. That’s what we did and, in doing so, we got a glimpse of what it means to experience the complete terror of utter darkness and the incredible joy of light as a gift. We ventured into the incredible Mammoth caves of Kentucky. Incredibly, hidden beneath the surface of Kentucky’s bourbon country lies the largest cave system on Earth with more than 400 miles of mapped passageways. We were led deep into the maze of those underground tunnels into the very depths of the bowels of the earth. Our guide shared the incredible history of the caves. She talked to us about the courageous adventurers who first explored the caves, mapping them for the delight of many generations to come. Then, far below the surface of the earth, she had us all stand together in this opening. She told us to turn our phones off, and then shut down the lights completely. It is an amazing thing to be in utter darkness. None of us could see our hands in front of our faces. None of us could see clear to step forward or backward to safety. We were paralyzed in the darkness with no clue what to do next. Then, after a few minutes, our guide turned the lights back on. Wow, what a feeling! Suddenly, there was a way forward again. The pathways of terror in the darkness became beautiful again to our eyes once the light returned. We again could see the way forward, the way out.

As we come to grips with the darkness of sin in our lives this Lenten season, we are invited to look even more deeply at the light and life of Jesus our Savior. The beauty of His life overcomes the ugliness of our sin. The light of His life becomes the redeeming path for ours. Let these very weeks before Good Friday and Easter be a time of self-assessment that is honest before the Lord. Let these weeks provide an even more honest look at the penetrating depth of the light of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. This is not merely to see an example to us of the beauty of God’s goodness, righteousness, and truth, but, more importantly, as the way to receive anew God’s gift of life and salvation. Christ’s light and life are there for all who trust, not in their best efforts in the dark, but in Him for our eternal lives as we live in the reality of His light.

By the way, the enduring joy of the Christian life not only involves receiving the beauty of Christ’s light in our lives, but also reflecting and directing it to others by sharing His Word and His gifts with anyone we meet.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, amidst the darkness of this world, give me wisdom to rejoice in the light of Your life. Give me the courage to put my trust in the enduring power of the light of Your Word. Grant that I might be Your disciple for everlasting life, and for the purpose of being a blessing to others in Your name as well. AMEN.

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