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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 full extent of both spiritual darkness and light. Even more difficult is the awareness that WITHOUT JESUS, we, just like everyone else, are completely in the dark in regard to living life as God created it for us. Pursuit of happiness? Living the “good” life? Without a relationship with God, we might have instinctive glimpses of what that “abundant” life might be, but we can neither attain it nor sustain it. Ever since the Fall, 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? It isn’t meant to be. The Bible speaks directly and honestly about the human condition for a reason. If you understand the penetrating reality of the darkness of our sin, it is all-the-more marvelous to hear about the gift of life and light that comes from Jesus Christ alone for you, for me, and for all people.

This past summer I got a glimpse of what it means to experience the complete terror of utter physical darkness and the incredible joy of light as a gift. Yvette and I went to Bourbon country in Kentucky with our good friends, Rich and Carol Cohrs. One of those vacation days we went to Mammoth Caves. 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 and into the very bowels of the earth. The guide who led us shared the incredible history of the caves as she talked about the courageous adventurers who first explored the caves and mapped them out 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 she shut down the lights completely. It is an amazing thing to be in utter darkness. None of us could even see our hands right 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 as to 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. Suddenly, with light, the pathways of terror in the darkness became beautiful to our eyes. We could again 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 closely 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 redeemed path for our enlightened lives. Let these 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 gaze into the penetrating light of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. They serve not merely as an example to us of the beauty of God’s goodness, righteousness, and truth, but also reveal most brilliantly God’s gift of life and salvation. They deliver Christ’s light and life to all who renounce even their best efforts in the dark, and who now bask in the reality of His light.

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

 PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me wisdom to rejoice in the light of Your life amidst the darkness of this world. Give me the courage to put my trust in the enduring power of the light of Your Word for my eternal life. Then also enlighten my life with opportunities to be a blessing to others in Your name. AMEN.

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