July 22, 2017

“I Am the Light of the World”

“If we realized how short the time is, we would redeem it with worthwhile conduct” (MW Brooks).

Why Worldviews101?

by James C. Stephens

How do we view the world? Our intention is to follow in the footsteps of Yeshua as have historical pilgrims of the Church.  From the outset, our LORD Yeshua, Jesus Christ, interacted with those spiritual seekers on a deep level of intercourse, understanding their particular worldview and their religious and cultural baggage as it were.

In one such discussion with a young religious scholar who thought he’d trap Yeshua in a debate, Yeshua, the Ancient of Days peered into the past and spoke deeply to the soul of the young zealot:

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see, for I say to you that many prophets and sovereigns have wished to see what you you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”

And see, a certain one learned in the Torah stood up, trying Him, and saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit everlasting life?”

And He said to him, “What has been written in the Torah? How do you read it?”

And he answering, said, “You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.”

And He said to him, “You have answered rightly. Do this and you shall live” (Luke 10:23-28).

Earlier this evening, I had picked up one of my old commonplaces from 1996-1997 and looked at my notes examining the principle of light and darkness.  The reality  is that one day, darkness will arrive when man will no longer be able to carry out his work. The nature of darkness is such that it ” covers and hinders the object, so that one stumbles over anything contacted rather than perceiving and experiencing the reality of it. Darkness conceals. Darkness is blindness.”

It is the nature of darkness to conceal the light. At times, society looks to its ” Emperors” who feign that they have it altogether, have all the answers. Society as consumer buys the Madison Avenue hype that tailors that proverbial  invisible spin.  Sometimes it takes a whistleblower’s brave act of disclosure, or someone like Julian Assange, a radical hacker’s  whose release of documents on his website Wikileaks  set into motion a whole range of undetermined consequences into motion. At other times, it only takes a child’s  simple act of courage to call attention to the fact that the Emperor in reality has no clothes.

Not far from our home is a new housing development called the Ostrich Farm.  The fashion of the day at one time demanded Ostrich feathers. Ostriches are known for indiscriminate cruelty as they often trample their young to death and also for poking their head in the sand when trouble approaches. We can’t afford to be ostriches in our world if we wish to survive, let alone thrive with any integrity.

In an increasingly pluralistic society, where “blood and belief are what people will live and die for” (Samuel Huntington), it becomes imperative that we grapple with the differing belief systems our neighbors may hold to. While Pew Trust’s Survey on Religious views in the US  revealed that nearly “six-in-ten U.S. adults say that religion is “very important” in their lives, and roughly four-in-ten say they attend worship services at least once a week” the survey revealed that ” large numbers of Americans are uninformed about the tenets, practices, history and leading figures of major faith traditions – including their own.”

In  a September 2010 U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey it was revealed that,

“Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.”

The question for those who follow Jesus Christ is, “Do we believe or if we’re honest with ourselves, just make believe?”   The following statements by MW Brooks are key qualifiers in discerning whether or not we are believers or just wasting our time. Let’s be honest with ourselves.

1) Love the Truth more than yourself. Do not believe that Truth is relative to what you or others declare it to be, but that there is an Ultimate Truth that changes not.

2) Seek the Truth-the Truth is not far from each one of us if we will only acknowledge the Truth as God declares it to be. Diligently seek out the reality of a matter, instead of resting in the appearances of things on the surface.

3) Obey the Truth. Admiration of the Truth is worthless if it doesn’t set your feet in motion. Admiring the Truth while not obeying it is the height of hypocrisy and the plague has smitten modern society. Action is required to obey the truth.

4) Rejoice in the Truth-though modern society laughs and esteems the Truth as having no value at all, a seeker of Light should rejoice in the Truth. It should cause one great joy in knowing God has been merciful and gracious in allowing you to know what the Truth is while the whole world gropes in the darkness of a lie. To know the final outcome of all things is a great treasure, for the wise person can mold their behavior accordingly; but the foolish continue in their revelings in the darkness and are punished.

5) Suffer for the Truth. It is true the world will laugh and mark you for obeying the Truth, but a seeker of the Light should take it patiently, realizing that the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe suffered the same when He became a man and walked upon the earth. Did the world welcome Him with open arms? They called Him a madman and accused him of being empowered by the Prince of Darkness! Those that love the darkness more than the Light will always try to substitute their darkness for the Light to justify their evil deeds! There is great value in suffering for the Truth, for it brings you into oneness with the Truth and fellowship with all who have suffered for the Truth before you!

6) Share the Truth. The Truth is freely given and therefore should be freely shared with others. Truth is too great a treasure to keep to yourself, and if you try to do it, the Light that is in you will become darkness, because God is a giving and loving God, and would have all to be saved by the acknowledging of the Truth as it is in Jesus Christ. It is the rejection of the Truth, sent from the loving hand of God to a lost world, that will Judge those that reject it.

7) Speak the Truth in love. Truth is a most powerful weapon, and can be used for selfish advantage over those who know not the Truth. When a person uses the Truth for selfish gain, it beocmes separated from its source and corrupted! Only speak the Truth to others for unselfish aims–to seek their betterment–and not for the purpose of showing your superiority over them. Walk in the Light, not in the darkness.

Thus spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).