Stage 1 or 2?

Stage 1, 2, 3 or 4 have become household words in South Africa. Everyone knows what they mean and I’m sure many people have a loadshedding schedule pasted up against a wall. The electricity supply which is so crucial to so many businesses, hospitals, clinics etc. is interrupted two or three times daily because of a supply crisis. There are many and varied reasons and speculations. There are lots of cartoons and jokes doing the rounds. There are also a lot of angry people. It would be extremely worrying if people just accepted loadshedding as part of their lives and did not complain, joke or seek solutions. Living in darkness in the 21st century is just not acceptable. Or is it?

Lots of people live in spiritual darkness and accept it as normal. They stumble and grope their way through trials and troubles daily. They look for answers in all the wrong places. Why are bars and bottle stores so well supported? Why is the drug industry so lucrative? Why do casinos spring up even in small towns? Sex outside of marriage becomes more and more acceptable. All kinds of things that weren’t okay years ago have become the norm. Why are people looking in the wrong places for the answers they need?

The Gospel has become weak and watered down. There is little power in the church and on Sundays attending church is the last thing on most people’s minds.  2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God should shine on them.” John 3:19 – 20, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Luke 1:78, “To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

If you are a child of God you are going to know when you’re doing things that you shouldn’t be doing, you are going to feel uncomfortable. You will know that something in wrong. If you do things that you don’t want everyone to know about then you are doing things in the dark. But there are so many people who do not know Jesus; people who aren’t children of God who are walking in the dark and who don’t have the Holy Spirit to guide them. These are the people who are seeking for the truth but they don’t find it in churches because the truth isn’t always preached. Sometimes there are pastors who are afraid of giving offense and they don’t preach the truth and they don’t preach love the way they should. They also don’t get out of the darkness by looking at the behaviour of Christians because too many Christians look just like the world. Believers should look different and sound different. Christians should be bold by proclaiming the Gospel like Jesus instructed.

Are we too scared of people’s opinions to be bold in our approach? Do we sound just like the world when we speak? Do we swear and curse and take the Lord’s name in vain? Do we take offense when people say things about us? Do we sulk and ignore people or do we lash out and criticize? Do we judge and hate just like the unbelievers?

Can people see that we are different and that we are striving to do what Jesus would have done? Are we truly trying to be like Jesus and shine our light before men? Isaiah 40:3. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This was a prophecy about John the Baptist. Are we crying out in the wilderness, and in the towns and in the cities? Are we proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or are we hiding our faith in fear that people will judge us? We need to be bold and strong and our lights need to shine brightly in this dark world.

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