I have always loved the sun. Growing up in Southwest Kansas was all about summers in the sunshine. I distinctly remember spending long days playing tennis and swimming. The heat never seemed to bother me. In fact, I was part of the generation who slathered themselves with baby oil for a good tan. The hard-core tanners would add a little iodine to the oil for good measure! Don’t ask me how I know. Sunscreen was not in our vocabulary back then, and deeply tanned skin was in. It was pretty obvious who spent time soaking up the sunshine!
I have written numerous times in these blogs about letting our light shine as believers (Matthew 5:16). In fact, this is one of the reasons Victorious Educator Ministries was formed. As educators, we want to boldly live out our faith in the workplace. However, let’s be very clear. Just like we can’t get a tan without sunshine, we can’t reflect our light without Jesus, God’s only Son. We have to spend time soaking up some Sonshine first!
Light—both physical and spiritual—is a gift from God. Light isn’t something you or I can manufacture on our own. Without light from the sun’s rays, our planet would not survive. Physical light is necessary for physical life. In much the same way, spiritual light is necessary for spiritual life. People are searching in all kinds of places for spiritual enlightenment today. As spirit beings, we are drawn to light, and as believers, that light is found in a person, not in a program, a theory, or a practice.
The Book of John begins by introducing us to the light.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (1:4)
Jesus affirmed this statement when He taught in the temple.
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (8:12)
Read slowly through the familiar yet foundational principles listed below. Attempt to grasp the magnitude of each statement. Soak them in and experience some Sonshine!
· Jesus is the source of life. He is the creator and sustainer of all things. (John 1:2-3)
· Jesus is the source of light. He is God’s light sent down to earth. (I John 1:5)
· Jesus came to bring the light of God’s life into a spiritually dark and dying world.
· Darkness will not prevail.
· Everyone has access to the light. No one has to stay in darkness. (John 12:46)
After reading these over and over, I find myself at a loss for words. Why do I question? Why do I struggle? Why do I worry? Why do I forget? Why do I __________? Sometimes we need to be reminded to walk in the light, to spend time with the Son, and to leave darkness behind (Ephesians 5:8). You may be thinking this is easier said than done, but God didn’t abandon us to figure out life on our own. In fact, He paved the way for each of us to soak up some Sonshine all year long! If these verses don’t encourage you, I don’t know what will!
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8 (Emphasis mine)
Isn’t it amazing to know the God of the universe has given us everything we need? He desires for us to share in His divine nature. He wants to lavish us with His precious promises. My finite mind cannot grasp what all this means, but one thing I know—we all have a role we must play. We can’t skim over the phrase “make every effort to respond.” Other translations use the word “diligence” here. Once we accept Christ, spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. We are supposed to give all diligence to our walk with the Lord. God wants us to truly KNOW Him, and this only comes through relationship—spending time with Him in His Word, in prayer, and in community. In other words, we have to spend time soaking in the Sonshine.
The more time we spend with the Son, the more we are able to lead godly lifestyles. Attributes like self-control, patient endurance, and love for all don’t come naturally to us. The life and power available to us through God’s promises and the Holy Spirit are only realized through Jesus when we make every effort to supplement our faith with Godly living.
Most summer days are filled with leisure, projects, and even a little school work. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time in the Sonshine than the sunshine. Tans fade once school starts, but time with Jesus changes us from the inside out (2 Corinthians 3:18). Make a commitment today to soak up a little more Sonshine this summer!
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16