We all encounter darkness in our daily lives – it’s the circumstances that make us long for something to be different. Whether it’s a relationship, physical illness or the loss of a dream, it’s all too easy to fixate on the suffering we experience and forget that God is with us. Christmas reminds us we need to chase the light, to run after it in the midst of a dark world. Join us this Sunday as we discover together what that means for us and for our church family.
1. God gave light first.
- At church, we talk a lot about the light of God. Especially at Christmas time, it’s a theme we hear a lot, and with good reason. It’s one of the very first things we see in Scripture. It’s the first thing the Bible tells us God created! Of all the things God could have given us or made, he chose first to create light.
God does this in the cosmos, and he does this in our lives. He speaks light into areas of darkness and chaos, transforming our hearts so that we can live in the way he commands.
- As we follow Jesus, we chase his light while he works in our hearts. Sometimes we like to stay where we are instead of chasing the light, however, and it’s understandable. It’s more comfortable to do things the way we always have, but God invites us to walk by faith.
Describe the journey Jesus has been taking you on. In your journey with Jesus, is there any way in which you’re choosing to stay where you are instead of chasing the light and taking a step of faith God has asked you to take? What is the step of faith you need to take right now?
2. Jesus is the Light.
- The New Testament gives us a new layer of understanding about God’s light. Not only did God make physical light, but Jesus has come to be the light of the world.
- Darkness can’t fathom light so we shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t like or understand how we live. Following Jesus doesn’t make a lot of sense to a lot of people. We live in a way where you there’s someone else more important than us.
- As Jesus takes us on a journey away from darkness, he doesn’t expect us to “be” the light – that’s him. But he does expect us to reflect his light.
- As we walk with Jesus, he roots out first the “low hanging fruit of darkness” in our lives, the things that are most obviously inconsistent with the way he calls us to live. Jesus instantly leads us out from those things, and then he begins to deal with the subtler areas of darkness in our lives. Satan wants to blind us to those subtler things, but we can usually tell which areas of our hearts the Spirit is pushing on because we get frustrated about them.
What are the things that have gotten you really frustrated lately, and how is that revealing an area of darkness the Spirit wants to transform in your life?
3. Like John, we should bear witness.
- John the Baptist was a prophet sent by God to prepare the way for Christ’s coming to the world, and we have the same calling on our lives. Thankfully, Jesus never “grades” us on how we’re doing, he just asks that we respond faithfully to the opportunities he gives us to bear witness to the gospel.
- Read Acts 1:8. We never have to bear witness to Jesus just based on our own ability to grit our teeth and get things done. In Acts, we learn that we ARE witnesses as the Holy Spirit comes upon us, empowering us to carry out the will of God.
Describe a situation recently where you had an opportunity to bear witness to Jesus. How did you respond?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?