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We cannot be complacent in these troubled times. Today’s complacency is tomorrow’s captivity.

As 21st-century Christ followers, we cannot deny that we live in difficult times—times of great moral relativism, cultural decadence, spiritual apathy and ecclesiastical lukewarm-ness. For many, the obituary of Bible-believing, Christ-centered Christianity seems poised to be written and published in the annals of history.

Yet, there exists one fundamental truth ready to thwart any and all premature burials of this powerful faith narrative: The gates of hell cannot, may not, shall not and will not prevail against the church of Jesus Christ. I stand convicted and convinced that our Christian faith, our Judeo-Christian values system, will not only survive these troubled times, but also thrive in them.

Parenthetically, while our Bible-based, Christ-centered values stand under unprecedented assault, the No. 1 problem confronting the church around the world may be the church’s willingness to sacrifice truth on the altar of political and cultural expediency, or its inability to elevate corresponding truth with love.

The prophetic prescription for these pathetic times resides in the children of the cross being committed to reconciling righteousness with justice, sanctification with service, holiness with humility, conviction with compassion, rhetoric with tone, and truth with love. This reconciliatory prescription stands captured in a simple two-word admonition: “Be light.”

Accordingly, it behooves us to ask, “What does it mean to ‘be light’?” How can you best define this idea? To “be light” can best be described as the nexus of the Christian message; it’s the place where we reconcile the optic of redemption with the metric of reconciliation. In function, it serves to replace angry evangelicalism with a loving, grace-filled presentation of the gospel message. In form, it elevates the idea that Christianity is not about what we attempt to impose, but what we propose—a personal relationship with God through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. In its essence, to “be light” reminds us that Christianity stands measured not by the variable of rhetorical eloquence, but by the constant of loving actions.

Correspondingly, in Matthew 5:14-16, our Lord and Savior uttered a powerful declaration exhorting us to shine the light of this loving truth:

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Our prophetic light requires an unshakeable stand. This Christ-rendered exhortation compels us to embrace the transcendent and transformational reality that we may have “light,” but it may very well be hidden under the bowl of anger, complacency, apathy or religious exuberance. Further, the implicit yet convicting narrative reveals that the “light” is only as good as where it stands.

If we are to “be light,” then we must remove all vestiges of contention, bitterness, apathy, complacency and anger while we shine on the stand of God’s Word, projecting grace. For this we know for certain: As we stand on love and elevate biblical truth, the beauty of Christ will shine—beauty incarnate indeed! Then and only then can we proceed with the unbridled certainty of this physical and spiritual undeniable fact: When light stands next to darkness, light always wins.

In conclusion, while religion requires us to get rid of darkness in order to prompt the light to shine, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus conveys the very opposite. Be light, and darkness will flee. For we stand empowered by God’s Spirit to “be holy,” “be one” and “be light.” Then and only then can we change the world. Be light!

Prayer Points

  1. I pray that you shake off and permit God to remove everything that life and the enemy of righteousness has placed on you to hide your light.
  2. I pray that the light of God’s grace, truth and love permeates every vestige of your life, family, ministry and community, making you the greatest blessing to everyone you know.
  3. I pray that you be filled with God’s Spirit, and that the light of Christ in you will shine, revealing the hope of glory: Christ, our Lord.

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is the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (La Conferencia Nacional de Líderes Hispanos Cristianos) in Sacramento, Calif.