I have lived in the largest percent Muslim country. I currently live in the largest communist country. One of the most common things I hear from speakers that come to our local fellowship is the desire to bring refreshing to us. While I appreciate the concern, I am tired of people thinking I’m tired because of where I live.
“This is a hard place.”
Back in the day, I worked with Crusade at one of the largest universities in the US. People would say, “You don’t know what it is like here. It’s not like others places. This is a hard place.”
I understand. Without God many places are hard. When we focus on our own power, we are limited and things become very hard. However, what if it was all meant to be easy? What if God wanted to help you in the process?
People looking for a place to plug in.
So many Christians living overseas have had a wonderful support system back in their home countries that loved them and encouraged them to follow God. They believed God for the impossible and followed His calling to go to seemingly dark places. Unfortunately many of these Christians do become tired and weary once they moved away from their support system.
When they were plugged into their fellowship back home, they had life, love, and joy freely flowing into them. Now the general atmosphere is different, and they are having a difficult time finding a place to draw life. For most the home fellowship taught us how draw life from those around us but not how to draw life from within us.
How to change our environment.
Jesus said He would give us water so we would never be thirsty again (John 4:13-14). He said this water would overflow within us (John 7:38). No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we are carriers of life. As we abide in Christ, we are full. If we feel drained, we need to check our connection (John 15:4-8).
Still there are places that are easier to be connected. If you are the only candle within a dark place, you may generate light, but how far will you see? Even if you gather enough others around you and create a bonfire, there is warmth and light close to you, but outside the reach is darkness. How do you keep your flame burning with all the darkness?
You create a place darkness can’t stay.
Jesus said that He came that we may have life to the full. At the same time, He said the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Can we become so full of life that the enemy can’t take anything away from us? Can we give enough life to others that the enemy has no foothold within them? Can we really displace evil with good (Romans 12:21)?
What would this look like?
I was checking out at Wal-Mart the other day, and a man cut in front of me and woman holding her baby. I don’t know enough of the common language to speak out for myself, not to mention the woman. Anger rose within me. I wanted to hurt the guy.
Do you see what happened? The enemy came in a spread more darkness. I didn’t act out, but the light within me grew dimmer. Jesus said for us to bless those that curse us (Luke 6:28). If we do this, we overpower darkness with the light of life within us.
The challenge for all of us.
This is the challenge for all of us… that we will be so full of the love of Christ that anyone who interacts with us will get our love spilled on them. No matter in what manner they come at us, we will pour out our love on them. Can our hearts be so full of blessings for others that they naturally flow out of our conversations and actions?
The only way we will succeed in this is to be connected to Jesus. The reason the second commanded is like onto the first is that God loves everyone (Matthew 22:37-39). If you really love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then you cannot help but to love others.
Ask God what He loves about specific people around you. Listen to what He says. If God loves that about a person, then it must be amazing. Focus on that aspect about them. Tell them that characteristic that God thinks is amazing and that you appreciate that about them too.
Christmas is a wonderful time. People are full of good cheer. They think more about doing good to others. Allow this season propel you into a lifetime quest of increasing love to those around you. Let’s give darkness no foothold in our lives or the lives of those around us.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12