Lighting Up

I was recently leaving a basketball game at the same time a couple of other young men were and before they were even out of the doors one said to the other, “Hey, it’s time to light up.”  They just couldn’t wait for a fresh dose of nicotine, acetone, arsenic, cadmium, formaldehyde, lead, methanol, tar and 592 other toxic cancer causing ingredients.
Sad to say, I remember those days when I was deceived by the false hopes and expectations of “lighting up.”  I was deceived into thinking that smoking gave me a physical high while at the same time keeping me calmer.  I still tease Vicki sometimes when I get stressed out that I’m going to start smoking again because I was a lot calmer when I smoked.  I say “tease her” because I know smoking is a big lie; actually smoking made me much more agitated.  Smoking is just one of the ways the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy.
After praying diligently for a year, I praise God that he delivered me from smoking.  And for those of you who would like to quit, my prayer is that God will deliver you as well.  As I was reflecting on my observation of the two young men who wanted to light up, I was also reminded of how God had given me a new reason to “light up” at about the same time I quit smoking.
Shortly before I quit smoking, God gave me a passion for reading and studying the Bible.  The more I discovered God’s great love for his people and his desire for us to be free from the grip of sin, the more I wanted to tell others how to find freedom.  For me “lighting up” now means letting the light of Christ shine through my life.
Most recently I had an opportunity to shine some light into the darkness of a person who was trapped in bitterness and unforgiveness.  He was bitter and bent on revenge.  As I shared about God’s love for him and how he had been forgiven, he quickly began to see that forgiving the person who offended him was going to be what released him from darkness.
Actually, as a follower of Jesus, we are all called to “light up”.  Jesus said in Mathew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
So how about it, have you been “lighting up”?  If not, let me encourage you to “light up” your circle of influence with the love and the truth of Jesus.  So many of your friends and family are walking in the darkness and can’t find the light; surely there is someone who needs your light.
May you and I grow in letting our lights shine for God’s glory.
Go light your world,

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