As believers, as followers of Jesus Christ, our purpose in life is to push back the darkness around us by allowing God’s light to shine through us. The brighter you shine for God, the more power God gives you so you can shine even more brightly. The problem is that some people who call themselves believers aren’t shining at all. They’re being overcome by the darkness, by the dark side that we talked about last Sunday. Jesus warned us of the problem.

NIV Matthew 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 its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men.

Why would someone light a lamp and put it under a bowl? Seems to me, the only reason someone would do that is if they were afraid that someone might see the light. And what happens to a burning lamp put under a bowl, it will go out. We don’t want our lights to go out, we don’t want our children’s lights to go out. So, we need courage to let our lights shine for God before men in a dark world.

This post is entitled “Finding Courage To Shine.” The dictionary defines courage as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. We need courage to live brightly in a dark world, courage to serve God no matter what other people think, say or do to us.

NIV Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

When you live in a dark world, it’s easy to get discouraged, it’s easy to become afraid, it’s easy to worry and get depressed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Why? Because God goes with you. He can make you strong and courageous.

18th century England was a dark period and Christians were concerned about the slave trade, but it seemed nothing could be done about it. A man named William Wilberforce was elected to Parliament and became a believer 5 years later. He became convinced that his destiny was to abolish the slave trade, yet the dark side opposed him. Lord Melbourne said “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it. The dark side doesn’t want any lights shining. After 20 years of courageously serving God, Wilberforce succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in 1807.

What about your life and destiny? How does God want your light to shine? First of all, you need courage to let your light shine in your family. However, I am convinced that God wants every believer’s light to shine beyond their own families and influence many people around them. That takes courage and God wants to help you.

In this message series, we’re looking at the book of Esther as a model of the dark time we live in today. The Persian King Xerxes had just decreed the destruction of the entire Jewish community through the empire. It was a very dark time indeed, yet God had raised up a star to shine in Esther as queen of the empire.

Listen to my March 21, 2010 message “Finding Courage To Shine” (message-notes).

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