I read a verse of Scripture today that struck me in a way that felt bigger than the words themselves. Philippians 2:15: “… so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world . . .”

These words stood out to me: “blameless, of God, in a perverse society . . . shine as lights”—and with these holy words, a vivid memory played out in my mind.

A couple of days ago, I started watching a movie, a comedy. After a very short time into it, I jumped out of my chair in a race to shut the thing off as fast as I could. An extremely nasty, graphic scene still plays out in my mind, stubbornly stuck in my memory. How can I get rid of it? I can’t fathom how the movie was produced for public viewing. I can’t even begin to imagine what the actor in the scene must have felt like in having to play the action he did . . . I mean, how deep into filth is our culture going to nosedive?

Now that I think of it, aren’t most comedies these days incredibly raunchy? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy humor as much as anyone. But, honestly, what comic entertainment, if any, these days could be enjoyed by Jesus, who has a tremendous sense of humor?

Our culture is degrading itself more and more. It is shameful not just stupid.

What does it mean to “shine as lights in the world” anyway? I like to laugh at TV shows as much as anyone, and I truly get caught up in love stories I watch; I’m an average American human being living in the 21st century. At the same time, I am a person of the Word of Life. I intimately know the Maker of heaven and earth. I have a love relationship with a Person who is called “The Light of the World” because He is the glory of heaven itself. He lived among us once and has given us who believe His very own Spirit, to carry inside of us. We are meant to be the Light of the world like He is.

I have to ask myself, Am I shining?

Ok, so I have written books that I hope shine the light of Jesus. But are words enough? Jesus left many of His creative, powerful words to shine in the world. I don’t think even His words are enough. No, I believe what we need is His presence. We need Him. And that is precisely why He went to Heaven and sent His Spirit to live in us.

The people who beheld Jesus saw the shining face of God. Can it be true, when people see one of His true followers, they see the Light of heaven in us?

Once when Jesus healed a man, blind from birth, He said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

While I am in the world, am I the light of the world because Jesus lives in me? I can’t shine at all if I stay hidden, of if I take part in a blinded society that has lost its way in the dark.

I know that Jesus isn’t legalistic; He sets captives free to live His life. He is all about the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. I get that. I am turned off by “religiosity” in many respects. So, how do we shine? How do we live in the world but not become part of it?

Maybe it is a matter of which way we face. Are we moving towards the light? In every moment?

What if we turn our faces towards Heaven, and live 100% true to Jesus? What if, all day long, every single day, we cared most about our relationship with Him than anything else?

Lord of heaven and earth, am I turned towards the pure Light of your presence? Am I reflecting Your brilliance? Jesus, shine me as much as You’d like. Amen.




I asked the Lord if He’d speak to me right now, since this devotional is about “hearing God”–I would love to share a word with you that is not from me, but from the Lord.

I’ve quieted myself and this is what I just heard:

“Voices are speaking to you most of your waking time. You’ll hear your own voice, people around you, media, evil influences, so many voices. Do you know how to distinguish them? Do you know how important it is to discern my voice in the mix of them? If you would quiet yourselves at the end of your day before sleeping, just to listen for any thoughts I have for you, you’d find treasure worth keeping.”