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In the World, Not of It

Learning to Live in the Light

Sunshine meadow

In the World, Not of It

Learning to Live in the Light

There is a scene in the movie The Matrix when the character Morphius asks Neo a question, red pill or blue pill?  Neo chooses to experience reality, and he reaches for the red pill. The next thing Neo knows his life is turned up down, and he wakes up on an operating table. As he opens his eyes Neo asks, why do my eyes hurt? Morphius replies, because you have never used them before. This scene helps illustrate what coming to Christ felt like for me. The Bible says in Ephesians chapter 2 says, “you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” I was dead, and then suddenly I was alive. It was radical, and even somewhat violent in it’s suddenness. 

Yet, my coming alive was far more pleasant than Neo’s. I didn’t find a giant plug in the back of my neck and I wasn’t forced to eat slimy oatmeal everyday. No, my experience was more like I was living in a dark prison cell and I didn’t even realize it. Then one day someone opened the door and I was let out into sunshiny meadow. I don’t know about everyone else, but I love the sunshine. Dark places depress me. In fact, my wife says I am like a cat because I’ll find the sunniest place in the house and hang out right there. So, when I ran out into the meadow I never wanted to go back to that dark, drab cell. I was free. I ran from anything and everything that represented the darkness, anything that reminded me of the darkness, anything that had a connection to the darkness. I had found the light, and I wanted as much as possible. I still do.

Today, I am still walking in that light, and lately I have been listening to Dominic Balli. Dominic Balli is a Christian Reggae Artist. Why do I bring this up? When I lived in the prison cell I listened to reggae music often, so when I came into the light reggae music was left behind in the cell. I associated reggae music with the darkness. I had practiced many things I am now ashamed while listening to reggae music. Yet, Dominic Balli has been a revelation for me. Reggae music was not the problem, my sin was the problem. All reggae music did not have to go, just the music that promotes darkness and the activities that accompanied my reggae music. Today, Jesus has redeemed reggae music in my life, and I am experiencing more of the glorious freedom found in life in the light.

Once I heard a pastor say that some people get so radically saved that they forget how to relate and communicate to the world. In many ways that was me. I was so radically changed and so loved the life of the light, that I completely dropped everything that had anything to do with the darkness. The vast majority was exactly the correct choice, but I forgot one thing. There are people I love back in those cells. I have friends and family that live in the darkness, and they need the cell door opened as much as I did. And, whether they ever decide to step out of the cell, open their eyes for the first time, and experience the light; I still love them. They are still my friends and family, and while I will never walk in the dark again, I also do not want to cut the cord of our friendship and love. This is what I am learning at this point of my walk with Christ in the light.

I am reminded how Jesus astonished his followers when they saw sitting by a well in enemy territory, Samaria. Normally, Jews would make a 1-day journey into 3 just to avoid setting foot in Samaria, but Jesus told his close-minded disciples, I need to go through Samaria. When he did, he found the village floozy drawing water from the village well. Jews, and especially teachers as Jesus was considered, never spoke with women in public. Jesus asked this Samaritan women for a drink, and threw a bridge over what had previously been an uncrossable chasm. He begged from her, and put Himself below her. When his disciples saw him doing this, they were speechless. Yet, while Jesus is the light of the world, he had no problem befriending and relating to even the most colorful people. He demonstrated this again when he called Matthew, the cheating tax-collector; and when he set free the women caught in adultery. Now, I am not saying my friends family are the lowest class of society, in fact they are regular (mostly) people. The point is Jesus had the perfect balance in his life: Living completely in the life while reaching into the darkness; He was in the world, but not of it.

So, I have been exploring this beautiful, sunshiny meadow for over 5 years now, and I have no desire to go back to the old prison cell. But, I also am learning what is truly darkness, and what can be redeemed. Today, I love my old friends and family and am hopeful that I can be a better friend in the future, a friend like Jesus. I am also enjoying my reggae music as I stroll through this sunshiny meadow, and I think that is how God intended it to be.