Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.” – John 8:12
The first time I walked into a building that was on fire, I quite literally had no idea what I was doing. Having just joined the department as a volunteer firefighter less than a week earlier, I had completed a brief orientation into how the department worked, was given a handbook of what to learn, and issued my gear. But, formal training to fight fires? Not so much.
The sporting goods store that was located on one side of the old town square in my small hometown was on fire. Thick black smoke was pouring out the front doors. The business to the left was a furniture store. When I arrived, I found the officer in charge and asked him what to do. He put an air pack on my back, hung a mask around my neck and said, "Go into the furniture store and look for
Adrenaline pumping like I've never before experienced, I fumbled with my mask and mumbled what must have sounded like a "yeah," because when I looked up to ask him what "extension" is, he was nowhere in sight.
On my own and tasked with a job, I walked through the darkness of that furniture store. Alone and afraid, and not knowing where I was going, I had one thing on my mind—survival!
I was determined to not lose sight of the flashing lights of the fire truck. The further back I went, the further from the light I got...the harder it became to navigate.
Somewhere near the back, I got disoriented and realized there were mirrors all over the place. Now, I could see the lights while looking in several directions. Aargh!! After a brief panic, I regained my composure and worked my way back toward the front of the store, following the source of the lights back to the safety I knew was waiting for me.
Too often, I believe our introduction into the family of Christ is much the same. We get an "orientation" of sorts...a brief introduction to the Gospel and salvation. We're tossed the Handbook and told to study it and follow the rules. Then without formal "training," we're thrown into the fire—expected to figure it out and to live a life worthy of being called a Christian. "Go and sin no more."
If only it were that easy.
I've been a Christian for thirty years. I've been a Christ follower for about ten. For the first twenty years, I wandered the wilderness, not quite sure what I was doing. I had the Handbook, but I never really read it. I fumbled my way through the darkness, mostly disoriented and confused.
Over the years, I've walked away from the Light more times than I care to admit…becoming disoriented and confused each time. But, every time I've found myself in the dark, the Light has been there to lead me out…back to the safety of the One who saved me.
Men, last month I challenged you to lead from the front, to never stop improving, and to step up to the plate. My question for you now is, “How's that going?” Are you stepping up to the plate? Are you deepening your relationship with Christ? Are you leading your families in the Light?
What I needed with me on that first fire was a leader...someone to show me the way. I was a member of the “family,” but lacked a mentor that first time out. We can explore a path for the first time (either alone or together with other believers), but God isn't calling us to just walk the path. He's calling us to LEAD others toward Him. Brothers, we cannot lead someone down a path we haven't first walked ourselves!
If you're walking a path toward a closer relationship with God for the first time, you don't have to walk it alone. Find a Sunday school class or
If you're ready to lead others down the path or are already leading from the front, kudos to you! Make sure you stay connected to the Vine (John 15:5) by spending time with the Master daily. If you're not already serving Him through a ministry, join a ministry team…or start the one He’s placed on your heart. Consider teaching a Sunday school class. Maybe seek out a MasterLife group this fall where we’ll encourage each other in mastering life and bearing the fruit He has called us to bear.
Whatever it is you've been called to do, the “Officer in Charge” (that'd be God) won't just give you a task without providing the training. He doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called. Let's seek out the Light together and lead others to it.