Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 2 Thessalonians 2.15
For most of us, our world revolves around relatively small stuff – going to work and church, taking care of the family, watching some TV, staying up on the news, enjoying some time with friends, pursuing leisure activities, doing the shopping, taking care of the home, going to a movie.
It’s small stuff, OK; but it matters. It really does. It matters to us, at least. And it has the potential to shine the light of Christ and His love on the people to whom God sends us each day. Even the small stuff of our lives can shine with eternal brilliance, but we’ll have to work at letting our light shine by growing in the knowledge of Christ and His Word.
When the lights in our home go out, we replace them; and this is pretty much what the world has been doing for two-and-a-half centuries. As the light of truth, knowledge, and grace has dimmed from within the Church – or retreated underneath the basket of our local basilica – light-starved people are seeking illumination and warmth from a wide variety of sources, none of them more than part of the truth, all of them fleeting, and many of them patently false.
As followers of the Light of the world, and those He has designated as His light to the world, we need to devote ourselves more earnestly to making our light shine, even though our light may seem the smallest flicker in the cosmic candelabra of Christian truth.
Our worlds may be small and our projects important mainly to us. But we are involved with people all the time. None of us is a hermit. We touch the lives of others, and when we touch them, we must make our best effort to enlighten, enliven, stimulate, or provoke them to think of things higher than everyday existence. We must bring light to their lives, for only in the light of true knowledge will the Spirit of God work for salvation.
But for this to happen, for the light of true knowledge to shine from within us once again, we’re going to have to become more serious about our calling as learners.
Christians are called to be learners. “Learner” is the basic meaning of “disciple.” One is a disciple of Jesus Christ who learns Him, and learning Him, is obedient to His call (Eph. 4.17-24; Jn. 20.21). We need to learn what such discipleship requires. The Lord speaks to us, revealing Himself and His will, through two “books” – divine Scripture and the world of creation and culture (Pss. 19, 145; Rom. 1.18ff; Acts 14.17; etc..). He calls us to press on in knowing and obeying Him, explaining that this is the essence of the new covenant and the substance of eternal life (Hos. 6.3; Jer. 31.31-34; Jn. 17.3). And He has provided us centuries of faithful teachers to teach and show us what such discipleship entails.
We cannot fulfill our calling to know the Lord apart from a dedication to learning and obedience. If we are averse to learning, to increasing in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, then it is questionable indeed whether we are disciples of Jesus at all.
It is incumbent on all who believe to get on the path of learning and true knowledge, so that we may walk in obedience to our King, fulfill our discipleship, carry out our calling, enjoy and serve our God, and bring the light of true knowledge into our world.
Where shall we begin?
The anonymous author of the Liber de Ordine Creaturarum (Irish, 7th century), who was about to compose a far-ranging summary of everything that exists, insisted that the path of knowledge is not one we invent or discover on our own: “In this we are not following an invention of our own purpose which is nothing of itself…” Rather, he went on to explain, the Scriptures and our forebears in the faith have shown us the way of true knowing. We must hold fast to the traditions revealed in Scripture as our forefathers have followed and lived them over the years.
But this means taking up the call to learn and know many things which today are of perhaps little or no interest to us. We need to learn more about Jesus, the Kingdom of God, and the faith that makes all things new. We need to learn about how our Christian forebears have applied the Gospel to such areas as art and literature, music, science, business, law, politics, government, care for the environment, and much, much more. We should learn as much as we can by as many means as we can. J. I. Packer wrote that, no matter how young or old we are as believers, we can always learn something new and useful for serving the Lord (Finishing Our Course with Joy). We would expect nothing less of those who are true disciples of the Lord of all knowledge.
We are the light of the world, and we are called to shine our light, be it ever so small, in such a way that people will glorify God. As we learn what this involves, we can expect our love for the Lord to grow, and our witness to His Light become increasingly more consistent and effective.
Get on the path of true knowledge. Let the Scriptures and our forebears lead you. Let your light shine! Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10.3-5). See the world with the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16). “Take My Yoke upon you and learn of Me” (Matt. 11.29).
It’s time to get knowing. It’s time to let our lights shine with the eternal brilliance of our risen Savior and King.
1. Why do you suppose Jesus chose to call His followers “learners”? What did He expect us to learn?
2. Why do people find learning so difficult? Should the fact that learning is difficult keep us from pursuing it? Explain.
3. Why must we have Scripture as our foundation for all true knowledge? How can we look to our Christian forebears to guide us in making our light shine more brightly?
Next Steps: Make a list of subjects you’d like to learn more about. How would learning about these help to make you a brighter light? Share your list and your thoughts with a Christian friend. Invite your friend to join you in this study.
T. M. Moore
One place to begin learning is in understanding the times and the world around us. Our book, Understanding the Times, outlines the broad scope of what we need to understand to live as witnesses in this secular world. Order your copy by clicking here. To see how and why the small stuff of your life matters, order a copy of our book Small Stuff (click here).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.