September 28, 2017
Volume 21, Number 33
L.L. Bean is a brand that has become associated with outdoor clothing and gear. They’ve worked hard to build this identity. Last week they took their advertising of this theme to a whole new level.
An insert was prepared for the New York Times. At first glance it appeared to be a sheet of paper with almost nothing printed on it. “L.L. Bean” was written on the top, “Be An Outsider” was in even larger letters on the bottom, and scattered along the nearly-blank sheet were letters that spelled out “Just bring this outside.”
Those who followed the instructions – who took the sheet outside into the sunlight – saw a “manifesto” urging them to get outside more. The implicit idea, of course, was that L.L. Bean would be happy to serve as their outfitters. But only in the sunlight of the outdoors would this message appear. The advertising world is raving at the idea.
You could easily sum up one of the main themes of the Bible as “step outside into the light”. At the beginning of his gospel John wrote this: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4,5). In verse 14 it is made clear that “Him” refers to Jesus.
Note the message: Light shines in the darkness, but those who choose to remain in that darkness will not “comprehend it”. They won’t understand the message.
Those who wish to follow Jesus are called to stay “outside” where the light can be found: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6,7). To walk in darkness is to choose to remain in a sinful lifestyle.
It is only when we are walking in heaven’s light that we’ll be able to “get it”, to understand the fullness of joy and peace that comes from discipleship. Here is how Paul described that idea: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). When we live it, we’ll understand it better.
Memorizing the Bible and being able to parse every Hebrew or Greek word will not bring the same insights as actually living God’s will. Only as we walk in the light will His purpose begin to appear before our eyes.
By the way, the word “church” in the Greek means “those who are called out”. Let’s step out of this world in order to live in God’s light. What wonders will be revealed to us!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.