Be Guided by the Right Light

A small seacoast village in England frequently became covered by dense fog. There was a harbor on the north end of the town which was navigable and free from the huge rocks that dotted the rest of the coast. A lighthouse located at the edge of the harbor guided ships safely to shore.

One foggy night, however, the villagers gathered on the south end of town to celebrate a local holiday. As part of their celebration they built a large bonfire on the beach. That same night, a ship in the vicinity developed engine trouble. The boat’s captain, after checking his maps and charts, decided to locate on the beam from that village lighthouse and put in at that harbor for repairs. As he scanned the horizon through the fog, he caught sight of a faint glimmer of light. Thinking it was the beam from the lighthouse, he set his course on it to go ashore. As he came closer to land, he began to see the light more clearly and realized it was not the lighthouse but the bonfire. Quickly he changed course, and was able to find the lighthouse beam that guided his ship safely into the harbor. There he learned that his ship had probably come within fifty yards of rugged boulders that would have almost certainly destroyed the vessel.

Friends, the Bible (John 1:9) describes Jesus Christ as “the true light, which enlightens everyone.” He alone is able to cut through the darkness that surrounds our souls. He enables us to see the hard reality of our sin and the magnificent salvation that God provides through Jesus’ death and resurrection. There is great danger, however, in mistaking some “other light” for “the true light.”

In our pluralistic culture, a common belief is that “it doesn’t matter which religion someone chooses, because they all lead to God.” Yet, just as the lighthouse and bonfire were steering the ship to very different destinations, “other lights” don’t guide us to where the “true light” does. Jesus makes this very clear when He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) One may find some help from the light which shines from Moses, Muhammad, Buddha, or other religious leaders and philosophers, but none of them is able to say, as Jesus did, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12) To follow any light other than Jesus Christ, leads ultimately not to life, but to death. That is why it so important that each of us make sure we are being guided by the right light. If we are not trusting in Jesus Christ, if we have not found the salvation that He has accomplished through His death and resurrection, it is time to change course before it is too late. He alone can bring us safely to the harbor of heaven.

Dan Erickson

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