“But the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12)
“Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘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)
It’s our choice.
At work, we can guess at the current status of a business and make decisions based on such estimations. We can also check the numbers, look at reports and decide based on facts.
The same is true of our lives, personally and professionally. We can walk in the darkness of guessing that we’re on the correct path in life, rationalizing that a good life in and of itself should be sufficient. We may also choose to shine the light on our lives, checking the facts as presented in God’s Word, to determine how well we’re doing compared to what our Creator is asking of us.
Here are a few questions to help determine whether you’re groping in darkness or walking confidently in the light:
1. Do you have an active, rich relationship with God that includes regular quiet time alone with Him?
2. Do you get to know God better by reading His Word daily or most days of the week?
3. Does your example, the way you live your life, attract others to want to know more about God and His plans for them?
4. Do you worship God in community as an active member of a faith community?
5. Do you regularly seek God’s guidance in your personal and business decisions?
6. Do you study God’s Word with others and the writings of the saints and fathers of the Church, allowing the rich discussion to give God another communications channel directly to your heart?
7. Do you meet regularly with others who keep you accountable to living out your faith?
8. Do you wait on the Lord to show you where He’s working and invite you to join Him?
9. Do you engage in spiritual disciplines, such as fasting, acts of kindness and giving of time, talent and treasure, on a regular basis?
10. Do you turn to God first when you face troubled times?
If you answered yes to all ten questions, you are indeed walking in God’s shining light and by the gift of faith in Him. Keep doing what you’re doing and share God’s love and your vibrant faith with others.
If you answered yes to seven, eight or nine of the questions, you are also in the light and on the right path, and you’re making progress toward a truly exemplary life of faith. Stay on track and continue to give God a greater level of priority and authority in your life.
If you answered yes to four, five or six of the questions, the lights are on but may appear a bit distant at times. It may be time to slow down and consider God’s many blessings to this point in your life. There are more blessings available to you, both here and in the life to come. All you need to do is claim them by trusting in God’s loving care.
If you responded yes to three of the questions, there’s a light out there that may appear a bit dim and difficult to find at times. So many more tools are available to you to help you draw closer to your one and only Almighty God of the universe. Pick one and give it time to become part of your daily life. Then go and pick up another.
If you answered yes to two or fewer of the questions, the world may be looking mighty dark to you at the moment. A great relationship with God goes hand in hand with regular study of His Word. Conversely, if you read the Bible regularly without spending time alone with God, it’s as if you were enjoying a movie featuring your favorite star while ignoring him or her sitting right next to you. Spiritual disciplines without the relationship may seem a bit empty. If your only positive response is that you turn to God in troubled times, consider it a start and get to work on changing your answers to the other questions.
God provides us with great tools of faith along the path of this life. To the degree that we take advantage of God’s loving grace and mercy through the regular use of the gifts He has given us, we have the opportunity to lay up treasures in eternity and make a difference here and now for ourselves and those whose lives we touch.
John Earl Carroll is an award-winning columnist, executive coach and consultant and president of Unlimited Performance, Inc. in Mount Pleasant. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com
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