This year, Alex and I have been incredibly humbled and blessed to serve as your TeenPact President and Vice President. As your elected officials, we have sought to take full advantage of the incredible platform that has been entrusted to us. Over the past semester, we have been blown away by that each elected official has stepped up to continue sharing the messages that God laid on their hearts. At the beginning of this last semester, Alex wrote about a brilliant room, filled with flaming candles. He shared how being a Child Of The Light necessitates taking on the flame of Christ and submitting to Him. Being around the flame is simply not enough-we must embrace the flame.
Well, flames burn. Things in their path are consumed. As Christ followers, we have been placed in the heat of THE flame. This is a flame that consumes us. Yet, this consumption is not without purpose. Like candles, we have found purpose in shining a light which we did not produce.
In nature, the direction of fire is to spread and make old things new. In the flame that is Christ, this purpose is extended to the church. Candles channel the purpose of a grand fire on a personal level. The aroma of a candle renews the air, while the flame spreads heat. In a similar way, we are the personal bearers of his glory. The gifts which God has given us as believers are intended to renew each other and work with the flame to grow and spread the body.
In order to grow, flames produce sparks. By spreading these sparks, even the smallest flame can grow into a raging inferno. As the carriers of his light, hints of his glory are left wherever we go. Simply by carrying his flame, God’s fire, and the fruits of His spirit, are spread through us.
By no stretch of the imagination does this mean that God relies on us for growth of the body. On the contrary, the fact that Christ chooses us as a mode of spreading His light is a reminder of how much we rely on Him. Notice how, aside from the flame, the advancement of the fire is impossible. Likewise, aside from Christ we live without any light to spread. Without fire, candles would be meaningless. So also is the reality for those apart from the body of Christ.
This is a debilitating realization for those still in search of the flame, and we are called to share Christ’s light throughout the world. However, the more candles that are in one room, the more visible the light is to those outside the room. As believers, we aren’t meant to accomplish this great commission alone. We are called to prepare one another to carry this out in unity as the church. This happens through intentional and determined discipleship.
This year, while exploring what it means to be Children of the light, President Hale and I realized that all too often as believers, we focus solely on shining into the darkness, and neglect the flames that may be sputtering and struggling. Outreach programs and mission trips are phenomenal means to bring the light to those who need it so desperately, but the Church cannot forget that there are so many people within the body that are still hurting, and still desiring to know the source of light more intimately.
We have begun to call out the sawdust in the eyes of unbelievers before clearing the dust out of our own eyes. Leaving a flame without fuel will ruin any chance the flame has to grow. As the body of Christ-The Church-we are charged to build one another up in Christ to shine brightly. We are not called to simply make converts, we are called to make disciples.
The process of being discipled is a humbling one. When a candle is burning, its wax is being melted and reshaped. It is not comfortable to grow, even spiritually, there are growing pains, but this discomfort is a reminder that we do not belong to this world. As fallen beings, we find a false comfort in the things of this world, but when we choose to grow in the light, we discover what true comfort is. When we go through discipleship, we’ll be remade to see that Christ is the comfort which we have needed all along.
As we are discipled, and continue to grow in our intimate relationship with Christ, we are called to go and share this comfort with our fellow believers. One of the greatest tragedies in this life is when a potential flame is never ignited or fanned-it’s neglect on the part of fellow believers. Do not be afraid of failure, or rejection. Go and seek meaningful relationships. Be discipled, and go disciple.
Now, please hear me when I say, I am by NO MEANS saying to not go and share the gospel to the ends of the earth. On the contrary, I am saying go share, and share, and don’t stop. Share the the good news, and then build up those who are receptive. Trust Christ to work through you, regardless of age, occupation, or any other excuse. YOU can and must seek discipleship, and then go and make disciples.
On behalf of your 2017-2018 TeenPact Elected Officials, thank you for providing this platform to us, and giving us the opportunity to share and expand upon these messages. We hope to see you throughout this season, and at National Convention 2018. Until next time, keep seeking, and living as Children Of The Light.