Philippians 2:15 NKJV “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”
One of my favorite vacation spots is on the East Coast in North Carolina known affectionately as the Outer Banks. It’s an old fishing destination because of its unique position as a series of islands off the coast that affords it access into the fringes of the Gulf Stream bringing in a wide variety of fish. There is a natural beauty there and also some man-made wonders such as the lighthouses that stretch along the islands from the south at Cape Lookout to the north at Currituck, including the infamous Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island, and Ocracoke. I’m sure most of you know the purpose for the lighthouses. Years ago, mostly in the late 1800’s to early 20th century, the lighthouses served as a warning to incoming ships that they were getting to close to the shore. The lights guided ships, the crew and cargo along the coast until they reached safety.
Our lead verse from the Apostle Paul’s epistle points toward exactly this same concept. As Christians we are to be “lights in the world.” Our light should shine forth so bright that all those around us can see God working in our lives. As Charles H. Spurgeon points out, “His [Christian’s] conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and who he serves, and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions.” Christians this is one of our roles in life. To serve as not only an example to each other, but to non-believers alike, we must act as the lighthouses and protect others from the dangerous shores as well as point others towards the shores of Salvation. Jesus emphasizes these very points in His Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
But there’s more to the verse from Philippians, “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” and there’s more to the history from the Outer Banks. My vacation destination that I described earlier is usually in the Nags Head area of the islands and this town has a history all to her own. You see Nags Head gets her name from the pirates that would troll her shores looking for those ships I alluded to earlier. Those pirates would walk the shores with a “nag”, horse, mule or otherwise, that would have a lantern around her neck or head. The purpose of this would be to provide a false light and deceive the ship captains into thinking they were following a lighthouse and were safe, but in fact they were falling into a trap leading to their destruction. Just like the lighthouses pointed toward our role as Christians, the pirates’ deception alludes to the false leaders of the church today. From a distance, they too look safe and look like their light is shining just like those true followers of Christ. But just like the ships of old that followed the false light of the “nags head”, without proper discernment and guidance, once you get too close it’s too late to turn back and a shipwreck is imminent.
Brethern throughout the history of the church there has been deception of great magnitude. The best deceivers always manifest themselves as purveyors of truth and light, but in fact their deception is more dangerous than the shallow shores of the coast, because their path leads to eternal destruction. Today is no different, in fact Scripture tells us in the last days these deceptions and deceivers will increase in number. (Matthew 24:11) This has never been more evident than now and it’s so critical to test everything (I Thessalonians 5:21) and pray for the discernment of the Holy Spirit that we might be able to follow the true lighthouses of the world and not the deceivers of light.
“The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world.” Charles H. Spurgeon
Additional Study: Proverbs 2:1-22 Proverbs 15:21 Philippians 1:9