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Only Jesus

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It is that time of year again, when the whole world sings songs about the birth of our Savior. Although it has been commercialized and the focus has drifted from Jesus, this is still a great time for celebration for Christians. It is also a great time to remember why He left heaven and became human to live and to die in our broken world.

In the first chapter of his gospel, John describes the entrance of the Creator—the very source of life—into His creation, and compares it to light illuminating darkness. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:3–5). Later he tells us the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation is to give “light to every man” (v. 9).

When I read these words, I reflect with gratitude on the day my Savior entered my own darkness and brought His light and life to me. I learned and experienced that only Jesus can push back the darkness in my life.

As a young father and engineer, I had settled with my family in the small community of Newton, Iowa. My professional career began at Maytag, producing laundry equipment and dishwashers. I was content, becoming involved in my community and in my role as husband and father. I didn’t realize I was walking in the darkness described by the apostle John. But God was about to pierce my darkness and change my life.

Being a responsible young family man, I understood the importance of providing financial security by buying life insurance. After I purchased a policy from an agent, he began to question me about spiritual matters. I had been living selfishly for the present, giving little thought to the future and no thought to eternity. But his questions found fertile ground in my heart. The Holy Spirit was illuminating my dark soul with the light of the gospel.

We were invited to have a home Bible study with a faithful lay couple who were friends of the salesman. They were persistent in praying and caring for us and sharing the Bible and their faith story. After many weeks in the study, Betty and I were convicted of our sin and separation from God and were reconciled to Him within four days of each other. With our transformation from darkness to light, we began our new life in Christ.

That was in 1966—and He is still pushing back darkness in us as we live and grow in Him. I learned that Jesus would illuminate areas of my life that were not given to Him and ask me to surrender them. Time, activities,
money, family and career were yielded to His direction and control. I learned the precious truth from Colossians 1:13–14: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

For nearly 45 years I have walked with the Lord. He still uncovers areas of my life shrouded in darkness,
exposing them to His light. The Spirit of God convicts and empowers me to surrender those areas and reminds me of my new life in Christ: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).

Now when I hear the familiar words from seasonal carols, I am reminded of our dark world, a baby in a
manger and the precious promise from my Savior: “‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12). I have learned that only Jesus can push back the darkness in my life.

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