“This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine!” Paul could easily sing that song in our reading today. “No matter where I go or who I meet, it’s going to shine!”
Paul has been shining the light of Jesus everywhere he goes. No matter what the circumstances, he doesn’t hide the light. He molds his life to magnify the light though. Paul is not the light but he allows himself to be a vessel the light can shine through.
I was just thinking about a light house. It has a single light that is lit within it. That light is limited in how far it can reach. It illuminates what is in the immediate vicinity only until the reflector and lens are applied. Then the light can reach miles out into the ocean and warn those far away of the dangers ahead.
The lighthouse keeper has some very critical tasks. The first is to make sure the light never goes out. The second is to ensure that the lenses are clean. A dirty lens distorts and diminishes the light. The quality of the light itself doesn’t change but what it is reflected through changes its ability to reach those in need.
We are the lighthouse and Jesus is the light shining within. Our lives can either reflect His pure light or distort it to where it is ineffective or even unrecognizable. That is why Paul says he has “renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways” (verse 2). His conduct affects the message.
Our conduct doesn’t change the character of Jesus or His ability to work in this world. What it does do is change how others perceive Him. If someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus is full of hate while preaching that Jesus is love what is the one who is lost to believe?
Satan also likes to try and mess with the receiver of the light. We help him out when our walk doesn’t match His talk. Another trick Satan likes to use is fear. He makes those who are under his persuasion afraid of the light in a several ways. The first is fear of getting lost in it. The light is all consuming and there won’t be anything left of themselves if they surrender to it. If they only realized that the “new” self that results from being in contact with the light is SO much better and truer than the false self they have been living with.
The second way is to convince the lost that the light is too good to be true. He convinces them that it is a false light and following won’t give them the freedom they are seeking but will bring disappointment instead. He does this a lot easier with false Christians around.
A third lie he uses is that the light will actually bring disaster. He convinces them that they can’t trust the light and that there is a big “bait and switch” waiting for them. Reminds me of Lucy and Charlie Brown with the football. God DOESN’T snatch His gifts away right before we receive them, but Satan would like everyone to believe that.
The truth is: The new you is beyond comprehension; the light is EVERYTHING HE said it would be; and He is a rewarder for those who diligently seek Him. You CAN trust Him. He is the Light of the world and He wants to shine through your lens.
Father God, forgive me for every time I dirty my lens and distort Your light. I’m so grateful that Your light is not wholly dependent on my reflective prowess. Yes, my reflection of You has an impact on those I come into contact with but You are also able to overcome my faults and reach the heart of someone who is truly seeking. Please help me remember to keep my lens polished. I trust You to take care of the flame in my heart too. Help me remember to feed it daily to keep it strong in me. Not only so I can shine for others but so I can feel Your warmth inside me too. I’m glad I’m not the source, merely the reflection.
Thank You for allowing me to be Your lens. Thank You for sharing this word picture with me.