I came to Christ in my early twenties, lived in a small one bedroom home, and rarely frequented the kitchen. Meals were prepared by Wendy, Jack, and Mickey D’s. I was also known to leave wrappers from these fine dining establishments lying around.
One night, as I flipped on the kitchen light, a contingent of cockroaches scampered across the counter. Half ran to the cabinets, the other half to the drawers. Though fleeing in different directions, their destination was the same.
John 3:19 says, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
It didn’t take long to discover the Church had its share of cockroaches too. People who, when the “light” of truth came on, scurried away. Some to a cabinet, others to a drawer.
Cockroaches run to darkness by nature. Christians by choice.
THE LIGHT OF JESUS
Jesus is the “light of the world”, and promised that if we walk in the light as He is in the light, His blood will cleanse us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) It’s the same light mentioned in John 3:19 that reveals the hidden things of darkness, exposing the thoughts and intent of the heart.
A direct correlation exists between the amount of light in which we walk, and the priority we give Jesus in our lives. If we hold onto things we don’t want to surrender, things we know are displeasing in His sight, we keep our distance. Like Adam and Eve after the fall, we hide from God knowing that in His presence our deeds are exposed. If your heart is to know Jesus, you will be drawn to, and walk in the light. But if you choose conformity, comfort, or complacency, you will keep your distance and live in the shadows.
HOW LIGHT WORKS
You wouldn’t call my first apartment “fully furnished”. There was a kitchen table with a few chairs, none of which matched the table. (or the other chairs for that matter) A couch so worn when you sat down you’d swear you were in the apartment below. A cable spool served nicely as the coffee table, matching orange crates for end tables, and a television that was lucky to bring in two channels. My bedroom had a mattress, and, well… that was pretty much it. No bed frame, no box spring, no dresser.
And no overhead light.
I purchased a small lamp and realized I had nothing to set it on. (further proof I’m male of the species) I could have used an orange crate, but who’d want to break up that dynamic set? With the location of the outlet and cord limitations, I chose to place it on the carpet in the corner. My mattress was only 5 inches off the floor, so height was relative.
It did a great job…
Of lighting the corner.
The rest of the room was pretty dim.
That experience was a good metaphor for the Christian life. How we can limit the amount of light, and strategically place it only in areas we want other to see? My bedroom could be a mess, but as long as that corner was clean…
Where we place the light determines its effectiveness in our lives. Jesus said, “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lamp stand, that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16) Many of us would say we’ve placed Jesus in His rightful place. He isn’t covered. We haven’t put Him under the bed. He’s on the lamp stand where all can see.
In fact, I’ve seen homes with more crosses on the wall than a Bible Bookstore. Refrigerator magnets and wall decor make the declaration that “Jesus Lives Here!” Although the welcome mat already made that proclamation. Before I go too far with this description (too late), let me say I don’t have an issue with any of these things. (except the excessive number of crosses…that freaks me out a little…apologies to my Catholic friends) But part of my journey to salvation included Romans 10:9-10 hand written on an index card and thumb tacked over a toilet, so who am I to judge?
But even if Jesus has a place of prominence in our lives, we all come equipped with “dimmer switches”, allowing us to regulate that light. Our actions, or inactions, determine not only how bright the light will be, but how much of our lives will be illuminated. The Apostle Paul said, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) Conform, and the light will grow dim. Conform long enough, and you will stumble in darkness. But if you renew your mind with the light of God’s Word, you’ll walk in the light and be transformed. Changed into the image of Christ.
For some, the Word of God is like a flashlight placed in a drawer, used only in the event of an emergency. Or as “accent lighting”, highlighting only what we want others to see. We’re very creative when it comes to “light management”.
CALLED TO WALK IN THE LIGHT
If you are a follower of Christ, you have been “translated” from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of God. (Col 1:13) “Translated” means to transfer, or move from one place to another.” You were transferred from spiritual darkness to spiritual light. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;“ (1 Pet 2:9)
Jesus promised if we followed Him, He would give us the “light of life”. A light that provides direction, leading us into the fulness of what He has prepared for us. It also provides clarity, helping us to understand the mysteries of His word. It will also expose the hidden things of darkness; the sin in our hearts. And for that reason, not all will follow.
Seeing your heart in the light of God’s truth isn’t easy. It exposes things you’d rather not see, and most likely require you to deal with things you may find difficult to process. But if you have the courage, and trust God to reveal the things He wants you to see, you will find you are not alone. He promised the Holy Spirit (The Helper) would be with you always.
And He is.
How often have you heard Jesus quoted when he said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” ? (John 8:32) But as is the case with so many of God’s promises, there is a condition. To read the promise in its entirety, you have to include verse 31. “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;” 32 -and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Being a disciple is more than a profession of faith. All disciples are Christians, but not all Christians are disciples. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”
When looking for a church, some consider proximity to their home. Some style of worship. Some style of preaching. Some style of dress. And some, “the lighting”? How bright is it? Is it overhead, or just a lamp in the corner? Will it keep hidden the things I’ve tucked away in darkness, or expose them? Will it bring to light things about myself I’d rather not see?
I hope so.
Whether it’s your life, your home, or your home church, let me encourage you.
Be in a place where the Light of the World is exalted. Where it’s predominant, without compromise or conformity. Where hearts joyfully, or even painfully receive it. It is there you will find love, joy, and peace. You will find mercy, grace, and forgiveness. You will find deliverance, healing and wholeness. But there’s one thing you will not find.