We need light to see life clearly.
Considering my limited eyesight, what helps me see the best? People often ask what I consider the most helpful accessibility tool for a visually impaired person. I think my answer surprises them with its simplicity: light.
Okay, it’s a tad more complicated than that.
- The quality of light: Incandescent, natural, fluorescent, or LED. The amount of flicker impacts me as well.
- The amount of light: Too little or too much limit visual clarity. Besides, for me, glare hurts.
- The direction of light. We’ve all experienced that with our computers. Light should come from the side so you can read documents and the light source doesn’t wash out the screen. (Check out this article on lighting ergonomics.)
Light is so crucial to my ability to function as a visually impaired person, it’s often a topic of sometimes intense discussion in my marriage. And, with several family members who have the same eye disorder, the rest of the family knows that we get first dibs of where to sit in a room or restaurant. We’ll give up the comfy chairs if we can just have our backs to the window.
God thought light was important too.
Light is so important, he created it first. In His wisdom, He knew that it was the mainstream of life; that nothing can exist without light.
- Light gives warmth that helps all of life grow.
- It helps us see where we are going and what we are doing. We could function without light, as totally blind people have taught us, but light makes life so much easier.
- It is the essence of color that further defines our world and gives us pleasure.
The word “essential” isn’t strong enough of a word. We need light.
Is it any wonder then how often God used the imagery of light to describe Himself and His relationship with people? Think about these Bible references to light:
- God lives in unapproachable light (I Timothy 6:16). He is so holy, powerful, majestic, so GOD, no one can simply waltz up to His throne. Approaching God would be like looking into a high-powered beam of sparkling light. We couldn’t do it.
- Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). Like light, the ways of God gives definition and meaning to life. Like the first rays of dawn, God’s plans for us give us hope.
- As light is necessary for life, God and His way of doing things are necessary for our existence (John 1:4). The earthly life of Jesus coming into the world truly acted as a light to mankind.
- As light helps us see where we’re going and makes it far easier to accomplish daily tasks, so God’s Word shows us how to live and how to set the course of our lives (Psalm 119:105).
Too much of a good thing.
Just as too much light can be painful, uncomfortable, and even harmful, any of us would have trouble standing in the physical presence of God Almighty. Just living daily with a very righteous person would make many of us squirm with guilt and shame. We’d feel exposed and so blemished in comparison. Imagine what it would be like to live beside pure holiness and raw power. Like the Israelites before the smoking Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19, we’d be terrified.
So, God sent Jesus to be the light the world needed to see. He says plainly, “if you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father(John 14:9).” Jesus’ presence on earth made it possible for us to understand God, know who He is, and comprehend how much God wants to restore relationship with us. He wants to make us holy through Christ’s death so that we can approach His throne with confidence, and are no longer ashamed to stand in His presence.
God uses us to reflect the light of Christ. We replicate the essence of God to our light-deprived world. Our lives dramatize the principles of God’s Word and the definitions of His character.
Wow. That’s a hefty thought. The way you live your life in Jesus’ name reflects who God is to the people around you. They may not be ready to take a direct look at God in all His glory. But they can look at you and how you live your life to get a glimpse of who God is, how He operates, and what He desires to have with us.
It’s like the difference between squinting at the sun and gazing wide-eyed at the moon. As I heard a missions worker say in a devotion, we are like little moons, reflecting the glory of God.
“Jesus, shine through us.”
You want certain people in your life to embrace who Jesus is? Your heart cries out for others to be rescued from the dark lifestyle they’ve found themselves sucked into? Your first step is to shine the light.
Yes, it’s more complicated than that. It’s the amount of light, the quality of light and the direction of the light that will make the difference as to how well they see Jesus. It takes work on our part: a long-term commitment to both live a godly lifestyle and to stay in close contact with the person who needs to see Jesus in you.
But that’s what it takes.
As we bemoan the issues of our world, I’ve often wondered this. If those who call themselves Christians would commit themselves wholeheartedly to living extreme lives of commitment and holiness, how would it impact our world? Would we see people coming to saving faith in Christ? Would we see society’s institutions changed and individual lives transformed?
I think we would.
Are you up to it? Let’s not wait for the other Christians to shape up their act. Let’s start with ourselves and renew our commitment to live the holy, loving, righteous life God has called us to live. And if we live with other Christians, let’s start there. Consider your church or home as boot camp or a training center for practicing this transformed life. Shine now so when your moment to shine in the darkened world comes, your light will be strong, seasoned, and strategic.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,Isaiah 60:1,2
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.”
Read more of Isaiah 60 to discover what God says will happen when we shine His light on the earth.