August 3, 2012

A lesser light

Our new home has a bank of windows facing the sun. When temperatures soar, I pull the blinds, but most of the time, sunlight floods the main rooms, warming the space and delighting its owners. 
The sun is earth’s major source of light. However, there are secondary sources, including the moon and a great many man-made artificial lights. Without light, were would we be?

Light has a great many properties. When it hits a surface, in can be reflected, refracted, transmitted or absorbed, depending on the nature of the surface it hits. Certain properties will cause a ray of light to reflect as it changes direction, or refract as it bends. Other properties in the object will cause the light to disperse as it does when a rainbow if created.

Light can also appear to bend around obstacles in its path. A shadow may be created, but light filters into it too, mainly because the light that is not blocked travels in all directions. 

Some materials are transparent, allowing light to pass through so objects are visible on the other side. Think glass, water, and air. Other materials are translucent because they scatter the light making it difficult to see details in what is on the other side, such as wax paper, frosted glass, and some kinds of plastic.

In a vacuum, light always travels at the same speed, but since we don’t live in a vacuum, light speed can vary.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” His metaphor seems to describe His ability to expose what is in darkness because of sin. That darkness describes the human soul that is self-centered and unable to see the sin and lies that hold him in bondage and away from God. When Jesus came, His light changed lives. Anyone willing to come to that light is delivered from darkness and death and delivered into His kingdom of light.

God tells me that I am light in the world — and I say, “How can that be?” How can I be compared to this important and necessary part of our existence, never mind compared to Jesus who is my spiritual Light? Nevertheless, God says it is true and that being light gives me great responsibility.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16)
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:6–10)
Deceived by empty words or not, most of the time I wonder if I am in a fog. It is only by God’s grace and the power of His Spirit that I have any clue about what is good, right, and true. Without the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, I could never discern what pleases God. How can I possibly shine in the lives of others or do the kinds of deeds that glorify God? 

Today’s devotional reading takes some of the focus off what I do and is more concerned about who I am. Slightly paraphrased, here is what it says:
I do not realize the importance of the unconscious part of my life ministry. It goes on continually. In every greeting I give to another on the street, in every moment’s conversation, in every letter I write, in every contact with other lives, there is a subtle influence that goes from me that often reaches further, and leaves a deeper impression than the things themselves that I am doing at the time. It is not so much what I do in this world as what I am, that tells in spiritual results and impressions.
Another way to express this is that Jesus, who is the light of the world, lives in me. While I have a choice in whether I reflect Him or not, His life still shines. Should I fail to be transparent or fail to transmit His light, my life can still refract or diffuse it, all to the glory of God. 

Father, I am going for a walk in the sunlight. As I do, may the light of who You are shine on me. Grant me opportunities to reflect it back to others, particularly to those who sit in darkness.

No comments: