Proverbs 4:18 says “…the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Psalm 119:105 reminds us that God’s Word is “…a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”, and in John 8:12b Jesus proclaimed, “…’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (ESV).
Notice that these Biblical truths about light have to do with walking, following a path from one place to another, and that even though the paths may be dark, God has given us his Word and his Presence to illuminate our way.
As Isaiah prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (9:2 ESV).
As we enter a new year and a new decade, the paths of this world are becoming increasingly dark. But this is not a reason for us to be afraid. If we light a candle at noon, we hardly notice that it’s burning because the light all around us is so bright. But when we light that same candle at midnight, the light of its flame can be seen from almost two miles away. * And that’s only one small candle. Can you picture a million or a billion points of light, shining in the darkness? Just look up at the night sky, and you’ll see what I mean. The stars are always shining in the daytime, but because our sun is so bright, we can’t see them! It’s the blue-black vault of the night sky that makes the breathtaking beauty of the cosmos visible.
In the Constitution of the kingdom of heaven on earth – his Sermon on the Mount – Jesus said to the people, “’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’” (Matthew 5:14-15 ESV). We are intended to be the light in this dark world.
Whoa, Nellie! Hang on a second! Suzanne, are you saying that we are the light of the world? I thought Jesus said that HE is the Light of the world! Yes, Beloved, I am saying that you, and I, and we, and the whole Body of Christ are in fact the light of the world, because Jesus, the True Light, the Light-Bringer, abides within us! Do you remember what happened on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem when God breathed life into his Church?
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them” (Acts 2:1-3 ESV).
In Revelation 1:20, Jesus explains to the apostle John that his vision of the seven candlesticks with Jesus standing in their midst represents the seven churches. This tells us that God intends his Church to be a lamp – like a menorah with many branches - and each believer a radiant light.
Therefore, we can picture ourselves as lovely candles with our flames shining in the darkness. The Light of Life did not come just to light the path for us, he also came to light us up, so that we can light the way for others. We are designed to shine.
How do we do this? Did Jesus give us any clues? I’m so glad you asked, because yes, he did!
Here is what John wrote about the time just before the crucifixion, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (13:1); and soon afterward Jesus said to his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (13:34-35 ESV).
The word for love in these verses is the Greek, agape, which means charitable love. The kind of love that puts the well being of another before one’s self. This type of love is filled with the Light of Life and it drives out the darkness. The light that God shines through us into the world is the Light of the Love of Christ. And he wants us to share it.
As we enter a new decade in 2020, we are going to hear a lot about how we can manifest our “20/20 vision.” That’s a wonderful thing and we will talk more about it too, in the coming weeks. But before we can see clearly enough to claim our vision, first we must turn on the light.
While our earth begins yet another revolution around the sun, let’s remember that God’s very first commandment to his creation was “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3); and at the very end of the Redemption Timeline, in Revelation 22:5, John foresaw that in the new heaven and the new earth, “…night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (ESV).
Until then, we are the light of this world because God’s Love-Light burns within us. As we prayerfully ask God to light the paths we travel in 2020, let’s make it our mission to let the light of Christ shine through us to everyone we meet.
“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 5:16 ESV).
*”How Far Can a Human Eye See a Candle Flame?” MIT Technology Review, 31 July 2015. Web. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/539826/how-far-can-the-human-eye-see-a-candle-flame/ . 28 December 2019.