After he finished he turned on the light and I nearly grabbed my sunglasses. I had not known the fixture was so dirty. Those glass plates didn’t look that bad, hanging up above my head. Boy, was I wrong. The thing sparkles like it hasn’t in years. Since I use that table for most of my Bible studies, maybe I won’t have so many headaches now.
It’s not like I didn’t know it was there. Certainly I understood the fixture could become dirty. I have lived here for thirty years now and I know how much dust settles. On the other hand, it is far above my head. Like the top of the refrigerator, I never notice how dirty it has become. I simply take the light for granted—after all, I can still see.
Have you ever picked up something written by a skeptic or talked to one about the scriptures? How they see the Bible will amaze you. “What?” I have thought many times. “Where did they come up with that? How did they get that out of that passage?” It isn’t just the ignorant taking bits and pieces out of context. It is their way of thinking that skews their viewpoint. Of course a “free-thinking, free-loving intellectual” will see the morality of a Christian as a prison. It takes a man who understands the integrity of temperance to see that other lifestyle as enslavement to self-indulgence. “I will not be mastered by anything,” Paul says, and we who practice that understand the true liberty found in Christ.
So how do we clean off the dust and see the light? Peter, in speaking about the prophecies of Christ, makes a powerful point when he calls the word of God a light to which “you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” 1 Pet 1:19. We live in the country. The first comment most of our city-dwelling visitors make after an overnight is, “It sure is dark out here.” We have learned to see in the starlight, but after hearing them bump around in the night so often, we now lay a small penlight on the bedside table in the guest room. The dark can be dangerous—anyone can trip and fall.
The Word does for us what that light does for our guests. It opens our minds to the Truth; it helps us see things as they really are, not as the Prince of Darkness would have us think. It shows us first and foremost our leader and his example. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said (John 8:12). “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”
But having the advantage of that light places obligations on us.
For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light, Eph 5:8-13.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do [men] light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shines to all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven, Matt 5:14-16.
Do all things without murmurings and questionings: that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you are seen as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life…Phil 2:14-16a.
Look at your light this morning. Is it dimmed with the dust and film of everyday life? It is easy to take for granted the life we live in the Lord, to be satisfied with our lack of “big, bad sins.” We may not be associating with the “unfruitful works of darkness,” but are we “reproving them?” We may not be doing wrong, but are we doing right? We may not forget to study our Bibles, but are we “holding forth the word?”
Maybe it’s time to do a little cleaning. I wonder if your neighbors will need their sunglasses when you do.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father…Matt 13:43.