It’s hard to imagine what life must have been like before electricity was invented.
After all, it’s one thing to wake up early to watch the sun rise in the sky but quite different to wake up early because you need the light.
Even if you had been able to use oil lamps or candles, which both must have made a difference for folks, nothing compares to switching on lights with a flick of your wrist.
Most of us grew up with the warning to not leave lights on when we left a room.
Our parents knew it was in our best interest to help keep the family’s electrical bill down, but that’s something a child simply cannot understand.
I doubt many of us fully appreciate the gift of light in our everyday lives now.
As Christians, the Bible tells us a lot about light. We’re told to share it. We’re told to never hide it. We’re told that God is the source of it.
Light is useful to show others the way, something we all should desire to do.
But sometimes it’s hard when you find out that using your light to shine on someone else’s path means there’s no chance for it to shine on you. Any dreams of standing under the spotlight have to fade.
It helps to understand that our light ultimately isn’t ours at all. The sole purpose of our light is to use it to help other people see Jesus.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:16 NIV
When Jesus was living His 33 years as a man, He gave His light to everyone. He still does.
Back then, not everyone wanted to see His light.
There were some who went to great lengths to dim His message while others ignored it, choosing darkness instead.
Judas even went behind His back, starting a course of events that had actually been the plan all along.
And Jesus, knowing not only the actions of Judas but the man’s heart, still shone His light on him as He washed his feet at the Last Supper.
That makes me cringe when I think of how easily I get offended. It makes no sense because God has given me explicit instructions about how to live, how to put the needs of others before my own feelings.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.Micah 6:8 NIV
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”
I understand that I’m supposed to walk humbly before others.
I am completely aware that I’m required to love them, to show kindness, to put everyone above myself.
None of that is a mystery to me. And when other people receive my acts of kindness well or repay my kind words with nice ones of their own, I find myself basking in the glow of the glorious light I’m giving away.
But that doesn’t always happen.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone appreciated us? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone wanted the light we so graciously share with them?
Just like Jesus, whose enemies went to great lengths to try to extinguish His light, we can expect to have to fight to keep ours bright.
I can’t help but picture Jesus as He made His way from Palm Sunday to Good Friday.
He knew what lay before Him, but He also knew Easter morning was coming.
Even though God allowed a moment in time when the world was bathed in the blackness of dark, the Light of the World was never extinguished.
Every day Jesus offers me His light, offers me His love. I’d like to say I spend every day praising Him, thanking Him, sharing Him. But that isn’t true.
There have been times when I’ve had to find my way out of my own darkness and back into His light, times when I’ve reached out to Him because I needed Him.
And He has always been right there, letting His light warm me as I soak up His love for me.
However, when someone only seems to reach out to me when they need me, I find myself getting bitter.
I definitely don’t feel like showering them with the light of my love, knowing they are going to most likely ignore me again.
But I often find that just a glimmer of a response from them is enough to move my light from dim to its brightest setting.
The fickleness of my light shames me, making me see that light is something I’m not designed to control on my own.
When God tells me to let my light shine before men, He means all men. He also means all the time.
He knows I can’t do this without Him. It turns out that He never meant for me to.
The only way to avoid the hurt feelings that cause our lights to flicker and even fade is to spend time absorbing His light. Micah 6:8 ends with a reminder that I am to do all that is required of me “with God” because without Him, none of it is possible.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”John 8:12 NIV