You are the light of the world. But if the light loses its illumination, how can it become light again?
My son and I were playing in our living room when he stopped and cowered. “Dock, Daddy.” He pointed to a shadow behind our couch, the crease where the back meets the wall and imaginations hide in the dark.
“Ohh, dark.” A light dawned. “Are you scared of the dark, Luke?”
“Yesh. Scared.” He shook. “Dock.” He clutched my arms and scooted into me.
“Luke, you don’t have to be afraid of the dark,” I said, sensing a teaching moment. “The dark is only a place where light can’t reach. There’s nothing really there.”
The dark is only a place where light can’t reach.
I shoved the couch out of the way to show him.
“Will you check with me? See, there’s nothing there.” I reasoned with my two year old’s fears.
“See Daddy? Dock.” A small finger quivered at the faint shadow cast by the back of the couch even this far away from the wall.
“Luke, that shadow is only there because that’s where the light is blocked by the couch. See?”
He looked up at the light, then back at the wall. “Yesh,” he let out an exhale of revelation.
“The couch is in the way, so there’s no light behind it. But there’s nothing scary there. The light is just blocked by something. That’s all darkness is.”
And then it hit me.
That’s exactly how it is with God and us.
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)
But he doesn’t just show you a “lamp for (your) feet and a light for (your) path (Psalm 119.105), he also makes you light like him.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. (Ephesians 5.1)
Last week, The Fools published an article titled Your Light is Worth Nothing Without Salt.
In it, Jesus says:
You are the light of the world….In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5.14,16)
You were made to reflect his light. So, in a strange way you were made to be transparent, a transporter of God’s glory, shining his light through you as his child.
However, there is a danger there, as well.
You can choose to block the light.
See, like my revelation with my son, where the light is blocked is where the shadow falls. The dark is only a place the light can’t reach. There’s nothing really there.
You were meant to shine the light of Christ into that darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
But… you can overcome it.
See, Jesus also said this,
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.
Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. (Luke 11.34-36)
Any place the light within you is darkness, just like with the couch, it blocks Jesus from shining through. It casts a shadow. That’s where the darkness lies.
And that’s where Jesus can’t reach.
You are his light to the world, the one he sets on a hill to display God’s glory to everyone. But if you allow your eyes to be unhealthy — if you hide a porn addiction, nurse unforgiveness for your sister, protect your image from your pulpit to impress the world, carry prejudices for people you don’t understand, rationalize your weakness for unhealthy relationships, or judge those who aren’t as “right” as you — allow your light to be “part of it dark,” it blocks him. The light can’t get through.
Where you block it, you cast a shadow.
Your light, the witness on a hill, blocks Jesus.
If you know you’re blocking Jesus with your witness, what choice are you willing to make?
Are you willing to part with the areas of your life that are drawing you into sin?
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5.29)
I was mocked once by a college professor for suggesting Jesus was being hyperbolic and doesn’t want us to mutilate ourselves — and I still think so — but he’s being intensely illustrative.
What are you willing to do?
Are you willing to make what may seem like a radical, even impossible choice to you to conquer something in you that seems unstoppable, to give up something too dear — the part that’s grown comfortable — or would you rather make the only other choice?
To cast a shadow.
There are only two options.
You can choose to reflect him or to block him.
To shine his light or to hide in the dark.
In the crease behind the couch, where a little boy’s quivering finger points, and imaginations and fears run wild.
You don’t have to hide in the dark, you don’t have to let your life be unhealthy, but you do have to choose. Who do you love? Jesus, of course. But maybe the right question, to reveal the real answer, is what do you love — light? Or, with what we so easily coddle, darkness?
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light… (John 3.19)
You can only choose one. And that will be your God.
The world will see it when it looks behind you, like my son peering into the crease behind the couch. It will see a brilliant light, God’s glory shining through, or it will see a shadow.
Which will you choose? You can decide to be Fake for Christ’s Sake, but if you do nothing will keep your light from blocking Jesus.
That’s a choice I can’t make.
There’s no condemnation for you, no matter what you’ve done or may be dealing with now, if you choose him.
But there is an IF:
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1.7)
There’s an if. Just if. Nothing else there. There’s nothing that can hold you back, nothing that can shame you, nothing that can make you shudder at sins in the shadows of your life, at imaginations in the dark, at fears in the creases behind your couch, if you live in the light.
Because if you’ve accepted Christ’s death and resurrection for your sins, there’s nothing really there at all.
Only the exhale of a child who knows he belongs with the light on.