“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11:33-36 ESV)
Everyone has sung the old children’s song This Little Light of Mine in church before. It’s a cute rendition to explain that we are to let our light shine for Jesus. As St. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying, “Preach the gospel to all the world, and if necessary, use words.” It’s a great challenge for us all to live our faith and present the actions and love of Jesus to the world around us. However, what we’re talking about here is not so much the light that you let shine, but the light that is within you. In the passage above, the statement is made, “Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.” This struck a chord with me for some reason. How can the light that is in us be considered dark? Does not light drive out darkness? Aren’t they opposites? How can one be the same as the other? Are you confused like I was? So as I pondered this for some time, the Holy Spirit began to take me on a little adventure through the Bible to help me out. On a quick side note, when God’s Word tells us that the Holy Spirit is a teacher (John 14:26), believe you me, this is truth, and became very evident to me on this night.
First, in our passage it states that the eye is the lamp OF the body. Make special note that it does not say FOR the body. This is a special distinction for this passage as it promotes that what you set your eyes on is what will fill you. Scripture is very clear on allowing Jesus to be our light (Matthew 5:16). But before we get to that stage of faith, it is essential we fill ourselves with the right light, the Light of the World (John 8:12). John makes things very clear to us in 1 John 2:15-17 as to what to avoid setting our eyes on.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” [italics mine]
If we take this passage and add verse 11 that comes before, things become very clear.
“But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” [italics mine]
So we see this contrast between light and darkness. We are meant to walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8). However, we have an extraordinary tendency to walk in darkness (1 John 2:11). We are supposed to let our light shine (Matthew 5:16), yet we desire to set our gaze upon the darkness (Proverbs 2:13). Scripture is very consistent and clear on how to overcome the darkness. To stop dwelling in darkness, you need to discipline yourself to live in the light, and therefore become fixated on the light. This is the only way to dispel the darkness from your soul. What I’ve learned in my life is that there are degrees of light that we need to be aware of.
Stage 1: Spiritual Flashlight – Some believe that as long as they carry their spiritual flashlight, they’re good to go. It’s used only when needed. “I’ll shine my light here, and maybe a little over there. I just need to be sure I don’t stumble over something I don’t see.” The problem with this is that you are still walking in darkness. A flashlight doesn’t expel the darkness all around you. Only what you decide to point it at.
Stage 2: Power-saving LED – Others however decide that they will turn the light on and leave it on for as long as is necessary. This is good. We need more Christians who are willing to flip the switch and leave the light on, just like Motel 6. There’s consistency in this light. It shines brightly and no doubt will expel the darkness in the room. The only problem is that it can be turned off just as easily as its turned on.
Stage 3: Lighthouse – Have you ever seen a lighthouse working hard? Its light is powerful. Its light is attractive. Its light shines 360 degrees in every direction. Its light is a beacon of salvation, hope, and safety. The light that shines from a lighthouse can be seen from miles away. It allows for others to avoid the calamities that are before it. It stands strong against the storm, wind, and waves. It shines for others, not for itself.
All this can be said about fire as well. Another source of light that serves 2 purposes: light and heat. You start with a spark. Yet the spark by itself is not enough. The spark turns in to a flame that becomes the light and heat you need to set something a blaze. Then you have a full blown scorching fire. Envision a match if you will. The spark ignites the fire, and then if not used for a greater purpose, will eventually consume itself and burn out.
So in desiring to fill our life with the proper light, the light of the world, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly aware of that which we seek. When the Bible is very clear that we need to seek the face of God (Psalm 24:6), do you know Who and What you are truly seeking? Buckle up. Let’s take a look.
The God who created light. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:3-4)
The God whose justice is swift and certain. “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” (Genesis 19:24)
The God whose glory is too brilliant to behold. “And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.”… “Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’…But, he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.’” (Exodus 3:6, 33:18,20; John 1:18)
The God who is all consuming. “Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire.”…“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” (Exodus 24:17, Acts 2:2-3)
The God of power. “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38)
The God whose presence is a holy gentleness. “the sound of a low whisper…And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak…” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
The God whose presence brings revelation. “Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.”… “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:2,5)
The God whose Love is perfect. “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12)
The God whose presence emits glory and power. “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God.” (Revelation 4:5)
“As our bodily eye is dazzled, and its power of vision destroyed, by looking directly at the brightness of the sun, so would our whole nature be destroyed by an unveiled sight of the brilliancy of the glory of God.” (C.F. Keil)
What is it we are truly seeking in the face of God? As experienced by those who saw Him face to face, justice, glory, power, brilliance, revelation, gentleness, humility, and love. However, the ultimate revelation that we are a sinful people, unworthy to be in the presence of God, in need of salvation! This is what it took for Moses, Elijah, and Isaiah. To experience the presence of God is to humble yourself in the realization that we need all of Him, His power and authority, His indwelling Spirit, and the Word of God to accomplish all that He wants us to do. 1 Timothy 6:15-16 tells us, “…he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” Although we are told He is unapproachable, we are also given the task multiple times throughout scripture that we are to seek Him with everything we’ve got! This is the beautiful thing about God. He made Himself approachable through His Son Jesus. (2 Chronicles 7:14; Job 5:8; Psalms 9:10; Psalms 24:6; Psalms 105:4; Amos 5:4; Matthew 6:33; John 14:5-11; Acts 17:26-27; Hebrews 11:6)
Here’s the beautiful thing. We serve a God in whose presence we cannot bear to contain. He is thunder, lightning, fire, earthquaking power in unapproachable light. Yet, He gave us His only Son who reassures us that He is the only Way to everlasting life. That if we know Him [Jesus], we know the Father who sent Him. In the presence of Jesus, we find all we are and all we need. He tells us, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal to Him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:27-28) We also read the following in Ephesians 1:7-9, 11:
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ”… “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
Did you happen to catch the emphasis there?! All things are made, done, completed, and purposed for Him and Him alone. And we get to be a part of it all if we choose to seek Him and abide in Him on a daily basis (Luke 9:23). Jesus is our perfect savior! He is all we need and all we should seek. “He is the radiance of the glory of God” (Hebrews 1:3), and He wants us to cling to Him. We must set our eyes upon Him in all we do. We need to observe all that He did in and through the written Word. He speaks to us today as He spoke to His disciples 2000 years ago. We need to listen. We need to abide. We need to soak up the rays of His infecting presence every day. Let that fill us, and then, we can let our light shine!
“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 you 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)