Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Choosing the Light

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 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 11:33-36 NIV)

In this passage, Jesus refers metaphorically to the "eye"as the lamp of our body, through which the light is received. When our eye is healthy, the light can come in unimpaired and our body is filled with light. When our eyes are damaged by cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, or other diseases of the eye, the light that enters is reduced and the images we see are distorted. Rather than filling us with light, they can, in a way, fill us with darkness because the light is not allowed to enter.

This principle has become extremely clear to me because of my neighbor, who has a chronic problem with double vision. To hammer a nail, he pounds repeatedly in the general direction of the nail, hoping to hit it occasionally and thereby drive the nail into the board. It is extremely inefficient and fraught with difficulty. Very few nails are successfully hammered into place.

When I have clarity of vision in my spiritual eyes, the light of truth can enter unimpaired and fill me. Just as having light in a room allows me to move about freely, so the light in my life also allows me to move in freedom as I live the life Christ expected me to live. 

"What is the sign that God expects from us for the evidencing of our faith?" Matthew Henry asked. His answer, "The serious practice of that religion which we profess to believe, and a readiness to entertain (or embrace) all divine truths when brought to us in their proper evidence." 

God expects me to live out the faith I claim and to embrace His truth when it is revealed to me. I am to live like I say I believe if I am to please God and demonstrate His grace and mercy to the world. Obedience is not optional. 

That living requires "clear eyes" that are not clouded or darkened by the distortion sin causes. It requires that I allow the light of Christ to fill me. Imagine for a moment having a life that is filled with light, no darkness at all. 

Selah. Pause and consider.

If I embrace the truth I know, rejecting the sin I prefer, I can be a shining example of God's grace to those around me, much like a lamp shining in a darkened room. I can be, if I choose to be.

Therein is the problem. CHOICE. Will I choose light or darkness? Will you choose light or darkness? We can't have both. If you and I are to live as those who have been redeemed, we must choose the light, allow it to fill us, and live accordingly. We cannot continue to reserve even a tiny bit of darkness for our own pleasure. 

Just as Joshua told the Israelites as they stood on the brink of the promised land. There is a choice to be made, and it changes everything.

If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15 NASB)