Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Burning and Shining

At Christmas, I love to sing “The Light Song” (wish I could remember who wrote it ☹ ) Here are the words:

God held the light in the palm of His hand
Then He knelt on earth and He made the light a man
And Jesus is that light, shining all alone
Like a beacon in the distance showing the way home.

The world has been dark, but tiny lights are burning.
We were lost and wondering, now to the light we’re turning.
And Jesus is that light, changing night to day
Shining in the distance; showing us the way.
Keep it burning, burning brighter,
Till the darkness slowly fades away.

When we hold the light and share it with a friend
We start a candle burning whose flame will never end.
Oh, care for the light, don’t let it grieve away.
For we have been instructed to help one another . . . to
          Keep it burning, burning brighter,
Till the darkness slowly fades away.
The song reminds me of John 5:35 where Jesus says of John the Baptist: “He was a burning and shining lamp . . .”

Would Jesus say that of me? If I am honest, I must admit that I often feel like I am hiding His light ‘under a bushel’. (Matthew 5:15)

Sin darkens everyone’s soul. As Christians, we hold the lantern that will dispel that darkness—Jesus, the Light. So, why do we hide this Great Light? What are the reasons why we are not “burning and shining”?

Some of us would say it is because we think shining God’s light on others relies on us, and we don’t feel equipped for the task. But the truth is, it is the Holy Spirit, not our meager efforts, who burns away the barriers between others and Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us who shines the Light of Truth into the darkness of another’s soul. Our witness is not dependent upon our proficiency, our efforts, our strength, our persuasive skills, or our wisdom! We are just the candleholder, not the candle! Luke 12:12 encourages us: “The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

Another reason we keep our fire for Jesus tightly contained might be our failure to contemplate the eternal consequences to those who do not find salvation in Jesus. Do we truly fathom the unlimited pain and horror that will be suffered in Hell? The Bible describes Hell quite vividly:

A place where there is gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), outer darkness (Matthew 22:13), torments (Luke 16:23), unending sorrows (2 Samuel 22:6), eternal separation from God (II Thessalonians 1:9), burning sulfur (Revelation 21:8), no rest (Revelation 14:11), and unquenchable thirst (Luke 16:24).

We wouldn’t want our enemy to endure such torture, let alone those we love.

Perhaps another reason we hide our light is because we need to be more grounded in God’s love: “May you have power, together with all of the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:18)

If we take the time to better understand what is at stake, experience the depth of God’s love, and depend on the Holy Spirit for the words, the sparks of our faith with catch fire and God’s light will shine on all with whom we come in contact. Our hearts will be full to overflowing. Others will notice and ask us about the difference in our attitudes, our reactions, and our priorities—the perfect opening for sharing our faith!

When we share the Light of the Gospel with someone else we not only shine that Light into his/her life, but we start a chain reaction of burning for Jesus that grows ever brighter with each passing. His Light spreads throughout families and churches and work environments and friendships.

How do you burn and shine for Jesus? What excuses have you given for keeping the Light to yourself?

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams