Created to Shine

“A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on a lampstand?”
(Mark 4:21).

It is the natural function of a lamp to be ablaze wherever it goes.

As followers of Christ, we are encouraged by Jesus that we are “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14), a people displaying the love and glory of God. A couple of years ago, the idea of constantly shining would have been an overwhelming idea, besetting me with the expectations of having to produce this. But, truly, I have never been asked to be the flame. This is not my main point, but it is essential to understand everything else.

I am not the flame itself. But I am certainly made to be a carrier of it, and that not as an occasional thing, but as my very being and purpose.

By the Holy Spirit, I must grasp that this is who I am now. In the same way that, as a Christian, I have no choice in the matter of being a part of the body of Christ, I also have no choice that I have been made a carrier of the light of Christ. I may choose to hide myself, and, by the love of the world, forget to trim this wick or gather the oil of intimacy with the Lord. Even the brightest of wicks are sometimes neglected to be left smoldering. But the essence of me has been transformed–I am a new creature–and it is guaranteed that if the conditions of my heart are kept up, i.e., if I remain responsive toward the Holy Spirit, I am bound to shine the light of the Lord in every circumstance I find myself in.

I found myself at the Suzzallo Library Reading Room at the University of Washington last Wednesday. It is grand as a cathedral and peaceful as a monastery. Its vaulted, stone ceiling upholds glowing, wrought iron chandeliers for when the sun isn’t glimmering through the stained-glass windows. I love picking a seat in the middle of the dimly-lit desks, hiding beneath the overhead lamps in silence with a book and a pen. It is becoming one of my favorite places in Seattle.

However, I couldn’t help but feeling funny about retreating to one of the spiritually darkest places in the city, a campus housing a secular cathedral for the worship of human reason. When I got off the bus, I sensed that familiarly insipid voice telling me, “You don’t belong here.” But I had to laugh in its face because, well, I belong everywhere.

Because I am a lamp! And even the darkest places deserve light. That same little voice gnawed at the back of my conscience, the condemnation of seeking God in so-called “unconsecrated” places. But by my very presence, I consecrate things because of His presence within me. The Word dwells richly within me, even on cold dry campuses that have tried to build Him out of it, pushing away the very light of the wisdom with which it would seek to warm its halls.

Lord, appoint me, by your Spirit to be an effective lamp for your love. Encourage me, that you are working in me, even when I am not aware of your presence shining through me.

“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison”
(Isaiah 42:5-7).

At the Lithia Park fountain in Ashland, OR

 

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