You have probably heard the following verse read, many times. In church, in youth group, maybe at home. You may have even read it yourself. You’ve probably heard it preached on, taught on, explained over and again until you know what it means.
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light” Luke 8:16
Yea, I know. And I’m sorry - kind of. Oops sorry; I lied. I’m not sorry at all. You’ve seen this verse so many times and the meaning is so simple - we have a light, the good news of Jesus Christ, and we need to let it shine. We need to be unashamed of the gospel, to let people know that we are Christians, that we love Jesus, to let the gospelshine from us. We aren’t supposed to hide it, but to let it shine. After all, no one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed, but lets it shine for all to see. Right?
At first glance, yes. We are supposed to shine the light of the gospel into the world for all to see. But there’s a little subtle thing we’re missing. We aren’t the one who lights the lamp. We aren’t the ones who set the light up on the lamp stand or under the bed.We are the lamp. We are the lamp that gets lit up. We are the lamp that is supposed to be on fire for our God.
You see, in Matthew’s retelling of this very same parable, He says nearly the exact same thing - with one slight difference. Instead of ‘No one lights a lamp’, he starts it with “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) You are the light. You.
“You may be the only bible some people read” - Anonymous
This quote has been haunting me for some time. We are called, as believers of Christ, to follow Christ. To be His example to the world. To reveal Him to the world. But so often our message has become trapped inside our heart, and has been unable to reach the surface. So often our message has been diluted by our actions and is unable to reach people. So often our message has become diverted by our decisions; that we effectively douse the flame in our heart with water, allowing it to smother and die.
“It’s super easy to light a light and leave it alone. All that means we have to behave for about an hour and a half as we add more fuel to the lamp - usually at church on Sundays.”
But you see that’s not what Jesus intended. He never wanted us to smother and die - He wanted us to thrive and grow. He wanted the good news of His love for us to become an all consuming fire - to grow and spread through us; to create an excitement within us that makes us the light that reveals Him to the world - not just through our lips, but through our actions. Not just at church to a select few people, but to everybody we encounter.
You see, it’s super easy to light a light and leave it alone. All that means we have to behave for a short period of time as we add more fuel to the lamp - usually at church on Sundays. Then we can go on our merry way and do whatever we want. And that’s the problem with so much of modern Christianity - we go to church on Sundays, and light our lamps for about an hour and a half. We stand by our lamp, tending our lamp, and making it burn brightly - and then, we leave our lamps at church and come back the next week to stoke the fire and make sure its re-fueled. We go back home, we go to work, we forget about our lamps, and we do whatever we want. We cheat on our spouses. We fight with our neighbors. We hurt people who did nothing to deserve it. We kill, cheat, steal and hate. And then we go back to church the next week and think ‘Oh good! My lamps still lit!’
We are not meant to be the light keepers of the lighthouse of the gospel - we are supposed to be the light!
But that’s not what being a Christian truly means! We are not meant to be the light keepers of the lighthouse of the gospel - we are supposed to be the light!
Our calling isn’t simply to light a lamp and leave it alone - but to allow God to use us as a light. God is the one who lights the lamp, and we are the lamp; meant to shine out to the world, to reveal God to the world in everything we do. But you see, we have a choice - we can let God set us on the lamp stand, shining for all the world to see, standing as an example for Christ in everything we do - or we can request that He cover us in a basket, hiding our light from the world. We can shine brightly, or we can fizzle out - but it’s our choice. Unlike normal lamps God doesn’t simply force us to go where He wants to put us - He lets us make the choice.
So are you going to allow yourself to be placed on the lamp stand? Or are you going to choose to hide under the bed? Because those are the only options. You can stand fully as a light pointing to Christ all the time to all people, or you can hide your light and only let a few select people see it. You can either be a light unto the world, as you are called by Mathew, or you can be a light to only a few. But the choice ultimately is yours.
Breakaway is a movement determined to empower a community of spirit-filled believers live out their identity as Christ-followersIt's time to breakaway from Christian stigma and legalistic mindsets, and to realize the true nature of our loving Father. You can follow breakaway directly on tumblr and twitter.
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