It was so dark as I walked down the path. There was little to no breeze, yet when I did feel a tickle of wind, it had a definite bite to it of fall and winter…the kind of bite that lets you know the bitterness of winter is fast approaching. The sound of dried leaves under my feet broke the silence with each step I took as I moved closer to my hunting spot where I would hopefully be able to find my tree stand. I couldn’t see anything. There was very little light from the moon or stars. And having just lost my flashlight, I was left to finding my way to my stand by memory. My eyes were straining to gather what little light was around so that some familiar images could be assembled in my mind and give me a picture of where I was.
It’s incredibly easy to take something so simple as light for granted!
I had about a half mile walk to get to my stand and I had made it halfway before I tripped over nothing other than my own two feet. It seemed the harder I tried the more I struggled! I don’t ever remember a morning being this dark before! I decided to stay here for just a few moments until my eyes could detect a hint of sunrise. I was not about to stumble through the rest of the woods like this. And just a little light was all I needed. It was just a few minutes after my graceful trip over my own two feet that I had enough light to finish the walk to my stand and climb the tree.
While not everyone hunts like I do, I think we all have tried at some point to navigate through dark. Maybe it was unfamiliar room and we don’t know where the light switch is. Or maybe we are just too lazy to go to the light switch and flip it on and we try to move through the room without knowing what’s under foot?
Or maybe that’s just me…I never knew a Barbie doll could cause so much pain!
Bottom line…trying to navigate in the dark is hard. In fact it is next to impossible!
Light and Dark
Light and dark are two common items that are used in Scripture to describe the goodness of God and the evil of the enemy. They describe two states that a human being can be in. Either illuminated with God’s presence as a believer or darkened and blinded by the enemy. Every single one of us has experienced both. It is universal.
I thought about the importance of light as I finally reached my stand and sat down – primarily to remember and stop on the way home to buy a new flashlight! But I also wondered about the light that God places inside of each of us. This got me thinking about the Apostle Paul’s words. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus that we…
…were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice, and truth. Ephesians 5:8–9 CEB
“We were once darkness.” This would be the state that we were in prior to conversion, that is, prior to our accepting the truth about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ.
“…but now you are light in the Lord” This is the state after accepting the truth about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ and giving Him permission to change our lives.
They are two states of being – either dark or light. Either we belong to Christ or we don’t.
Paul’s point? Become what you are! Let’s just spend a moment here on this thought as it is the crux of me sharing this post. Paul is saying to the church in Ephesus and to us today to be what we already are! We have already become lights of the world through the work of the cross. This is not a try harder to earn God’s love! God’s love is something we already have completely!
Think about a lightbulb. It is a simple little invention. It does one thing and does it remarkably well! It illuminates the darkness so that we can navigate! It does not try harder to be a lightbulb. It just is. What’s more important is what is happening inside the lightbulb!
And the same goes with us as believers. We don’t try harder to become light . We already are! We don’t try harder to earn God’s love! It already is. It is given at the same intensity for all of us!
But I find myself sometimes trying harder when all I need to do is focus on what’s going on inside of me. Becoming what I already am means that my behavior must conform to the Light inside of me – that is – that nature of Jesus Christ. While it is what I already am, there is still a process of my obedience and submission of my will to His will. This is becoming what I already am! It is shining His light through my daily submission to HIs will over mine! It is the doing of good and right actions!
As followers of Christ, you and I have the full light of Christ inside of us. We don’t have part of it nor do we have to become more of it. What matters is what we do with that Light and become more of what we already are!
Light illuminates and shines truth in the darkness. It enables not just ourselves to navigate this world, but for others to navigate as well. We don’t have to grope around in the darkness like I did the morning my hunt! By nature light is what we are! What we are to do is pursue His nature daily in our lives. It is this pursuit, daily submission, that produces the fruit that Paul talks about at the end of those verses. When we live our lives, responding obediently to the Holy Spirit, His light is reflected in our lives and leads the way for others to also find that same light!
We can change the world around us! All that it takes is for us to become what we already are!
After my hunt I climbed down the tree, packed up my gear and headed back the same path I entered on, only now illuminated by the warm sun. Still making a mental note to buy a new flashlight, I reached down to pick up my backpack and load it into the trunk of my car and lo and behold, wonder of wonders…my flashlight! It must of fallen out of my backpack and I didn’t realize it. As I picked it up my thoughts were on just how important it is to shine. It is doing what I already am. I drove toward home with a great sense of peace, purpose, and a greater respect for my flashlight!