I was walking the dogs recently and came across this lamp-post, an unusual vision that stopped me in my tracks. It is clearly an older light, probably not even working, neglected and almost over-run with, what my kids used to call “nature”!
It reminded me of two possibilities for a believer in Christ:
First, positively, that it doesn’t matter what happens throughout your life, where you are placed, the one thing a Christian does is shine! The weeds of nature may wrap around you with their lies and choking restrictions, but the Christian just keeps shining.
Jesus called His followers the “light of the world” in Matthew 5:14. Paul urges the Christians at Philippi to “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). And John encourages an “abiding in the light” as he writes “the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).
Second, negatively! The street light had succumbed to the cares of the world. The light wasn’t shining (admittedly is was day time – you shrewd reader)! It looked tired and weary amidst a crooked and perverse generation, to use Paul’s words from Philippians.
Sometimes as Christians we can succumb. The choking lies of Satan become too much, even when the vile serpent quotes Scripture at us as he did to Jesus in the wilderness, we know that in doing so he, the father of lies, knows the Bible better than we do. And so we believe his lies, and the weeds choke, and our guilt condemns.
Maybe our light flickers, with degrees of brightness. That’s surely a more realistic picture of the Christian life, not quite “dimmer-switch Christianity”, but not far off. Our mood or whatever transient event that shapes our mood is the controller on the dimmer-switch of our life and determines our level of faith, our ability to shine, our sheer pressing in to Christ despite the garbage that grows around and on us.
Jesus called His followers the light of the world because He is the Light of the world. Light just is, and darkness doesn’t stand a chance in the presense of light.
Just as a light on a hill cannot be hidden, the Light of the world on the hill of Calvary cannot be hidden. Even in death and buried in a tomb, the Light is working to bring about a resurrection that will transform everything.
I guess for me, the challenge of this old lamp was a reminder that the Gospel will always have enemies and opponents. Light exposes darkness no matter how lovingly we do it. I am called to shine!
In one sense, it simply doesn’t matter what grows all over it, just don’t let it be because your light has gone out. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Jesus is the Light of the world.
You are the light of the world.