THE LIGHT IN YOU
Donald J. Godfred
My memory flashes back to my boyhood days. Our family doctor was my father's friend as well. The doctor couple was a perfect 'made-for-each-other' couple in a certain way. Once when our family visited his house, I was surprised to see that the whole family of three, including their only daughter was 'made-for-each-other.' We were totally confused as to who was looking at and talking to whom. All the three were squint-eyed. If a small disorder of the eye muscles leads to such difficulties, one can just imagine what problems a family as well as others will face with totally blind eyes. Bible gives us an example. Isaac grew old and his eyes were almost blind. He wanted to bless Esau, but we know that Jacob gained the blessing, taking advantage of Isaac's poor eyesight. The whole incident is narrated in Genesis 27.
We Thank Thee
Remember those lines from the famous Jim Reeves number?
"We thank Thee every day as we kneel and pray
That we were born with eyes to see these things"
Yes, indeed we must gratefully thank Him for our 'live' eyes. Still, most of us do have different diseases to our eyes. Some can't see in dim light, some cannot see properly even in daylight, some are short-sighted, yet others long-sighted, and so on. What difficulties we will create for self and others with such defective eyes!
But the modern man tries to cover up these deficiencies by the aid of various devices. Though to some extent we succeed and thus mislead others, the fact remains that such eyes are always potential hazards to our personal safety and that of others.
His Wish, His Warning
When Lord Jesus healed a blind man at Bethsaida, initially, he got partial sight, and could see men like trees only. Jesus did not leave him at that, but restored him fully (Matt. 8: 22-26). God wants our eyes (physical as well as spiritual) to be one hundred percent 'whole.'
He has kindled this great lamp in each one of us. And see what He desires: 'The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed the light which is in you is not darkness!' (Lk. 11:34-35). 'If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’ (Matt. 6: 23b).
Nobody need explain to us about the relation between one's eyes and the body. While walking or driving, if due to sudden heavy wind, dust storms into my eyes, I become blind temporarily. What are the problems I will create for myself and for others in such a situation! Yes, if our eyes are healthy and clear, we will be able to see without any hindrance; also, we can be of help to the needy. On the other hand, if our eyes are defective, we will not only become useless to ourselves and others; but also end up as blind guides who lead others to the ditch, instead of their destinations. That is why the Lord exhorts to take care that the light in us is actually not darkness (Lk. 11: 35).
Light Becoming Darkness
Your light becoming darkness? How come? Yes, the light in me is the light my eyes supply to my body. If my eyes are damaged/decayed, the supply of light to my body stops and my body becomes dark. That means, my eyes which are intended to supply light to my body now supply extra darkness to my already dark body. Imagine a situation wherein, instead of lighting a 100-watt bulb in a dark room, if a bulb which gives 100-watt darkness is provided, this bulb increases the density of darkness already existing in the room. Likewise, my defective eyes add to the darkness of my body, instead of driving out the same. This is the message Jesus conveys through that statement in Matthew 6: 23.
This fact is applicable in our spiritual life also. Jesus Christ is the 'divine lamp' of this world and His Gospel the 'great light' spread by this lamp. In Jesus' own words, this great light is the light of eternal life (Jn. 8: 12b).
His Unique Light
The unique phenomenon of this light is that it pierces into the remotest and darkest corners of our lives unless driven-out forcibly. Light and darkness cannot co-exist (2 Cor. 6:14). Light spills throughout the dark spots, overpowers and banishes darkness, duly disclosing things hidden by darkness. Light brings forth holiness, purity, truth, truthfulness; reveals purity, sacredness, holiness; illuminates, guides. Light marks God's glory, splendour, beauty, wonders. Light reveals itself, reveals mistakes, impurities, filth. Thus the light does a great, marvellous and magnificent job.
If my inner eye (heart) absorbs this light, my mind, soul and the whole of me will be lit up so that this divine light would be reflected through me to this world. This light helps discern between good and bad, truth and lie, guides me in the path of righteousness, helps bring people to the Saviour and lead them to salvation.
If my eyes do not imbibe the divine light, it will be pitch dark in my heart. It is as if I am walking in the night since there is no light in me (Jn 11: 10). And my heart will emit evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness (Mk 7:21-22). This precisely is what Jesus meant when He said: 'when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness’ (Lk.11:34). The light in you becoming darkness (v35) is also the same.
Light To The Gentiles
Just as the Father set Jesus to be a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6), He has appointed us to be the light of the world (Acts 13:47, Matt. 15:14) to shine for all to see (Matt. 5:16). The very purpose of our existence, then, is that the people of this dark world would see the great light (Matt. 4:16) through our radiance. This becomes possible only if we receive the great light (Gospel) of the divine lamp (Jesus) through our eyes (heart) and reflect to the world through our good works so that the 'world' will glorify our God (Matt. 5:16). Only then people will know that the Christian's 'eye' is good, and the light in him/her is not darkness.
Blinding By God
How far have we succeeded in accomplishing this responsibility? It is disappointing to see that we have utterly failed in this effort. The main reason is another god "the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, so that the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ should not shine on them" (2 Cor. 4:4). Apostle Paul knew well that the Gospel is glorious, powerful and shining. This Gospel is the lamp to my feet, the light of which shows me the path of my life (Psa 119:105). It is with the help of this light that spiritual-blinds of this world reach the eternal Almighty. But we see that Satan has blinded many so that they won't believe the Gospel and the glorious light of this powerful Gospel does not shine upon the world.
Alas! It was then. Today Satan has done so even to the believers, the chosen ones and the anointed. They are blind guides leading the blind, ultimately both will fall in the ditch (Matt. 15:14), instead of reaching the goal. Jesus held these pretenders guilty (Jn. 9:41): "Your sin remains because you claim you can see." They will face the punishment too-that of the pretending fig-tree (Matt. 21:18-19) -the final condemnation. Though the light came to the world these people love darkness rather than light, but tell that they are walking in the light; thus bring condemnation upon themselves.
Restoration And Follow-up
Today's evangelical works are flooded with such blind-guides who have not received Jesus' light; but claim so and guide the blind sheep. Jesus has admonished such spiritual-blinds to buy ointment for their eyes from Him so that they are healed (Rev. 3: 18). The only permanent remedy is to shout to Jesus to have mercy as the blind beggar of Luke 18: 35-43 did. Surely there will be plenty of difficulties and hurdles to reach Jesus; but as the obstacles mount, let us cry even louder to Jesus. Indeed our 'eyes' will be healed, our bodies become radiant with His light and we can reflect His light into this world through our good works.
Yet, given a chance, one may slide back into the clutches of 'blindness.’ To prevent this, firstly I have to make a covenant with my eyes (Job 31:1), not to look at sin with lust so that I won't fall prey to temptations and defile my inner eye (heart) which causes the heart to emit the thirteen evil characters mentioned earlier (Mk. 7:21-22). Then, where shall I look to? Train the eyes towards the Lord always for His mercy to be poured in (Psa. 123:2c). This will finally lead to good work in God's sight such as sharing food with hungry, hosting wandering poor strangers, clothing the needy and not shying away from those requiring help (Isa. 58 :7). Our light will, then, shine out from the darkness of this world turning it into bright noon-day (Isa. 58:10) which Jesus reiterated in his Sermon on the Mount. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).
Look at the universe. The present estimates lay down the approximate count of stars in this vast universe as 10 sextillion, that is 1 followed by 22 zeroes. This is a very rough approximation. Most of these stars are billions of light years away from earth. Not all these stars are visible from earth still, because light from these stars have not reached earth as yet. In other words, unless light from a star reaches earth, we cannot confirm the existence of that star. Likewise, only when the light from a Christian shines upon the non-believers, will they know that a child of God is living there, only then child of God will be recognised.
What About Us?
See the blind man of Luke 18:43-after he was healed by Jesus, he followed Him glorifying God. People following Jesus also praised God-we understand that light from this once blind person fell on the people and they turned to Jesus.
How about us? We too have been healed by His mighty hand from many-a-disease, most importantly, from the dreaded disease of sin and the consequent eternal hell. Is our light, now, shining on others? Do they glorify our heavenly Father? Are they turning to the Lord? If not, we must know that our light is not shining on them, or rather, the light in us has become darkness (Lk. 11: 35).
If so, we must take corrective steps at once:
1. Admit our spiritual-blindness.
2. Get the 'eye ointment' from Jesus Himself.
3. Turn the 'eyes' to the Lord and God.
4. Dedicate ourselves for good works (Isa. 58: 7-8, 10).
This way our light will shine upon non-believers and they will turn to the Lord. And those of us, who turn many to righteousness, will not only shine in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation as bright light (Phil. 2: 15); but also live forever and ever like stars(Dan 12: 3). See how God honours such a person? Jesus Himself testified before a huge gathering of Jews at Jerusalem that His fore-runner John-the-baptist was a burning and shining lamp (Jn 5: 35). We know that, today, after 2000 years, He is still shining; and He will shine so forever and ever. Don't you have an ardent desire to be conferred with such a distinction?