This past week I was having a discussion with a friend of mine and she told me about a satellite image taken at night of the earth that she had seen. She explained that countries in Europe and America were lit up like a Christmas tree but places in China and North Korea were completely dark. It was no surprise at all that those countries would be light and dark.
As my friend explained the picture she saw, I couldn’t help but wonder . . .
If we were to take a spiritual satellite image of our world, where would it be light and dark? Would the light and darkness be switched? Would North Korea be ablaze and America and Europe be dark as night?
What if we were to take a spiritual image of my church? Would people be blinded by the light of many believers gathering together or would our light even be apparent?
If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness. 1 John 2.9-11
And I took it a little further when I read this passage . . . I wondered how bright my light would be. Would it be glowing brightly enough for others to see or for a satellite to pick up on? Or would it be a dull radiance that was barely perceived?
In the verses just before these John talks about knowing God.
“If I say, “I know God,” but don’t obey Him, I’m not living in the truth.” (I’m living in darkness - my addition) 1 John 2.4
I believe many of us know ABOUT God. We know about God like we know about our favorite actor, singer or band member. We’ve prided ourselves on all the facts and statistics we know about God, we’ve loaded up on knowledge about Him through Bible studies, sermons and books about the Bible but have neglected to develop an intimate, personal, knowing relationship with Him. We can spout verses, quote challenging messages but neglect to live in obedience; living self-centered, self-serving lives. And our light? It isn’t light at all – it’s really darkness.
Jason Crabb wrote a song ("Living Life Upside Down") that has some really haunting lyrics.
What if we’ve fallen into the bottom of the well
Thinking we’ve risen to the top of a mountain
What if we’re knocking at the gates of hell
Thinking we’re heaven bound
And What if we spend our lives thinking of ourselves
When we should have been thinking of each other
What if we reach up and touch the ground
To find we’re living life, upside down
What if we think we’re shining brightly but we’re really living in darkness?
How can we really know? John tells us . . . by evaluating the way we live. Is our life just meaningless words or are we living what we say we believe?
When we live in obedience our light will shine so brightly that the darkness won’t be able to contain it!
How bright is your light?