The Light of the World
When I was at my lowest and my deepest into my drug addiction I began to suffer from a physical ailment called uveitis which is also referred to as eyeritis. Uveitis can be the result of a number of many different things and is common in welders who do not wear their flash hood while welding. I developed uveitis due to the drugs I consumed kept me up for days at a time and my eyes would be overused. The uvea which consists of the Choroid, Ciliary body and Iris of the eye was effected to the point that my pupil became stuck to the Iris and would not dilate. As a result of my eye not dilating to filter out the proper amount of light any amount of light would cause great pain. The light sensitivity was so bad that sitting in a darkened room with sunglasses on still did not help ease the pain. The pain was excruciating and felt like sand had been dumped into my eye.
A week before I was arrested in what would result in another arrest a week later after I had been bailed out and a subsequent 19 months in a Texas prison I found myself in a closet of an apartment in Austin, Texas with the door shut and all the lights off. I had a towel placed on the floor to try and block out any light that may have come under the crack of the bottom of the door. Darkness was literally where I was searching for my comfort because the light hurt so bad. John 3:19-20a (NLT) says “The judgement is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it…” I didn’t realize it at the time but I was literally living this verse out. I cried out to God in that closet and although I didn’t know it at the time God would answer that prayer and start me on a journey that would bring me face to face with my sin and His grace several years later.
Scripture uses light as a symbol of God’s truth, revelation, goodness, joy and salvation in various parts of the Bible. One of the very first verses of Scripture I memorized was John 8:12 where Jesus playing off the Name God gave Moses at the burning bush I AM says “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” This verse has really ministered to me over the years I have been a follower of Christ because it reminds me of where my sin had taken me into the darkness of that closet and how the light was something I recoiled from. This beautiful verse and truth of Scripture also reminds me of the amazing grace of God Almighty and how He rescued me out of that through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus Christ making a way for me to never have to live in that darkness again. As 1 Peter 2:9 tells us Jesus Christ has called all those who have placed their faith in Him “out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” If you have experienced the saving grace of Christ then you know the light He brings you into is marvelous indeed!
It wasn’t long into my walk with Christ that I started reading and studying the gospel of Matthew. I was enthralled by the Sermon on the Mount and the truths of God’s word found within that greatest of sermons ever preached. However, I came to a verse that I didn’t quite understand. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus tells His followers that they are “the light of the world” but didn’t Jesus say in John 8:12 that He was the light of the world? Now which one is it are we the light of the world like Jesus says in Matthew 5:14 or is Jesus the light of the world as He proclaims in John 8:12? Well after much prayer and meditation God showed me what His word was proclaiming one night as I looked up at the night sky.
There was a beautiful full Moon one night and it dawned on me the Moon does not give off any light of it’s own yet it lights up the night sky. The Moon with no light of it’s own merely reflects the light from the Sun! Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He is the “radiance of God’s own glory” (Heb. 1:3). Those of us who have put our faith in Christ are to orient our lives to Christ in such a way that we reflect His goodness, His grace, His love, His mercy, His truth, His holiness, His righteousness, His forgiveness and all of His attributes back into the darkness of this fallen world. We are to reflect the light of Christ in the same way the Moon reflects the light of the Sun.
Now the moon does not always shine as bright as it does when it is a full moon. The moon has phases and sometimes we only see a sliver of the light of the moon and the reason why is because the earth has come in between the Sun and the Moon blocking out the reflective light of the Sun off the Moon. As followers of Christ we must be careful to not allow the things of the world to come between us and the Son of God Jesus Christ because it will block out the light Christ desires for us to reflect out into the world. This is why Jesus tells us not to put our light under a basket because it prevents the light from fulfilling the desired function God has given it. This broken world steeped in darkness is in dire need of God’s people reflecting the Light of Christ out into it.
I want to encourage you to take time today to pray to God for Him to show you what in your life are the worldly things that have come in between you and Him. As God reveals those things to you ask Him to give you strength and to empower you by the Holy Spirit to but to death the things of the flesh so you do not just shine like a sliver of the Moon but you shine brightly into the darkness of this fallen world like the Moon in all of it’s fullness and all of it’s splendor.
In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16