The sun-illuminated window referenced below
with all of its streaks, smears, and smudges.
I cleaned the sliding glass door in our home. I did the best I could, I really did. After the cleaning I inspected it carefully from the outside. There were still some streaks. Wipe, wipe, wipe, and they were gone. I inspected it from the inside. Oops! Some more stubborn streaks and smudges remained. Wipe, wipe, wipe. I found a spot that was resistant to my elbow grease. It was on the other side of the glass! Back to the outside I went. Eventually it passed my inspection.
The sliding glass door faces east, so the next morning the sun’s rays came shining through revealing all kinds of heretofore unnoticed streaks, smears, and smudges. Ugh!
Light has a way of doing that, exposing what had been hidden. Not surprising, then, that light is an important subject in the Bible. Jesus called Himself the light of the world. The Bible talks about those in darkness who have seen a great light. People who awaken spiritually are often said to have “seen the light.”
Those of us who have committed ourselves to being followers of Jesus, the Light of the world as He referred to Himself, find He has two opposite effects on us. On the one hand, He brightens up life, brings joy, and illuminates with insight and truth for us. On the other hand, like the light shining through the window, He exposes our imperfections, what the Bible calls sin; some of that insight and truth I just mentioned, particularly about ourselves, isn’t always pleasant to see. But it’s good that we see it!
Ironically, the more we grow in our relationship to our holy God the more we have a growing awareness that we’re not very holy ourselves! The Christian writer of more than a century ago, J. C. Ryle, wrote, “The most eminent saints of God in every age have always been the very last to lay claim to it [of being saints]! On the contrary, they have always had the deepest sense of their own utter unworthiness and imperfection. The more spiritual light they have enjoyed, they have seen their own countless defects and shortcomings.”
That may seem depressing, but it’s really not! Our growing awareness of how far we fall short allows us to have a growing experience of God’s grace and mercy! This in turn results in an authentic humility before God and around others; this is good!
Another benefit of exposure to the Ultimate Light is that we see where we need to still change to be more the person God has designed us to be! This too is good!
On that morning when I stood back and gazed at the sun-illuminated window, with all of its streaks, smears, and smudges, it got me to thinking about what I’ve just shared with you. I thought it would be good if you thought about it too, because it’s all good!
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12