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A Lantern Clear and Ready

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine—how often have I sung those words in Sunday School over the years? Almost every day, I ask the Lord to help me shine for him . . . leave it to Satan to take something so pure and twist it into a stumblingblock.

Maybe you've experienced it yourself: the unrelenting pressure, that nagging stress that I need to shine today, and if I screw up or say one wrong word or allow my face to take on a single ungodly expression, I have failed. My light has gone out. I have led someone astray. Christ tells us to let our lights so shine that others will see our good works and glorify him—which means we are singly responsible for trimming, kindling, fanning, feeding, and maintaining our flame from now until the end, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


This morning the sunrise was blazing across my backyard and glinting in one of the lanterns we have on our property. When seen at just the right angle, the lantern glowed so brightly it looked as if it were on when, in reality, it was the sunlight shining through it that I saw.

That's when it hit me.

We do not have sufficient righteousness within us to be solely responsible for our lights. What righteousness we have is like filthy rags, the bible tells us; we are human, we're weak, we tire easily, we're inconsistent, and what kind of light would those qualities make alone? But as Christians, we have something else in us, someone else, the true source of light: Jesus Christ. The Light of the World lives in us, and it is his light the world will see if we let him shine through us like the sun through a lantern.

We are not singly responsible for building the flame—that light comes from Christ. We are responsible for making sure that we are clean and trimmed and willing, that nothing in us, no stains or smears of self, will obstruct the rays of his glory, that we are a lantern clear and ready to beam the love of Christ that shines through us.

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