Friday, April 3, 2009

#35 Inside Out

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach my children about how a light bulb works. It seems that bulbs always burn out when you are out of extras doesn’t it? Anyway, I began to draw out a sketch of what the inside of a light bulb looks like. The bulb we had that was burned out was white so you could not see inside it very well at all. So I drew it out for them. I told them that there is a wire that runs from the very bottom of the bulb where it screws into the light socket and that wire goes up inside the bulb. After it gets up to a certain point the wire ends. Then another wire begins just a short way away from the other wire. In between the ends of those two wires is connected another piece of wire called the filament. The filament is a smaller gauge of wire typically made of tungsten in an incandescent bulb. When the electricity is sent through the wire and across the filament the filament heats up and begins to glow.

Tungsten is used because it has an abnormally high melting temperature (6165°F). Since it does not easily melt it is ideal for being used as a filament. A light bulb ceases to work when the filament is broken or shaken into or somehow comes loose from the connecting wires. Often times you cannot see that the filament is broken because the inside of the glass is painted. That is why we all shake a bulb to listen for the broken filament flopping around inside.

I have learned that Christians are a lot like light bulbs. They are wired by their Creator to shine the light of the gospel everywhere they go. In this crude analogy, Jesus is the filament of a Christian’s life. No, Jesus is not made of Tungsten, but it is only when Jesus is in the heart of a believer that they are truly connected to source of power in this universe. When we are connected to the power source of the universe—our heavenly Father—there will be a light that shines through us that will draw all people to Christ. The difficult part is that, just like the colored bulbs, you cannot see inside a fellow believer to see if they are connected. You have to look at external indicators to see what is going on.

The problem with that is that some people are very good at playing like they are Christians and not very good at living surrendered lives for Christ. Some get so good at playing “the game” of Christianity that they miss out on experiencing the fruits of the Spirit that truly bless us. Please understand friends that I do not think we should be judgmental and go around trying classify people as to whether or not they are committed Christians. Sure you will be able to tell with some folks, but the reason I want us to consider this today is because we need to be constantly evaluating ourselves.

We need to live a life of reflection and evaluation so as to know whether or not we are living connected to Jesus. And it does not take a lot of time to know whether or not you are living for Christ. Each of you reading this knows right now if you belong to Jesus or not. Each of you knows if you are truly living for Jesus or if you are simply playing a game that has a form of godliness and denying the power thereof. I want to encourage each of you to make sure that you are serious about your relationship with Jesus.

Truly I am not the judge of mankind, but I believe the Bible when it tells me that we should let our lights shine before men. What does it mean to let your light shine before men? It means that we have to have a relationship with Jesus that moves us to tell the world about Him. If you have a flashlight and walk into a dark room everyone who is in the room will be able to see because of the light you bring. How much more will the world be able to see the love of Christ if His followers allow the Holy Spirit to live in and work through them? How much brighter would the world be if everyone who professes Jesus lived daily to serve Him?

My challenge to you all this evening is that you think about how brightly your light has been shining for Jesus. Have you been living up to what you know is right or have you been playing a game trying to fool the world around you while all the while your filament has been broken. The great thing about Jesus is that He never wears out or breaks. He is the only One we can count on to always be there for us. He promised us in Matthew 28:20 that He will be with us always even unto the end of the age. Jesus is in heaven right now ministering on our behalf before the Father.

So how does he remain with us? Through the Holy Spirit. He promised us in John 14:16 that He would send us the Comforter. I praise the Lord that we have the Comforter. I praise Him that we can always count on having the Spirit of God within us to lead us and equip us for His service. I pray that each of you will let the Holy Spirit come in that He might shine in you from the inside out.

Dear Father,

I thank You this just now that You love us more abundantly than we can imagine. I thank You that we have the Holy Spirit available to us right now in this instant. You are not slack concerning Your promises and if we live a surrendered life before You then You will fill us with the love of Christ to the point that we can illuminate the darkened places of this world with that love. Please forgive us for the times that we have not been truly faithful but have only pretended to be so. Please forgive us and consecrate us for Your service. Please let Your Spirit shine through us from the inside out. We pray this in Jesus’ wonderful and holy name, Amen.

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