As we worked on our spare bedroom, we spackled, sanded, and painted extensively. The walls were in desperate need of a little “loving.” It appeared that the previous owners had torn wallpaper from them with little success—and then painted over the mess. At some point after our first coat of paint, my husband decided to shed a little light on the matter--literally. Since the room had no natural lighting and only one small ceiling light, he brought his spotlight upstairs.
Well, it definitely worked. When we turned the light on the walls, we were unpleasantly surprised--again. Not only had our own patch jobs made little difference, we had actually missed quite a few places all together. In addition, we quickly discovered that despite the awesomeness of our painter’s tape, there were several places along the baseboards and trim that needed to be touched up. Then, we spotted areas where the paint wasn't as thick and would need another coat. Unfortunately, I had run out of pads for my edging tool and had "cut in" the top part of the walls by hand. Now, I could see all the gray spots along the ceiling line I had left behind.
It was amazing what we could see that we hadn't noticed before. It was also incredibly frustrating.
One day, after working on trim work for what seemed like the hundredth time, I looked at that light and began to wonder why in the world we ever brought it upstairs. It was all the stupid light's fault, you know. If it weren't for the light I wouldn't have needed to edge the wall--again. I wouldn't have had to touch up trim--again. We wouldn't have to paint the ceiling when we weren't planning to do that in the first place. It was all the light. The light made all the flaws so visible.
Of course, the bad places had always been there, but with the light shining on them, they were simply harder to ignore. Curse that light!
As I grumbled my way through another hour of painting, I began reflecting on light.
God's Word is full of references to it. God's Word is described as a "a lamp for my feet, a light for my path" (Psalm 119:105). Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). And Christians are encouraged to let their light shine (Mathew 5:18).
Just like the light exposed the flaws in our paint job, God's Word exposes the failures of my own life. John 3:19-21 (NLT) says, "...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 for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants."
It occurred to me, of course, that the light in our room was simply doing it's job. It is supposed to illuminate, but I got angry because I didn't like what I was seeing. How often do I act that way with God? Instead of being thankful for God's Word and the presence of His Holy Spirit in me, do I sometimes actually curse the Light? Do I avoid reading my Bible or ignore Sunday's sermon because I don't like what I see?
My friend recently encountered an atheist who was particularly vehement against God, the Bible, the church and basically anything "Christian." She told me that, interestingly enough, this person had grown up in the church, had at some point in time made a profession of faith and been baptized, but had, in adulthood, turned from faith. Literally, this person cursed the Light. Why?
I don't know for sure, but I wonder. Maybe he too didn't like what the Light exposed. Maybe it's easier to come up with academic debates and arguments than it is to see the transgressions that are glaringly unmasked in the Light of Truth?
The Light of Christ always exposes darkness. It can be a painful thing. But, as a follower of Christ, I have to remember that just like my husband and I wanted to improve this room, God simply wants to give us the best, most God-glorifying lives, possible. He exposes my sins in order to help make me more like Him. He wants me to be aware of areas where there is work to be done--not so I can try to fix it on my own--but so that I will let Him work on me more.
But just like the atheist, I can protest. Just like I had the choice to turn off the light and ignore what I had seen when working on my painting project, I have a choice to ignore what God is pointing out to me. After all, sometimes dimming the light can make things look a little better--especially to a world that isn't looking all that closely. If I want to live in darkness, I can.
But what good will that do really? Even if no one else sees, I still know all the pot marks and dents and stains that are there, and with the Light off, there's nothing that can be done to correct them. I didn’t want to do that with my painting project, and I really don't want to live like that either.
As hard as it may be, I am going to keep the Light on in my life. I want to see myself for what I am, and pray that God will do the necessary work to make me a little more beautiful, a little more like Him, everyday.
"For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!"--Ephesians 5:8
This is a reprisal of a previous post.