In the third verse of the Bible God said, “Let there be light.” In the 27th verse, God created mankind, and ever since we’ve been turning the light away from God and onto ourselves.
Well, I have, anyway. This morning was no different. Brian and I had a disagreement, I let my anger explode, said things I shouldn’t have, put on my walking shoes and headed out the door.
Hmmm, what light was shining then? Well, let’s just say I had a choice; I could let the light of Christ shine through me…
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16NIV
I chose “not”. I chose instead to grab hold of the spotlight of self-focus, shine it fully on me and my anger and went for a walk. It was all about me! It wasn’t far into my walk that Brian texted an apology. I didn’t want to give up the spotlight, so I texted back a harsh response.
I expected that God would indulge my being in the spotlight for a while, but as I walked, cried, pouted, complained, and whined to God, the spotlight started to shift away from my self-justifying thoughts and onto God.
God reminded me that it really didn’t matter what Brian and I were arguing about, what mattered was why we were arguing at all. Why was I fighting with Brian? Why does anyone fight? The bottom line is quite simple.
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.” – James 4:1-2 NIV
“You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?”—1 Corinthians 3:3 NLT
What did I want? I wanted to win. I wanted my own way. I wanted to be the one submitted to. I wanted to be number one. I wanted the spotlight. And so I got it. But it wasn’t what I really wanted.
It didn’t take long until I felt like Emmett Kelly trying to sweep away a spotlight. The spotlight was on me and I wanted it gone. Emmet eventually removed the spotlight by sweeping it under the rug. I knew that the only way I could remove the spotlight was by turning it onto Jesus. The only way to do that was to confess my anger to Brian and Jesus, ask forgiveness from both, and let Jesus cleanse me. I did. The spotlight, for now, is back on Christ.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
In every interaction we have the choice of letting the light of Jesus shine through us, or we can usurp the moment and pull the spotlight right onto ourselves. God’s light cannot shine through us if we are demanding a spotlight on us. It must be one or the other.
Which light do you most often bring with you into life’s situations?
When a friend disagrees with you?
When a friend has a victory?
When a friend’s circumstances change for the good?
When a friend mourns?
Are you waging war with someone – perhaps even a silent war? Is it because you want what you don’t have? Is it because you are jealous of what they have? Are you allowing your sinful nature to control you? Is the war, or getting your way, or having the focus on you worth hiding the light of Jesus and forfeiting the possibility that someone might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven?