My wife loves Christmas lights. So do my children. I do too – on other people’s houses. I’ve never adept at anything requiring manual skill and this includes hanging outdoor Christmas lights but I could not resist the desires of my precious 3 this year and when Amy confessed that it didn’t have to be accomplished masterfully I set out to get those suckers hung. What I learned is that if you can pack your shrubs with enough colored lights and throw in some that have a preset-blinking then it can come off as passable to your neighbors. We don’t have the best Christmas light layout in our neighborhood but we have the most lights and there is no doubt that folks driving by will see that we didn’t put out that display accidentally. The Lyles be a glowin’ up in Flowery Branch.
So I’m thinking about my own life and heart these days. Do we glow? Do we glow as we go? Do we know that we glow as we go? I’m not seeking to be silly here. I wonder how many of us have occupied ourselves with determining whether or not our lives send off radiance for Christ. What does it mean to glow for Jesus? Well, the action of glowing might well be described as an outward visibility of an inner burning. I think we are safe to assume that where there is a burning, there must be radiance. Spiritually speaking, the absence of one indicates the unreality of the other. Would we dare to think that we could be aflame but there be no resulting brightness? The Bible employs this type of imagery on numerous occasions to the conclusion that on-fire-saints are not only burning…but glowing also.
Jeremiah 20:9 – “…His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
Psalm 39:3 – “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue…”
2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
How many times I have declared the darkness of our day. One need not have a PhD to note that the days are dark and evil. We can rant about this (and I do) and call people unto doctrinal repentance. We can call sin by its particulars (and I do), warn the unruly, and remind of the judgment to come. Doing this is easy. As a matter of fact, a gifted parrot could be taught to mimic these words.
But you can’t teach a parrot to glow.
I’m thinking much lately about whether it might not be a good thing for me to explore the luminosity of my life. Truth is essential for each of us: Bible truth, doctrinal truth, objective truth…we must own this. Yet when one speaks about shining for Jesus we pause in a slight perplexity because we have now moved from the clear objectivity of truth to the vacillating subjectivity of experience. We can easily hide behind our doctrine, but if it is truly within us, there will be some light peeking out from where we are hiding. Regardless of all of that, the question remains: Are you glowing? I dare you to ask somebody if you have the glow. C’mon, I dare you. Ask someone that you know to be sending off their own shine and request of them to evaluate your current lumen count. Any hesitancy to do so might very well reveal your sneaking suspicion that your bulb has grown dim. What’s it going to hurt to ask? I guess the tougher part of all of this is to figure out how to glow if, indeed, we ascertain that we are not currently doing so. Let me help you with this.
How would a branch of a peach tree begin to produce peaches if it had not been planted first? How would a wife go about bringing forth a baby if she realized she was not yet expecting? How would a person teach wisdom upon a verse that he knew nothing about himself? No rocket science here: peach tree branches need to stay connected to the trunk which is nourished from the roots and that same branch will ultimately produce little fuzzy fruits filled with sweetness. The wife wanting a baby needs some personal time with her husband during which seed is implanted, conception is actualized, and life eventually brought forth for all to see. The person desiring to share scriptural truth must first be exposed to truth, internalize the truth, process the truth, and then bring forth the truth. You see the pattern, right? Nothing can be brought forth outwardly until it exists first inwardly.
Now then, do you glow? The issue is not one of making something happen outwardly to achieve full spiritually radioactive status. The issue is to take the time to look within and discern what resources you have available from which to eventually glow. The glow is the result, not the goal. If you make the manifestation of spirituality your goal, it will inevitably end in self effort which, in the end, results in self-glory. If you make the tapping of the root your goal, the pursuit of Christ your goal, the impregnation of the Spirit your goal, the devouring of the word your goal…then, my friend, you will not need to ask anyone, ‘Hey, do you happen to notice a glow about me?’
They’ll have to put on shades when you approach them.