Monthly Archives: October 2014

Introduction: Matthew 5:17-20

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  [Matthew 5:17-20 ESV]

We like to do. Constant activity is a characteristic of the modern Western Church which has activities and programs for everyone, every age, every disposition, every need and want. Then, to legitimize the activity, we throw in a little Bible study or a few verses and a devotional and are quite satisfied with our progress and tell everyone God is smiling on us and what we do. “It’s a God thing.”

We cannot read Jesus’ words and honestly believe doing is enough. Jesus expects us to be a citizen of His kingdom from the eternal core of who we are to the last ounce of concentrated, responsible effort.

Jesus demands those who are His act according to His expectations, while examining their motivation so they are in line with His. He has spent the last 16 verses giving His expectations, showing us what it means to be a citizen of His kingdom. He tells us how the world, which hates Him, will react to those who are His as they are changed into His likeness and image. His likeness is characterized by righteousness and truth and more, and He places us throughout the world as evidence of His person, His authority, His character, His grace.

In these verses, I believe we are seeing the foundation for what He has just stated and what He will state. Living for God is not meticulously following His written laws or demanding others do so. God gave the Law, the precepts found in the books written by Moses, for a specific reason. God’s reason was not to give those who are His the ability to justify themselves before Him by keeping the Law. They could never do this. Only one sin is needed to bring God’s wrath and label the person a criminal, one who violates the Law of God.

Is not the Law a teacher, a means used by God to show man his sin and convince all the sentence and punishment for sin is just?

Paul’s argument in Romans 7 is simple. God’s Law identified covetousness as sin while  revealing and exposing every covetous desire. God’s statement “you will not covet” was not a command to do something any are capable of doing, but a statement revealing man’s utter inability, our total depravity. Still, Paul’s argument does not discount the Law as a teacher.

Ultimately, those hidden in Christ, covered by His blood in death, are released from the sentence of death demanded by the Giver of the Law because of His resurrection.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the Law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the Law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. [Romans 7:4-6 ESV]

Paul continued to covet. Christ still saves. From the time Paul was redeemed God began changing him, building into him the characteristics he would carry for eternity. These characteristics conform to God’s character upon which the Mosaic Law is based.

A lawyer, one of those who knew the Law, asked Jesus a question to trap Him, to make Him slip and contradict Himself and the Law. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [Matthew 22:36 ESV]. Jesus, who is the Law, quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and then Leviticus 19:18, verses from the depths of the Law. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” [Matthew 22:37-39 ESV].  These two statements are not hidden. In Luke 10:29 the Lawyer tries to qualify his question.  For those in the world having such an answer allows them to keep the  letter of the Law without being held accountable to the substance of the Law. “And who is my neighbor?” the Lawyer asked. What do you think his intent was in asking this question?  Jesus proceeds to tell the parable of the good Samaritian.

Why did God give us the Law? Why did He reveal it to Israel and make it such an integral part of their culture? Why is the Law included in the canon of Scripture? God revealed the Law so those He loves would be driven to Him seeking His grace. Grace does not trump Law, doing away with it, or gutting it’s righteous requirements. Grace reveals the full extent to which God is willing to go to bring those He loves into His presence. It would seen the measure of our spiritual maturity is seen in the depth of love we have for both God and our neighbor.

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. [Matthew 22:40 ESV]

Conclusion: Salt and Light

Jesus calls those who are His “salt” and “light.” He has placed those who are His strategically throughout the corrupted world, sprinkling them everywhere, placing them so they cannot be ignored.

Jesus uses analogies because story and illustration are the most effective way for us to understand what He is teaching. Yet, both story and illustration may be heard incorrectly and used erroneously. It is important to have an intimate relationship with Him to completely understand what is being taught. Those who are His strive for intimacy with Him. All, even though fallen and corrupted by sin are shown indisputable evidence of God’s grace and the demands of His will. His grace is known through the righteous acts of Jesus and those who are His. His truth, the truth of who He is and what He has done, is also seen in Jesus and those who belong to Him.

God does not redeem all who are in the world. He has separated those who are His from those who are not His. This does not mean the righteous blood of His son does not cover all, cannot be applied to all as the redemption price. Those who reject Him lose His righteous covering just as salt filled with impurities will leech away leaving only the impurities. Those covered, who embrace His righteousness, making it their own, gain even more righteousness, if that is possible, as they abandon themselves to His purpose.

Parables, analogies and stories are never perfect but Jesus uses them to teach and convict and direct. “You are the salt of the earth” is followed by the warning “but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” [Matthew 5:13 ESV].Those who reject Him are soon left worthless and are in turn rejected by Him. But those who are His, or say they are His, are still susceptible to the tugs and pulls of the world and in danger of becoming worthless for God’s purpose in the world. Our purpose is to be His righteousness in an unrighteous world, surrounded by people who hate God.

None who are His will ever become not His. Many who are not His can become His as they see Him through the citizens of His Kingdom acting like citizens of His kingdom.

God is preparing us for eternity by making us righteous and demanding we act righteous even when surrounded by extreme unrighteousness. This world is our training ground. Be trained.

Jesus also calls those who are His the “light of the world.” There is no warning attached to this analogous statement. There is an explanation of His purpose in shining His light, which is also our light, throughout the world.

A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [Matthew 5:14-16 ESV]

In John 1 Jesus is called the “light of the world.”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [John 1:1-5 ESV]

He has identified us, those who are His, with Himself. God’s light reveals truth in an indisputable way rebuking sin. Those who hate darkness are drawn to light. Those who hate light are repelled by it and driven back into darkness. God places us throughout the world as His witnesses to the truth. He is training us in shining His truth.

His Spirit, given to teach us all truth will inspire us toward truth as we submit ourselves to Him and allow His truth to purge all untruth from the thinking of our hearts. Our purpose in being His witness is simple in word, impossible for us in deed without the strength of His Spirit. We are to reveal truth to a world which desires to control God’s truth and replace it with a lie. This takes disciplined thinking and a heart fully abandoned to God. Only an intimate relationship with Jesus, which is what He demands, will give the necessary fuel for our lights to shine and glorify Him.

In all of this God places us, sprinkles us throughout a word and sets us up to be seen by people who will hate us and persecute us. Those who suffer for righteousness’ sake are fulfilling their purpose of being salt and light.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [Matthew 5:13-16 ESV]

Peter and Stephen

Those who have the pure salt of righteousness and shine God’s truth through their persons in a world darkened by sin will naturally face persecution. Creatures of darkness cannot abide the light for they fear exposure and run away from anything touched by light. But the light of truth cannot be hidden any more than it can be extinguished, especially when the source of light is God Himself, who is truth. Nor will the salt of righteousness lose its saltiness from those abandoned to God simply because of the hatred of the world.

Stephen was a Grecian Jew probably born outside of Judea or Galilee. He was one of the Diaspora, in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover or Pentecost and staying when he heard either Jesus teach or one of the Apostles, Peter maybe, or John. This is all speculation. We know little about Stephen other than his name, that he was chosen with six others to help serve the growing church, and that he was a godly man filled with the Holy Spirit. We also know he had a good grasp of Israel’s history and was unafraid of the Jewish leadership. We know he was persecuted and murdered because of his stance for Jesus and the gospel. We know he was falsely accused and offered a defense using his accusers own history. His story is in Acts 7.

Israel’s history condemns them for it is their history which God used to point to His Son. Using normal sinful thinking these Jews pluck out the good things from their history ignoring the sinful behavior of their ancestors. Jesus, Peter, and Stephen would not allow them this luxury. They, just like their fathers, were prone to idolatry.

Peter, an untrained teacher, also used Israel’s history to point to Jesus, His death and resurrection. None of those who confronted Peter could disprove his words. They could not produce Jesus’ body. Nor could they stand against Peter’s words before the people. Many entered God’s kingdom because of Peter’s words and miracles.

Steven did the same thing. “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you’” [Acts 7:2-3, ESV].

Peter used the words of Moses to prick the consciences of his hearers, words they knew well.

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.  And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness. [Acts 3:22 ESV]

Stephen used the same illustration from Scripture. “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us” [Acts 7:37-38, ESV].

Peter brought his teaching to the place where he accused the Jews of killing God’s Righteous One. Stephen did the same. Peter saw thousands come to God through the gospel and felt the lashes of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing in his sharing in the suffering of Christ. Some came into the kingdom from Stephen’s teaching while he lived. He felt the stones of their hatred toward God while asking God to forgive them. How many has God made righteous through the light of Stephen?  We do not know. It does not matter to us. What matters is we, too, are willing to shine light in a world dedicated to darkness and hatred for God.

Those who hate God think they can extinguish a person’ s light and nullify their righteousness through persecution and intimidation or by killing them. Jesus was raised from the dead. The hatred of the world is evidence of the citizen of the kingdom of heaven’s righteous standing before God.

But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:19-20, ESV]

Stories in Daniel

No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. [Daniel 2:27-28 ESV]

Every story in Daniel is a direct and bold confrontation of sin and of worldviews which either marginalize God or show out-and-out hatred for Him. In the middle of a kingdom devoted to idolatry God placed four men devoted to Him. Each was fully convinced of God’s justice and righteousness, of His holiness and eternity. Their decisions in the face of suffering for righteousness’ sake was to do only God’s will regardless of the immediate danger.

From the beginning of their story they refused to defile themselves with the food of the world. For most this means nothing. But, these were young men from noble families, “youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace” [Daniel 1:4 ESV]. All were taken captive from Judah, made eunuchs, and then trained in the culture, the mores and folkways of Babylon, to advise the king. Instead of lamenting their loss they determined to remain true to the calling of God. They learned and excelled and applied themselves to their temporary duties while remaining focused upon God. By placing God first they were recognized as leaders, lights of wisdom in a dark, devious culture.

What are the stories in Daniel? Besides not eating the food, probably unclean food to them, they refused to worship the false idols representing their king. For three, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, this refusal to worship the golden idol of Nebuchadnezzar incurred his violent wrath. Nebuchadnezzar did not know God, and treated Him like all the other gods of his life. But God is not a figment of imagination, nor a mist or pall of smoke easily blown away. He lifts up those He wishes and brings low those He wishes to bring low. He lifted up Nebuchadnezzar and startled him with His power and grace. No one dies until God determines their time to die, even when thrown into a fire hot enough to kill any who come close. The guards who died obeyed their king even though it cost them their lives. They worshipped him, or were afraid of him, willing to give everything for him. Though sentenced to death those who obeyed God, having devoted their lives to Him, lived. It does not matter whether the world uses fire or lions, those who worship God will live with Him though they die in the world. Their light shows Him to the world.

Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. [Daniel 3:28, ESV]

Daniel was given by God the ability to interpret dreams. Dreams were, and still are, seen as a means for the supernatural (or the buried psyche) to speak to the natural. Great bodies of literature and teachings of cultures focus upon dreams and their meanings. Nebuchadnezzar, and later Darius, and other idolatrous leaders drew around themselves those who purported to interpret dreams. But Nebuchadnezzar was different, even insane. He had a dream and demanded his sorcerers tell him the dream and then its interpretation. He was a shrewd, mad man, looking for any excuse to exert his “unlimited” power over the lives of his subjects. He enjoyed murdering people and ordered all the “wise” men murdered because they could not do the impossible.

Daniel’s God is the God of impossible solutions. He not only revealed to Daniel the dream He had given Nebuchadnezzar but gave Daniel its meaning. God’s light of truth shown through a man, totally devoted to God, in a way the godless idolater could not deny. Nebuchadnezzar had no excuse for denying God or placing himself equal to Him. But he did deny God, and he did make himself equal and even greater than God, and lost his mind for seven years. Nebuchadnezzar did not put all he learned about God together correctly until the end of his life.

Speaking to Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, on his last night alive, Daniel proclaimed God’s judgment, the light of God’s truth, against the man. Read Daniel 5:18-23.

God placed these men where He wanted them, so they could focus the light of their lives, God’s light of truth, on the darkness of the world. This is undeniably true for all Christians.

A Small Point of Light

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  [1 Corinthians 1:25-29 ESV]

When Kyle West was a freshman at Patrick Henry College he was followed around by a camera crew capturing his first few days at college.  Previously, when he was seven, he was interviewed by James Dobson.  Dr. Dobson asked him if he thought God had a purpose for his life.

“I know He has a purpose for my life, but I don’t think it could be anything too important. What would God do with a boy with cerebral palsy? There are billions of other kids out there, why would he want to use me?” http://www.phc.edu/20110210_kylewest.php

When Kyle was 13 he was interviewed by Del Tackett with excerpts of his comments sprinkled throughout the video series The Truth Project. Now, as a young man he is preparing himself to meet the challenges of a godless world in a way which glorifies God and gives himself enjoyment.

This young man, whether he realizes it or not, exemplifies the truth of allowing God’s light, with his own light, to shine through unhindered. One of the things he does, especially within The Truth Project, is honestly state God’s truth to the questions posed.  Others, from atheists to heretics who espouse deeply held sinful beliefs, state exactly what the world believes and teaches.  It took a 13 year old captured by God to put them in their places.

Peter tells us to “do good” and by so doing we will “silence the ignorant talk of foolish men” [1 Peter 2:15 ESV]. Light exposes the lies hidden in darkness demanding those lies look honestly at what they propound.  Truth, even if not accepted, will always expose the lie for what it is.

Foolish beliefs are deeply held, ingrained, part of the warp and woof of the person’s essential world-view.  It is impossible for any person to think themselves out of what they believe. These beliefs are held in place more by emotion than intellect.  Emotional attachments are hard to break. They control our actions more than our reasoning.  Emotions permeated by sin manufactures excuses to do what is known as wrong by putting the blame on anything other than self. Perhaps this is why God demands people relinquish control of their emotional attachments to family and things. People would rather go to hell with their family than go to heaven with their God.

Our light cannot work alone and was never meant to stand by itself. Even the weakest person, the stutterer, the shy and withdraw, the socially inept, the physically weak and compromised, when controlled and directed by the power of the Holy Spirit, is unstoppable. It is His light combined with our light. While this may happen through children, especially those nurtured by God within godly families, and while Jesus tells us we must become like children to see the kingdom of heaven, it is the desire and determination of each who seeks God He uses. There is nothing magical in a relationship with God. It is in relationship the greatest light shines and only in relationship with God will truth defeat the lie. We are citizens of a kingdom. His kingdom, not our own.

It is the purpose of the citizen of the kingdom of heaven to bear witness for God in this world. While we bear witness He prepares us for eternity. How the world reacts to us, to the truth of our lives, should not have any bearing on our actions. Too often, how the world views us and how we want to be viewed by the world will have great influence. Should we consider the attitudes of the world toward us of importance we weaken our light and the life of truth God is working in us. We cannot weaken God anymore than the world can weaken God. But, we can lessen the intensity of our light. How sad this is. Our lives now matter for eternity.

Children of Light

“The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. [John 12:35-36 ESV]

Let me be clear. When I read the word “light” used to describe God, Jesus and His work I think the word “truth.” When I read “darkness” used to describe the world, man and the work of men, I think the words “sin” and “lie.” By the very natures of truth and the lie or whatever is not truth, the two cannot mix. They must be separated.

Buddhist yin and yang believe the concept of a little truth in every lie, a little lie in every truth, a little darkness in light and a little light in darkness. This teaching cannot stand up to honest, spiritual scrutiny, but easily withstands the most thoughtful inquiry of any sinful person. It accurately describes how sin has corrupted all things, even those considered most pure. By extension, this thinking believes God is also corrupted. Even His pure light has a little speck of darkness. What we see in the world, down to the integrate philosophies and ancient religions of man, has no solid righteous foundation for eternal thinking and temporary decisions. Truth and honesty demand we transcend the thinking of the world in which we live. We cannot determine our own direction in our own strength and power.

After entering Jerusalem that last week some Gentiles ask to see Jesus. We are never told He sees them, or encourages them to come to Him. Seeing beyond the immediate future, transcending the coming history, Jesus acknowledges His death, burial and resurrection as a reality. He also forcefully states all men, even the religiously and traditionally excluded Gentiles, would be irresistibly drawn to Him. His reason for coming, to proclaim the truth, cannot be stopped even by the darkest grave. “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world –to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” [John 18:37 ESV]. Darkness cannot hold Him.

As He talks with the people about what is about to happen Jesus says something curious, even disturbing, though all His words are disturbing to the world. He tells those within hearing, especially His disciples, to walk in the light while they can. For a time is coming when they will be surrounded by darkness. Jesus commands they walk in such a way darkness cannot overtake them. For those who walk in darkness will stumble, continue to sin. Those who walk in darkness, who continue to live according to a lie, want nothing to do with light, refusing to accept truth. Living in darkness is easy. It takes no thought, causes no challenge, promises ease and pleasure and fulfillment. Promises based upon a lie deliver false, empty hope. In the end the life built upon a lie is swallowed by the lie and lost in darkness.

But what of those who pursue truth, who live in light, whose actions and attitudes and decisions come from truth? They gather up truth like one gathers wealth, or food, or anything precious in their sight and thought. They become children of light, with God’s light coming from them as much as it comes through them from the Lord.

Children are those descendent from a father and mother, who carry the DNA of the family. These children are raised and disciplined and taught to carry on the work of the family from generation to generation. They enjoy the love of their parents because they are identified with them, doing what they do, thinking as they think, emulating and copying them. Yet, all children rebel in some way against their parents just as we rebel against God. God does not disown those who are His when they rebel. He disciplines and teaches them, building into them even more light and truth. Where the temporal family fails the eternal God succeeds for where there is light there can be no darkness.

Light means truth as well as purity, and the spiritual knowledge and understanding of all truth. Those Jesus declares sons of light are those who have been taught, disciplined, raised and formed into the likeness of Jesus, who not only withstand darkness but overcome it instead of it overcoming them.

After saying these things to them (read John 12:20 to end) Jesus hides himself.  Everything He does is meant to draw people to Himself. Why then would He hide? Following Jesus means seeking Him with all of your heart and all of your strength and energy. He is hidden only from those who do not wish to find Him.

Broken Made Whole

No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light. [Luke 11:33-36 ESV]

God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, perfect, with the ability to grow and learn and create. They were created in His image, with the light of His being shining from them, not just through them. His light not just a reflection. They, themselves, were the source of illumination. Yet, the light was God’s light as much as it was their own. Their light was more than a mirror or a fire or a lamp. Imagine a mirror which does more than reflect, God’s a glass from which light comes as naturally as from the sun.  When you saw them you saw God but you still knew them as individuals.

Sin attacked and tried to extinguish the light by destroying them. Sin broke their mirror, the glass of which they are made, shattering them, splintering them and scattering them across the ground. Still, each shard continued to glow with the light of its essence for each shard contained the image of God, which cannot be destroyed. But the scattered pieces were useless and now dangerous. Each piece, sharp and deadly, could cause injury. A careless footfall and there was a cut or puncture, or they become a  weapon, using the sharp, ragged edges of the incomplete glass to cause serious injury or even death.

Children know intuitively how to sin and hurt each other. They have to be taught more sophisticated ways to sin. Small children also instinctively know God and have to be taught to believe lies about Him. God’s light shines brilliantly through the pieces of a child. Slowly, over time, each of the pieces will begin to lose their luminescence until finally they are darkened and even more lethal.

Such is the state of fallen man. Created to have a relationship with God and others, the broken person instead tries to destroy God by injuring and maiming others. There is in each enough of God’s light and image recognizable to be used against Him. God created the whole person, not pieces. It is the whole person who accurately shows God in their person. Pieces show broken and incomplete bits of God from the world’s perspective and the world, looking at God through the eyes of sin, cannot see God correctly, misinterpreting Him, making Him into something in their minds and hearts He is not.

God does not reassemble a broken mirror or glass. He recreates it. So God does not take the person shattered and deadly, marching onward to death, and patch them, or reassemble them. He sweeps them away and recreates them whole so their light, His light, will begin to shine, and grow in strength and intensity throughout life. He adds to the image the likeness of His Son, whose Body was wounded and murdered by the shards of all.

Once God recreates us He leaves us, His new lights in the world, to draw those in the world toward Him. But Jesus gives us a curious saying, suggesting light in one who says they are God’s and are not, can be darkness. It is the same point He made with salt losing its saltiness. God’s light is there but if there is no relationship then even His light in the person is slowly extinguished until there is only darkness. God recreates the person whole and grows the whole person, reigniting His light, their light, in them.

His intent is obvious from the words of Jesus. It is their light but their light points to God. He does not leave those who are His in the world so they may attract people to themselves but to Him. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” [Matthew 5:16 ESV]. Where the light attracts to self it soon becomes darkness, a shard of dead glass capable of destroying.

Are those around us attracted to God because of who we are?  Are we allowing God to form us into the image of His Son, or are we angry with Him because of our circumstances and refuse to submit? For those who are His He will not stop until He has finished His work. Perhaps we cannot see our own light and need to listen to those around to discover what God is doing in us. How tenuous and sure is our place before God in this world.