If We Want To Be Radiant, We Must First Be Filled With Light
Jesus had a habit of taking what the people thought was right and flipping it all around and turning it inside out (or, rather, right-side-up) — and His words still do it today. His way and His Kingdom often seem counterintuitive to the natural order we set up if left to ourselves.
We like to talk about the Pharisees with such distance, but I have to ask myself how often I operate like them in my flesh. Jesus called them out, and I know I have to pay attention, too, when He says that they are careful about cleaning up the outside, cleaning up what people can see. I’d bet that we can all identify at some point or another with this practice. We take pains to straighten up the visible areas of our lives, sometimes even with the hope that it will change us or release us on the inside. It feels like the right work, but it’s exhausting, too.
But what if, for a moment, we threw perception to the wind — both self-perception and that of others? What if, instead, we put our full focus on Jesus, allowing Him to pour His light into the shadows and the corners and the closets and the shame and the areas we didn’t even know were dark? What if we trusted that His radiance was going to emanate as He worked inside of us instead of scrubbing and fixing and readjusting whatever is visible on the outside?
If we want to be radiant, we must first be filled with light.
If we want to be filled with light, we must turn our eyes toward Jesus.
And that’s a work. It’s a practice. It’s intimidating. It’s a choice not to look toward other things, literally and figuratively. We must turn our physical eyes from the things of this world that bring us darkness. And we can’t focus on the way we are perceived, or we’ll end up scrubbing our fingers to the bone. Jesus must be our first and our biggest focus.
As the light of Jesus seeps in and brings all things to light, there is freedom. He doesn’t expose us and leave us in a puddle of shame. Instead, He offers us victory over the darkness and the ability to walk out of it. He gave his life for that freedom and that victory. And when Jesus enters the dark corners and brings the light, He doesn’t change — He is still full of love, never wavering. And He is still completely righteous, equipping us to move out and away from the darkness. We can trust Him enough to deal with the darkness in the best way and to produce the results that are really needed. We can trust that when we take our focus off of other things and fix it on Him, He will be faithful to do a good and freeing work inside of us — and then on the outside, too, it’ll be natural. It’ll radiate without the effort of the washing and the scrubbing and the self-adjusting.
We can trust the light of Jesus. We must, for it is the way we get set free and the way we help others see.
Think it over:
What do you need to look away from so that you can focus on Jesus?