Monday, October 15, 2007

Glow in the Dark Christians

Like many families I'm sure, we have our share of glow-in-the-dark products in our house. The girls have GITD stars all over their ceiling, Samuel has a GITD Spiderman t-shirt, and over the years we've had a steady stream of various other GITD toys & doodads. Just last month Jordan received a "mad scientist" type of craft kit that came with GITD cups and spoons and such. I often find her mad scientist accessories in the upstairs bathroom at night, and that's where they were last night.

do you glow too?For those of you who may have forgotten how GITD toys work, allow me to remind you. Whatever the substance is inside of them that enables them to do this, they glow brighter and stronger in the darkness, the closer you hold it to a source of light.

The light in the girl's room isn't very bright, so when its turned off, the stars on the ceiling are noticable but only after your eyes adjust to the darkness. Once when the power went out I was goofing off in their room with the high powered flashlight and shining it directly on the stars, then turning the flashlight off. It was nothing short of amazing how those stars lit up the entire room. That was when the girls practically demanded I go out and purchase a floor lamp for their room, that shines upward. One of these days, that is exactly what they're going to get. When I finish Samuel's room, it will also have stars on the ceiling and he'll also have an uplight for his room.

In any case, no, this post is not about toys at all. As a person surrounded by them however, sometimes I find it incredibly ironic how there might be a spiritual parallel to be noticed from a simple thing like a GITD toy. When I noticed Jordan's mad scientist accessories in the bathroom last night, I couldn't help but think "isn't this what Christianity is supposed to be like?"

Just like the toys, when exposed to the Light we take on His light. The longer we're exposed to His light, the more we're supposed to be reflecting that light back into the darkness around us. The stronger the exposure, the stronger the reflection.

When I first became a Christian in 1994, there was a pop Christian song called Shine (I forget who sang it, you can google it I'm sure), and the chorus was based on this passage:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

I wasn't big on the song itself, but I thought the message within it was pretty good.

As Christians, we're supposed to be a light to those in darkness. Likewise, we're to be a bright light to those among the household of faith that are maybe new to the faith, weak in faith, or struggling along through some kind of trial. It would be really easy right this minute to start naming names and expressing my disappointment with certain professing believers (some you'd recognize, others you wouldn't), in that their light looks more like a flickering bulb about to go out. As their light flickers and sputters they look, act and speak more and more like the world, and less and less like Him. It would be easy to point fingers at those that are like this, and express my disheartened feelings about that.

What's not so easy and whats far more important, is to take an honest look at my own light and do the daily assessment. Is it bright? Always reflecting Him, His ways, His word, His grace, His patience? That's just the short list, and it's a most convicting one already. I already know that I fall very very short in many of those areas on the short list. I know I'm terribly impatient and not always the vessel of grace I long to be with those around me. I don't always have an encouraging word that will edify. So while its sure easy to see flickering bulbs around me, the real question is for myself and how my own light is doing.

It is my hearts deepest to desire to be exposed to the Light that is Christ, and be held closer to Him, for longer periods of time, so that when darkness is around me, I shine brightly with His light.