"You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)
My grandmother was known for giving us quirky presents in our Christmas stockings and Easter baskets. As a teenager I received everything from electrical tape to multi-colored pens to balsa wood airplanes. One item I received on a number of occasions was a flashlight that requires you to squeeze the handle in and out to generate the energy which in turn powers the light. Hope you don’t need the light for long because most of us don’t have great endurance for that motion!
Lately, I’ve realized that when it comes to these verses in Matthew 5, I am treating the “light” like the flashlight my grandmother gave me. I keep squeezing the handle to produce the light that is shining for all to see; but eventually I realize I don’t have the strength and energy to keep going.
I’ve been in this place so many times, and over the years I’ve begun to learn that when I get to that depleted state, I need to reevaluate my routines and rhythms to see if I am truly plugging into the source of light instead of trying to work to produce the light. Am I longing for time with Jesus? Are my spiritual routines helping me to draw near to Him or have they become a task to check off? Am I resisting something that God is asking me to do or to stop doing? … These types of questions help me to make a plan for changing some habits so that I can live intentionally being filled with His light.
It’s one of those lessons that I wish I could learn once and for all, but I’m thankful that I’m learning to recognize more quickly when I need this reevaluation process. I’m praying that we all find and maintain the routines that help us to remain plugged into the source of light in our lives.
Warmly in Christ, Joy McAuley
"But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT)
Where do you feel like you are right now—striving to produce the light but getting worn out, or are you drawing on the source of light?
Is your way of life helping you to grow deep roots that give you life and fruit? What changes need to be made?
*If you are looking for a way to let your “roots grow down deep into the water,” consider developing a rule of life. A rule of life is a personal plan for how you can more intentionally move toward growing in Christlikeness and awareness of God’s presence in your life. This isn’t a list of self-improvements or New Years’ resolutions, but a plan prayerfully crafted between you and God keeping in mind your gifts, responsibilities, passions, personality—and each rule of life looks different. Click here and/or here for some helpful links.