Jesus said of disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Mt. 5:14a). That’s pretty amazing to contemplate. And lately, I have.
We are the light of the world. It’s not difficult for me to take that and go to a place of pride with it. In fact, most of the times I’ve heard that declaration in the church, it was spoken with pride. There was an air of superiority in the speakers, as if the process of sanctification was for the purpose of superiority.
Though this is only my story, I don’t think that I’m alone in associating superiority with the Light. I think that a great many people believe that the Light, and the process of sanctification itself, is about becoming superior. But I have found it to be something completely different.
The Light shines relentlessly, exposing the darkness wherever it lies. It humiliates pride in every form; it absolutely does NOT establish it. The Light doesn’t burnish pride – it mortifies it. But the intention isn’t to mock or hurt or scorn or isolate or shame us. No, the Light paves the way for humility. It comes to heal and make whole.
We are indeed the light of the world, but the more Light that shines in my life, the LESS superior I feel—and the less inferior I feel. I find that I am increasingly less resistant to the truth that I am no better and no worse than any other human being. In fact, the brighter the Light shines, the more unity I experience in Body life, because there isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t had the Light shine down and expose us, humiliating our pride. The Light comes to sanctify us unto God. It hallows us all.
Humility is the result of receiving the Light. Far from feeling superior (or inferior), I find it ever easier to accept what it means to be human and in need of sanctification. The Light is bringing me to an acceptance and love for humanity that is, frankly, not natural to humanity at all. Humans really have no natural love for humanity – we can’t stand it! But in the Light, we receive Jesus Christ’s own love and compassion for humanity, not condemnation.
I have gone from believing every lie about the Light, to being a lover of that Light. The integrity of my personal relationship with the Lord is upheld by the Light, protected and nurtured by it. The Light exposes me utterly and without mercy, but it does so to remove my every obstacle to receiving the fullness of the Father’s love. God bless the Light!
…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…
Philippians 2:15 NKJV