Which Light Do We Live By?

Jon Burgess


“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.” Isaiah‬ ‭50:10-11‬


The New Testament counterpart to these verses can be found in 1 John 1:7-8: "But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth." No wonder we often choose to live by our own light instead of the light of the Lord that shines through His Word. We don't like it when God shines His light of conviction on our sin. As Christians we want people to only see the good things we do, think, and say. If we live in God's light, open ourselves up to His scrutiny, He can shine it on every area of our lives whenever He wants. That could get awkward and uncomfortable and downright detrimental to our carefully crafted public image.


If we live by our own light then we can pick and choose when to flip the switch off and on. We can even look super spiritual by turning the light on to a minor sin while hiding the major ones just outside of lights reach. When we are performing a good deed or act of service we can turn the light on using environmentally friendly LED's with blinding white lumens that reveal our awesomeness. Then, just as quickly we can turn that light off and slink around in the darkness of our own self-serving and sin. That's the issue with living in the light of the Lord. He calls us to live the opposite way in His light. He wants us to hide our good deeds so He gets the glory and to expose our sin so it can't control us. Let's be realistic though. No self-respecting Christian is going to post a selfie on social media that reveals the bags under their eyes when they wake up in the morning, video of them yelling at their kids, or photographic proof of them flirting with someone who isn't their spouse. The light we prefer to live by highlights the life we prefer to have people see. When we live by our own light we are in control of public perception, we control the narrative, we shape our own image and worship the creation from our own imagination. We warm ourselves by our own fires so we can avoid the purifying fires of the Holy One. We choose a light we can control rather then trusting our lives to the God who is in control. If we don't "watch out", as Isaiah implores, we are choosing to walk by a light that will lead us away from Christ while being convinced we are living for Him. The light of our own self-righteousness is a diffused light-safe, warm, and distant. It's the light of the fire in the courtyard the night Jesus was betrayed. Peter stood there, warming himself feeling certain he was the most dedicated disciple of them all. Then, three denials later, the light of the Lord's words of warning cut through the lies to his very soul punctuated by the roosters crow. The Light of the Lords righteousness is a laser that cuts through the fake and false facades we have carefully crafted to reveal what is truly going on underneath the surface. We don't want it, but we sure need it. To live by the Lords light is trust wholly and completely in Him. To know that if He is revealing something it's not to hurt us, but to heal us. It's not to expose us but to exonerate us. It's not to uncover us but to unravel the lies that have held us bound for so very long!


This morning Lord I don't run from the light I run to it. With David I invite the light and pray "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." (Ps. 139:23). I don't want to live a life made in my own image for I have been made in Yours. If I avoid correction I'm embracing destruction. If I embrace the light of Your correction then I'm leaving the path of self-preservation which leads to self-protection and ultimately to self-destruction. I'm stepping out of the darkness of the movie theater of my mind and into the blinding light of your Son. I won't hide from You will hide in You!

Devotions for July 27

Isaiah 50,51,52
Psalms 92
2 Peter 1

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