December 18, 2015

Let Your Light Shine

My daughter, Leslie, lives in an older subdivision in the metro area and directly cross the street from her house are two neighbors who compete with each other in decorating their houses for Christmas. Every inch of both properties, from rooftops, to shrubs and trees, to backyard privacy fencing is aglow with lights, garland and larger than life Christmas characters. As soon as it’s dark a steady flow of buses and cars tour the neighborhood. Even if Leslie and Tim tried to decorate their house it would be paltry compared the extravaganza across the street. I’m now wondering if it’s possible for a believer to let their light shine to excess. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:14-16 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----It wasn’t until the last couple years that I got comfortable with the word “righteousness”. It even bothered me that the Bible used this word so much. My discomfort with it most likely came from all the derision religious people have often deservedly received from the masses of people fleeing God these last four decades. “Righteousness” has been one of their main targets amongst the terms expressing life in the Lord. Yet, I could hardly blame them for this drive-by shooting at “righteousness“, even as they shot up the whole neighborhood.
-----Some terms float around like white elephant gifts. Everyone knows the kind of concept such a term represents by what it is, but specifics about it articulate only inside the mind unwrapping it (the reason miscommunication is the bigger part of communication.) So “righteousness” usually articulates into all the deeds the mind unwrapping it considers to be cobbles in the road to God’s approval: paying tithes, saying grace before eating, saying your bedtime prayers, reading the Bible, going to church, etc. This makes it wearable, like a sweater, over the top of more comfortable shirts better fitting us: partying down, sneaking the internet at work, cursing the moron driver who cut you off coming to work, weaseling your way out of doing the dishes because you spent the day working, and the rest of life’s normal anomalies. With enough effort, those sweaters can bleach to a bright shine.
-----I think it was through Paul’s description of the kingdom of heaven as being righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit that eventually a whole new concept of the term formed in my mind. And maybe this is just in the way I unwrapped the white elephant. But it still makes sense to me. For what is “spirit”? And what is it to be “in the Spirit”? I’m always reticent to go to the dictionary for meanings of words about the Lord and His life in us. I think Daniel Webster was a godly man, but I know next to nothing about neither George nor Charles Merriam. I trust their insights for the way the public uses terms, but I don’t trust the public with the Lord’s concepts. So I do my best to discover how the Bible alters dictionary definitions by how it uses terms.
-----Spirit seems to be the essence of what something is -all its details at once, from the most subtly minute to the most profoundly expansive. Like DNA is to the organism it patterns, spirit patterns the man, although the man’s doings details his spirit. Avoiding the paradox until another day, everything a man thinks, feels, or does becomes his spirit. Righteousness in the Holy Spirit is everything that is right. Remember? God knows and sees everything. Righteousness is everything God knows and sees that is right matter not who dun it. From the most mundane through the most ceremonial unto the most formal, not a detail is left out. And not a one is wrong. That is righteousness. Now the seen and the liturgical and the ceremonial are divorced from the definition of righteousness so it can be what it is: simply anything that is right to do at any particular moment. A very excellent preacher I know might say righteousness is the next faithful thing to be done. Moreover, it’s the thread for weaving the fabric of comfortable shirts, because, conceptually, showy sweaters are knitted of self-perception.

Love you all,
Steve Corey