Reflecting On Light

Once while on a hiking trip, my husband told me if I ever published a book of photography it should be titled, “All I am to you is a good foreground”. He was joking of course. However he really does make an excellent foreground subject. Not only is he handsome but he is readily available since we always hike together.

One of my favorite ways to shoot a landscape photo is via reflection in his sunglass lens. I love the vantage point of seeing what he is seeing, as though my camera is in the place of his eye. In order to accomplish this, the sunlight has to be at just the right angle to both the lens and the subject. It also has to be bright enough to fully light up the featured subject. 

Once Darkness…

To get a crisp reflection and “paint the subject in the best light”, it is essential the right quantity and quality of light are present. But what about when the lighting is less than optimal? When dirt on the lens hinders a clear and accurate reflection?

Such is often the case in my spiritual life. My hearts desire is to reflect the character of my Savior by doing His will in His power. Reality is, my best intentions are often marred by my sin. For that reason, the words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16 would seem ludicrous if I didn’t know who had said them.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus, who is THE light of the world (John 8:12), declares those who are His own are also the light of the world. I don’t know about you, but His assessment of who I am seems a little off base. Knowing myself, it is hard to believe I might display the beauty and light of the Holy God to the people around me.

Now Light…

Thankfully the remedy for my feeling of inadequacy is quite simple. I need to get my eyes off myself and onto the the True Light. As a friend once told me, “quit being a naval gazer”. By lifting my gaze to Christ, I start to believe I am who He says I am. When I focus on the person and the work of Jesus, my actions and motivations shift without my awareness.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 

2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Yes, I am like a clay jar in the sense that I am pretty ordinary, a little fragile and have a few cracks. However, the treasure contained in this earthen vessel has the power to radically save and change lives! It isn’t my power but rather His, at work in me and through me, that shines in the darkness.

By God’s grace, whenever I start down the self-focused path leading to despondency, one of my favorite quotes comes to mind…

John Newton (Author of the song Amazing Grace)

Time To Shine

This life isn’t about me. It is all about Jesus. Rather than being one who works hard to paint myself in a better light before others, I can (and should) work heartily for the Lord. As I do so, inevitably the dark world around me is lit up, the reflection of God is seen and glory goes to Him. Not because of who I am but because of who He is!

With Christmas and New Years festivities filling the next few weeks, I want to encourage you even as I encourage myself, be busy about the Lord’s business. Opportunities abound this time of year to shine brightly for the Lord. That doesn’t mean I’m making up good works for myself to do but rather being who the Lord has made me to be. After all, a city on a hill can not be hidden.

If you are in Christ, you are a light in the midst of darkness, plain and simple. Jesus said let your light shine before others. The implication is we have a choice in this. His intention is for us to reflect His goodness and love to all we come into contact with. He has given us the means to do so by the empowering of His Spirit. May we have the heart to be a blessing to others this holiday season. May we be those who bring glory to our Father in Heaven in the days to come!