Control the Brightness?

I have come to a place that much of what I have learned is wrong.  It is humbling to think that I knew so much, and aggressively propagated what I knew.  I am embarrassed by so much.

A room can be lighted in different ways.  A contractor determines what kind of illumination will be required, and the electrician will wire in the necessary outlets and switches.  One can eat dinner by candlelight, but its kind of challenging to read by.  I find personally, that I vastly prefer a brighter room than the murkiness of a room poorly lit.

For years I believed that our Christian life was a run-of-the mill on/off switch.  If it was off, there was a good chance it meant no light.  You turn it on, and “presto” the room was lit.  Spiritually, it worked the same.  You meet people everyday who live in darkness, they will not flip the switch.

Lately, I have come to see that the spiritual life is more like a dimmer switch. Using a dimmer means that the householder can adjust the light for the moment.  Dinner with the wife, and the switch dims the light to the desired level.  To tie “flies” or to do emergency surgery on the dog requires a lot of light (probably the max).

Some Christians keep their rooms bright, others not so much.  When I speak with someone, it seems I unconsciously am determining  just how much light they have.  I listen for verbal cues, underlying attitudes, and the joy and peace that is evident.  Do they love Jesus first and foremost, or is there a short-circuit of some kind?

Jesus said that we were to be a “city on a hill”.  Bright and obvious to everyone.  Some would lead us to believe that we are to camouflage ourselves to blend in.  And while a case can be made for that approach, we are simply not-of-this world.  We have been made for another.

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“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither 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.”  Matthew 5:14-15, NIV

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”  Ephesians 5:8, NIV

“You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”  1 Thessalonians 5:5, NIV

About Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A HCV and brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, epilepsy and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alaska.
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One Response to Control the Brightness?

  1. James Yokela says:

    Don’t Pump up the Volume: The Bible does not have a volume knob that requires adjustment for easy listening or rocking out. But our minds have one that can turn up the volume on a single verse and by default, ignore the context and loose the meaning. It can also dampen a strong word and minimize its impact. A city on a hill is not lit to create mood lighting for the surrounding countryside nor must a person’s spiritual wattage be properly diagnosed before addressing a message to them. If we could only tell it like it is, we’d be right on cue. When the Bible presents a sublime message in a still small voice, we’d do injustice by pumping up the volume on it. Likewise, if we turn down the volume on verses we don’t have a clear understand of, we’d do the same. But it’s virtually unknowable how it really is. I think that’s why many are admonished not to aspire to become teachers. Teachers are judged more harshly if they are wrong and its so easy to be wrong because the Bible is replete with apparent and not-so-apparent contradictions and ambiguities.

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