I Am A Carrier

15 07 2010

Do you see anything different?

Look close…anything?

It’s just that Proverbs 13:9 says that the, “light of the righteous shines brightly.” And I wondered…

This Proverb seems so simple but I have really wrestled with it. I think it is these two words “righteous” and “the light” that have me sitting here thinking.

The Bible says, that no one is righteous, not even one person (Romans 3:10), so what is the point of this Proverb? No-one’s righteous.

Any earning if righteousness we think we are capable of, well, we should just know right now we can stop trying; that would be one less thing on our to-do list.  If I was good today, “Way to go,” I can tell myself, but should quickly add, “just so you know, you are about to screw up.” You and I just can’t get it right. For every person who declares themselves, “good,” there are two others snickering in the background because they know just how bad we can be.

We should sigh deeply at this point because it is a distressing truth. The “world” will say, “You’re fine. Why all the angst?” It is because we  aren’t  fooled by the “eat, drink and be merry” message; it’s not that merry. We know something is broken and can’t be mended. No one is righteous. Not even one. “Woe is me,” the prophet Isaiah said as he thought about this, “I am a man of unclean lips, living among people of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5)

Thank God, the Bible goes on to say, “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:24)!

This idea of being “freed” is something known as “redemption.” Redemption, in case you were wondering, is my favorite word.

  • Redemption, the idea that something otherwise discardable can be made new and usable, when applied to people, is a magnetic message.
  • Redemption, the idea that something can be changed for the better means that I have  something to live for.
  • Redemption, the idea that something is gained because something else was cashed in, both crushes me and motivates me when I realize what I gained because Jesus cashed His own life in for me.

This whole thing, by the way, is called the “Good News.” What else would you call it?

I just had to start with that, because understanding who is righteous and why is really important. We shouldn’t be all high on ourselves thinking we are better than anyone else. We can put all our self-righteousness away now, because our righteousness is the Good News of Jesus declaring, “got you covered.”

So, Jesus gave us the ability to be called righteous, which is awesome, and because it is truly “awesome” we don’t just go on as if nothing happened. As the saying goes, “to those who have been given much, much is required” (Luke 12:47-49). I have been given something (that’s the Good News) and that makes me a carrier.

So I am a carrier of a light and must move into all the dark shadows and bless the world because of how I have been blessed: “May your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10)

I think we need to ask some questions about that. People who don’t follow Christ can “shine.” Good deeds stand out in a mostly selfish world no matter who does them; letting “your light” shine is not a concept reserved for Christ followers.  There are lots of people who do nice things, altruistic things! So, do Christians just have to be nicer still? Kind of a one-up idea?

I think being clear about “the light of the righteous” is pretty crucial:

  • “…the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” (Matthew 4:16)
  • “So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” (Luke 2:28-32)
  • Jesus said, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark .”(Luke 12:46)

The thing that is shining brightly is not “shiny-us.” It isn’t our goody-goodness. The light is Jesus and He saved our necks. Jesus’ Good News isn’t a “good perspective” message; it is upsetting! It means I have to acknowledge my sin; it means I have to follow a wildly upside-down message that will throw my whole life in another direction. But this light is fiercely loving, unafraid and undaunted, sacred,  supernatural, unquenchable, unstoppable. That kind of light has heat.

I am writing those words as I am sitting near a mirror, looking at myself and thinking about what big ideas those are for such a little person as I to carry; I am not really the Olympic Torch Bearer type. How can I do justice to a Light like that?

Bright is attractive, which means I better not be unapproachable or unrelatable or untranslatable. I better not be prudish or judgmental or spout off about stuff. I better not be driven by an agenda or abuse my relationships as if I am some network-marketer-for Jesus.

What had I better be?

I better be living in the light, for heaven’s sake. Sometimes I am just so catatonic and that is pretty lame, considering.

The only thing I carry, the only thing I have to offer anyone that is of any value is Jesus. But I can’t go out and just go on and on about Him; I have to go out and be a living example of Him living in me.

A pretty good description of  “how-to” is found in Galatians 5:22 (another book and verse in the Bible):

“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control…those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another (5:22)

It can’t be faked.We can’t treat Galatians with a checklist and good acting. Notice how the verse says, “The Holy Spirit produces in us…” Similar to Jesus declaring us righteous. It is mostly Him and mostly not us.  Our part is one word: submission.

What ought to shine in me is my continual surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life (and in case you think I have this “continual surrender” thing down, I don’t). None of us are “shiny” in and of ourselves. It is what the Holy Spirit produces that shines and sometimes it is just astounding the tiny little things that end up being the brightest, because He makes it so.

I love this definition of light: that which makes seeing possible.

Hm. Someone else’s light helped me see The Light. Now I am a carrier and must do the same. See how that works?

— Teresa Klassen

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