"...for your light has come..." - Isaiah 60:1

What is the first thing you do when you enter a darkened room? You turn on a light. Right? Light keeps us from stumbling over things, running into things, and to accurately identify things and people. When Jesus showed up on earth’s scene He brought the light of heaven to earth.

Heaven’s light (John 1) helps us to avoid the stumbling blocks of life: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony (the seven deadly sins listed in Dante’s, “The Divine Comedy”, all of which he borrowed from a list first devised by Pope Gregory the First). King Solomon, however, can be credited with the first such list in Proverbs 6:16-19. It lists "six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him":

1. A proud look

2. A lying tongue

3. Hands that shed innocent blood

4. A heart that devises wicked plots

5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief

6. A deceitful witness that speaks lies

7. One that creates discord among others

Paul created another list in his letter to the church in Galatia: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. (Galatians 5:19-21)

 When it’s too dark to see the path, there may be obstacles that will result in a collision. What are the obstacles for those without the light of God? They are similar to the things over which we stumble. However, when one stumbles, one usually recovers. When a collision occurs, the result can be much more serious, even catastrophic. Spiritually speaking, it renders the spiritual sojourner ineffective for God’s work. This is why time spent in God’s Word is so important. The Psalmist describes God’s Word as “a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” (Psalm119:105) Thus, the importance of knowing and walking in God’s Word provides the much needed light critical for maintaining the Believer’s perspective.

Light is also necessary to correctly identify friends or foes, things that are delights or distresses, or to discern the ordinary from the extraordinary. Things come into clearer focus in light. Light provides the environment for our God-given senses to focus and distinguish the critical details. Heaven’s Light allows us the same abilities in the spiritual realm: the Christ follower has discernment to identify those with kindred hearts, avoid actions that will bring sorrow, seethe hand of God in daily life, thus providing a perspective to benefit one’s family, work, community and country. When the light of God’s Word is utilized we avoid the collisions that can devastate our personal and family lives. 

Without heaven’s light, one becomes part of the darkness. Jesus said it this way, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23) In other words, if you do not have the Light of the world to direct your thoughts and actions, you end up with the blind leading the blind… you become part of the darkness. It becomes a co-dependent dysfunctional system similar to that described in the old fable about the King’s new clothes. The only one who could ‘see’ that the King was not clothed was a young child whose perception had not been conditioned by societal expectations. The child spoke up and declared that the King wasn’t wearing any clothes.

In this passage, Isaiah makes the contrast between a society that embraces God’s principles and those that reject God’s way. It’s a simple contrast of light piercing darkness. A society that espouses truth and fairness will be an example the world will seek out. The prophet Isaiah said it this way, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah60:3) True freedom is a commodity that is meant to be exported, penetrating the darkened societies of the world; propagating cooperative nations that God uses to bless the world. This is the natural progression of freedom’s light.

God’s plan from the beginning of His covenant with Abraham was to bless the entire world through the Light He would bring to the nations. (Genesis 22:18)  In 1831 Samuel Francis Smith wrote the beloved patriotic hymn, ‘America’. One stanza reveals the deep devotion citizens of faith shared through his prayer: “Our father’s God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing: Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light; protect us by Thy might, great God, our King!”  Such words should provoke us to the same action directed by the prophet Isaiah, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1

 It is both the duty and responsibility for patriots to continually remind the nation of such, while pointing those who do not share such a world view to the truth of God’s light. Jesus taught that the light was not to be hidden but to be set up high for all to enjoy its benefit. (Matthew5:15) Finally, light is also a source of life. Trees, flowers, etc. will turn or bend toward the sun’s light drinking in its energy. Plants have light sensing proteins that are the catalyst for a plant to turn toward the light. Botanists theorize that these  proteins activate a phytohormone called auxin. This hormone is passed along through the plant’s cell structure until it reaches its destination allowing elongation in the cells of that part of the plant allowing it to turn toward the light.

As it turns toward the light the plant also grows and develops its systems to reproduce or replicate itself. This design is in all life, both plant and animal – a program to reproduce. Life is only life as that being able to replicate.  The Light of the world desires that Christians demonstrate this same characteristic. He charged his followers to “make disciples of all nations”. (Matthew 28:19) Disciples are followers who replicate more followers who also replicate, yet, more followers, but we can only do so as we walk in the light. (I John 1:5-7) O, follower of Christ, take hold of the freedoms we have while we have them to shine His light of truth in our land and throughout the world.

Shine bright!