The Bare Soul - June 6, 2010
Light of the World

Isaiah 60:1 - Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

If we know Christ, and we are one of His, then we all possess the light of God. As the scripture states, we have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light (I Peter 2:9). While this may not be evident in many believers lives it is nonetheless a true statement. It is ultimately our choice whether we decide to let His light shine or not. Jesus Christ's redemption is certainly the free gift of God (Romans 6:23), however the word of God is also very clear that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Forgiveness of sin through justification is the bedrock of the Christian faith, and without it there can be no salvation. We accept the finished work of Jesus on the cross when we come to the Lord in humility and accept His free gift. Many stop at this juncture and merely use the gift for themselves and their eternal well-being. They either don't understand or refuse to yield to the Holy Spirit who desires to allow the light within them to shine to others. The sanctifying work of the Spirit of God is ordained for all believers to manifest first within their hearts and then to broadcast to a dying world. Manifestation of the Person of Jesus in a believer's life is dependent on so little yet so much. The simplicity of the gospel and the sanctifying power therein can be surmised in one word -- obedience. Without it there is no possibility of shining forth His glory.

Are we manifesting Christ? Everything according to life and godliness has been given to us (II Peter 1:3). However, as previously stated, we still need to work out our salvation from the inner man to our outward life. In one of His parables, Jesus taught that those who trusted in Him were lights to the world (Matthew 5:14-16). Jesus drew upon an example for lighting their homes that everyone would understand. Lamps in ancient Palestine were dependent not only on oil as their source of fuel, but also the wick. Oil lamps as used in Jesus' day have not changed much throughout the millennia. A pottery bowl with an opening for an oil reservoir and a wick were fairly standard. One would fill the bowl with olive oil and make sure that the wick was touching the oil. However, one thing was very important. Before inserting the cotton wick into the opening to touch the oil, it needed to be immersed in oil in order for the oil to be drawn up through its fibers to create a continuous light. This is what Jesus was telling the crowd on that day by not telling them the obvious and something they already understood. Those with "ears to hear" comprehended that He was telling them that it was not enough to be in contact with God and to be "dry" within -- lacking the manifest presence of His being. But Jesus was telling them through this analogy that they must immerse themselves in God, in the very oil of the Holy Spirit so that they might draw on His light to make even more light for all.

Paul tells us that we are like earthenware vessels that carry about within us the life of Jesus Christ (II Timothy 2:20). How much more so are we all like pottery lamps that God has entrusted the Holy Spirit to live within? Those in Jesus' day understood that when the Savior referred to them as "lights and lamps to the world" that He spoke a metaphoric lesson with trichotic implications. The triune elements of the olive oil lamp and those of the body, spirit, and soul of the human being were not accidental similarities to those who understood Christ's teaching. Just as the lamp represented the body, so the oil represents how the Holy Spirit and our human spirit become joined when we come to know Christ. The wick, or the soul of man, is the crucial element in how Christ becomes manifest in a person's life. Will that man, woman, or child allow themselves to be immersed in the obedience of the Holy Spirit? For in so doing, one is truly baptized in the Spirit of God. Will one allow their soul or their "life wick" to become submitted and immersed in the oil of the spirit that their lamp will burn clear and bright? This is the dilemma, beloved, whether a mans mind, emotion, and will (which is their soul) can be brought under the rule of God. When we have immersed our proverbial "wicks" into the oil of His Spirit, then great things can truly happen as we burn for Him. However, it won't happen unless we are fully immersed in God. Olive oil has one of the highest flash points of any fuel (550 degrees Fahrenheit). Likewise, unless one is totally given to God they may burn with a flicker for a short season and then their flame will be extinguished. That is why it is imperative to be soaked in His Holy Spirit before we can burn as He desires.

It was Christ's great sacrifice that gave us salvation, but it is now our responsibility to burn for Him in obedience and lighting the way for others. It will all depend on how we submit ourselves to this task. We must align ourselves with His purposes, His desires, and ultimately His will in all things. As we do so, we will be immersing ourselves in the oil of His Spirit, allowing us to burn as few do in this dark world. Jesus told us to trim our lamps, to take the necessary steps in order to make ourselves holy while on this earth. We have no power within our proverbial "wick" or within our own soul to do this. However, as we draw upon the Holy Spirit and His precious oil then we too can walk as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the light of Your Son, who teaches us how to shine on this earth -- to draw upon Your Holy Spirit and to bring life and hope to others. Help us to be "wicks" totally immersed in Your oil, ever ready to obey and submit to You in all things. May You be glorified by the light within our hearts. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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