The privilege to be in the light
The metaphor of light is all through the Bible, but St. John makes the most of it. Starting at verse 4 of his gospel he wrote about Jesus saying, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of mankind.” Also, in John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
There is a key verse about light in Luke 11:34-35 where Jesus explains the heart determines whether or not we let in the light, which in turn makes all the difference in not just how we see, but if we can see. The Passion Translation makes this clear:
“The eyes of your spirit allow revelation-light to enter into your being. When your heart is open the light floods in. When your heart is hard and closed, the light cannot penetrate, and darkness takes its place. Open your heart and consider my words. Watch out that you do not mistake your opinions for revelation-light!”
In other words, a good, open heart lets in light and that’s when we can we see the truth. The scary thing, however, is that if a person’s heart is closed or hard, then they can’t see the truth – even if they’re looking! But this is just, because, they are not wanting to see. St. Paul wrote: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
(2ndCorinthians 4:4) He goes on in verse 6 to explain that God “has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
This is why theological knowledge is not just a matter of Bible study, and following Jesus’ teaching is a matter of thinking “what would Jesus do”. Rather, we can only see the truth by the light of revelation. “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (1 Corinthians 2:13).
That’s why Christians must always be people of both word and spirit.
For example, consider how clever it was when Jesus responded to the injustice of being taxed by Rome; while knowing it was unfair and he didn’t have the money for it, he sought God for a miracle to provide it, or what he did when the crowd showed up at his retreat with his disciples after a big evangelistic crusade. They wanted to hear a good sermon even though they didn’t bring any pot-luck dinner – but there Jesus once again responded in love and the faith of God who does the impossible. That’s living in the light!
An interesting application is to consider the core job for inner healing is to discover the truth in exchange for lies that have been believed. We find the heart-wounds result in believing lies that are designed to protect the heart – but also keeps out God’s love because our hearts get closed when we’re protecting it. That means letting in the light which dispels the darkness of what seemed to be truth and replacing it with the light of God’s truth.
Most of us know it’s a good idea to “keep short accounts with God” – a favorite expression of mine which means that we need to keep checking our hearts to ensure we are remaining open to all that God says and expects us to do, which really means ensuring we still are living in the light. A noteworthy proverb (4:23) is relevant here: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
For me, it’s about taking regular moments throughout the day to be in touch with my heart. The wisdom of those who contemplate is that they seek understanding of what they call “the interior life”. A simple check is: “am I sensing anything wrong here?” if so, what is it?
Our ability to see is determined by the condition of the heart. A good prayer to help is from Ephesians 1:17-18 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”