Through the coldest of winter months, our main source of heat is a coal furnace. Anyone familiar with coal knows that it’s dusty. You haven’t had dust until you’ve had coal. Oh, it makes wonderful heat. It’s so nice to have warm floors. But the incessant dusting, yuck.
Recently, I enlisted the girls to clean all of the ceiling fan/light fixtures downstairs. My dad commented on how dirty the kitchen one was in particular, which I took note of because he also has coal heat. So I figured if he was commenting on how dirty it was it must be really dirty. The kitchen fixture was a special trial as we had grease mixed with (coal) dust. Grease-fighting dish detergent and baking soda were the choice cleaners as each fan blade was removed and scrubbed in the kitchen sink. What a mess! But then…
LIGHT! I had no idea how dark our rooms had been until the globes were removed and scrubbed and replaced. Light, glorious light.
I was sharing this story with a friend of mine and she began to laugh. She and her family had been to another friend’s apartment in the same living complex as them. She commented on how bright her friend’s living room was. Theirs was dark and had to be lighted with lamps. Her friend seemed amused.
“You have the same lights as me. Just adjust them to where you want them to shine.”
My friend was in denial. Even though the lights looked the same, she assumed they were an upgrade before this new friend of theirs moved in.
“I’m telling you,” her friend insisted, “go home and check it out. They’re the same.”
My friend argued a bit more but decided to investigate when she went home. “The lights are adjustable!” she exclaimed. “Not only are the lights adjustable, but the bar they’re on is also adjustable. I now have light where my computer is, light in the living room, and light over my kitchen sink. Do you know that we’ve been washing dishes in the dark for over two years because I didn’t know that the lights were adjustable?!”
We laughed together. How is it that things in life seem so dark sometimes? Because of:
Grime. I didn’t realize how dark my house was because it came little by little due to dust/dirt. If it had happened over night, I would have been alarmed. But it happened day by day, season by season. What is it that we are letting into our lives that is causing darkness? That is slowly eroding us spiritually and perhaps in all other ways?
I had an opportunity recently to go on a paid overnight bus trip out of state. All I had to do was provide money for meals, and even one of them were paid for. Part of the deal when we got there was, if it was a person’s first time in the establishment, they got an extra $15 food credit. I watched as one woman squirmed in front of the man processing her.
“Have you been here before?” he asked.
She didn’t answer him but seemed to fumble with something in her purse.
“Ma’am, have you been here before today?”
She looked to the side at whom I assume were her traveling companions, or perhaps relatives.
“Ma’am, is this your first time here with us?” he repeated.
I was frustrated with her and I wasn’t even processing her. I said to the relative I was traveling with: “I’m sure they can easily go back in their records and see if a person has been here before or not. Is lying for a $15 food credit worth losing your soul?”
The thought jarred even me. How many times have I lied and even for less? How many times have my eyes lingered too long where they shouldn’t? How many times has my tongue tripped down avenues of gossip? How many times has unforgiveness or bitterness penetrated my heart? How many times have wrong thoughts flooded my mind and I not only did not put them out, I let them set up camp?
“Come on, LORD, I’m trying to be pious here. I’m talking about that woman squirming in what definitely appears to be a lie!” I was beginning to squirm myself.
“We’re not talking about her,” He said. “I’m talking about you.”
Aw, why did I have to hear the LORD so clearly? Really? He surely knows how to burst my self-righteous bubble.
Let’s clean off the grime, people. If things are a little dim, see if there’s something that needs to be cleaned. Sin must go. All of it. Granted, it may go by degrees. I find that’s the usual process of things, but let’s at least be willing to let the LORD scrub us.
Things aren’t always dark due to grime, though. Sometimes it’s due to:
Ignorance. My friend had all the light she needed but she didn’t understand how to use it.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6 NKJV
My friend’s whole family was “in the dark” because the light wasn’t being properly used. If we don’t rightly divide the Truth, or apply what God has given to us using His understanding and wisdom, we may not only suffer, but those we love and the people around us may suffer. Lack of knowledge has serious implications. Ignorance is not bliss. It can bring literal destruction.
Let’s ask God if He has given insight to us but we aren’t understanding or using it properly. We may already have the answer, we just don’t know it. Turn on the Light. We have a loving Father. He loves us even in our dirt and ignorance, but He loves us too much to let us there. And thank God Almighty that is the case.
Are you brave enough to join me today and ask God to light up our lives with Holy Spirit’s searchlight? That is the only answer to our dirt and ignorance. The clean and the revelation that come will certainly be worth the time and effort.
May this song and scripture be our prayer.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV