“The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.” ― Oswald Chambers
The small lake shimmers smooth as glass, its dark greenish-brown surface reflecting the surrounding autumn world. Dark, straight tree trunks and branches protect the lake’s perimeter, the yellow, green, and orange leaves doubled in their reflected beauty. The contour of each billowy cloud clearly shows in the dark water. An occasional soft “pop” punctuates the stillness, and ever-widening ripples indicate life beneath this dark mirror. The clouds part, and the mid-afternoon sun shines brilliantly off the water; the sun is bright, even in its reflected glory. A breeze distorts my image—so is my earthly image of God distorted. I cannot imagine the Son’s brilliance. The cottonwood leaves rustle a greeting. They, too, speak of His glory.
Stretched out on a smooth wooden dock, I lie at the water’s edge. With eyes closed, I soak in the peace, the stillness, and the warmth of the sun. Even then, I see the sun’s brilliance, bright red through my closed eyelids.
So it is with God’s light. Just as our eyes cannot look into the sun’s brilliance, neither can we, in our imperfection, look steadfastly in His face. David, “a man after God’s own heart,” said, “he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth” (II Samuel 23:4).
As an imperfect, sinful human being, I cannot look directly at His glory. Even His reflected glory, just like the sun shining off the lake, He is too brilliant to behold.
Paul puts it this way: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (I Cor. 13:12a). If we cannot look directly into His face, how do we behold His brilliance? God, who with His mere spoken word created light, allows His light to shinein us. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6). Even though we are unable to see His glory with our eyes, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection have given us the gift of the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Our eyes cannot see His light, but Christ’s light within us helps us to understand His glory.
On a clear night, we see the soft glow of the moon. Its light is not as bright as the sun, yet we can see on a bright, moonlit night because the moon reflects the sun’s light. In the same way, we live for Christ so that our lives reflect the glory of our risen savior. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (Is. 60:1, 2). By reflecting God’s glory, we shine in the darkness, providing light in a dreary world. We provide God’s reflected light for others to see Jesus.
Lord, let me be like the moon and reflect the light of your Son. May Your light shine through me for all the world to see.
Lord, when I really contemplate these verses, wow! How many times have I broken your two greatest commandments? How often have I loved the things of the world more than I love you? And do I really love my neighbors as much as I love myself? Forgive me, Lord, for breaking your commandments. Give me strength and grace to follow your greatest commandments.
I love fall! Everything about it appeals: the crisp early mornings, the crunch of dead leaves beneath my feet. Who can resist pumpkin spice and hot apple cider? The cooler weather is invigorating and makes me want to go outside and be more active. I love the deep red and orange of autumn flowers and turning leaves. When the leaves fall, they coat the ground and insulate it against a long, cold winter.
As nature prepares for a difficult winter, I wonder. Now, when the world is beautiful and all is well, what am I doing to insulate my soul? How am I preparing for those cold, inevitably wintry days of my soul? What about you? How do you prepare your soul for times of difficulties?
“The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not–Do your duty, but–Do what is not your duty. It is not your duty to go the second mile, to turn the other cheek, but Jesus says if we are His disciples, we shall always do these things. There will be no spirit of–“Oh, well, I cannot do any more, I have been so misrepresented and misunderstood”. . . Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right yourself. We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is–Never look for justice, but never cease to live it.” ― Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
“The key is praying according to God’s will. To know His will, we must know His thoughts. To know His thoughts, we must saturate our minds with His word. Then we will begin to experience the authority of God in our prayers.” — Charles Henley
Help us, Lord, to fill up to overflowing with your word. May we feast on it, learn your thoughts, and understand your will. May your name be praised.