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Whether a lamp glows because of fire or electricity, it has a source of power that is creating the light.

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness.  Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.  If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
Luke 11:33-36 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.11.33-36.NLT

How foolish would it be for me to tell you that my lamp was bright if you could clearly see with your own eyes that there was no light shining forth. I might even try to make excuses for the darkness surrounding me by saying that I’ve put my lamp away for a while and it is hidden under something. Or I might be foolish enough to say that I can see perfectly fine and it really isn’t that dark,  that it must be your eyes and that you are the one that needs a light,  not me.

This isn’t just a story about lamps or lights. It is a parable to explain both our spiritual vision (discernment) and the Holy Spirit’s manifestation through our lives. And that might sound quite complicated and religious,  but it boils down to how we understand the unseen powers of this world influencing the thoughts,  actions,  and words of those around us – and how we allow them to influence us.

We are not called to occassional religious sacrifice and ceremony – we are called to an ongoing life of Hope, Faith,  and Love – doing daily battle against those spiritual powers and fleshly influences that are either:
   A) tempting us into evil and death
   B) nourishing us with righteousness and life

Bad:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.19-21.NLT

Good:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.22-23.NLT

With each thought, with each decision,  with each action,  and with each word spoken,  we are proving who our hearts truly serve. Is it self,  or is it God? Only one of these choices holds any power or authority.

If we have no power behind us,  if we are claiming victory over the darkness by our own works or claims or our own striving, we are doing nothing but holding up a lamp against the darkness that has no power – and we are overcome by the very darkness that we are trying to deny. This can be seen in false converts and false teachers who have no commitment to loving and serving others,  who have no commitment to resisting temptation,  who have no commitment to helping the poor and the needy, who have no commitment to seeking God faithfully, who have no commitment to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, who have no commitment to participating in an active body of Christ that is focused on growing and learning and making an impact upon the communities around them. Notice that I say “commitment to” and not “interest in”.

And if we are blind to the power of the Lord that is at work in our own lives and the lives around us, and we are only aware of this temporary,  physical world and what our senses allow us to measure and prove – we are missing out on the things eternal that nourish our souls because we choose to rest our confidence in this world instead of in the one true God.

One represents a lack of faith and understanding of the things spiritual and eternal,  while the other represents a lack of taking this faith and putting it into action. Faith is what brings us the fire, that power that shines forth in our lives and that is undeniable in our lives. When the supernatural fire of the Holy Spirit is upon a life, it is peculiar,  it is different,  it is not common nor is it conformed to the ways of this world. It shines forth like a bright light set upon a hill.

So I ask you this morning,  where is your light,  Christian? Are you standing in the way of its light? Or are you shining brightly today to bring honor and glory to the name of the Lord? Or are you powerless and you need to receive Christ into your life as you are forgiven and renewed by the Holy Spirit, and born again as a new creation in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Whatever it is you need this morning,  friend,  whether it is the power of the Holy Spirit annointing your life with guidance, instruction,  strength, or comfort – or whether it is that you need to receive salvation and deliverance from your life of sin and death – I urge you to listen for His still,  quiet voice calling you. I urge you to pray and ask Him for forgiveness,  I urge you to knock at the door of your Lord and Savior and expect His answer. Because it is not Him that has left or forsaken you, but you who have turned away. He waits for your return to His loving arms, turn back to Him and He will see you and run and meet you on the path,  and He will wrap His arms around you and walk with you all the way home,  back to the great celebration of your return. For you are His lost son or daughter returned to His household safely.

Rejoice today,  children of God,  and walk with your Father. Know that His light shines in you,  and the world will know it as well. Love and serve others like the example He has given us,  and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ who lives in you.