"Live as children of the light...and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them...Everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible." --Ephesians 5:8-14
Jonathan brought home new light bulbs yesterday.
Since we live in a basement with drop cielings, our lights are the long, tubey flourescent kind. They don't go out very often, so we don't ever have to really think about changing them.
When one of the fixtures in our kitchen went out about six months ago, we kept saying we were going to get new bulbs. Well...that didn't go exactly as planned. It was just one of those things that we never thought about at the right time. After all, there are two fixtures in the kitchen. It wasn't THAT dark. Somehow, we learned to live with the dimness until we barely noticed it.
So when Jonathan walked in yesterday with the long package under his arm, I was kind of surprised...and impressed...no less by the fact that he carried new windshield wipers for my car and a new air filter for our AC under his other arm. Somehow, he managed to think of all the little things we needed in one afternoon.
I watched him climb up in one of our whitish, shabby-chic kitchen chairs and pull off the cover to the fixture. All this was done under the close supervision and direction of my four year-old son, who is fascinated by lights. Jonathan popped out the old bulbs and replaced them with the new ones.
It was like the sun came out.
I had never remembered it being so bright in the kitchen. My girls all ran to see and Jonathan, beaming proudly, called me to come see for myself. Pretty soon, our whole family was marvelling in the kitchen like a bunch of creatures who had been living under a rock or something.
The difference was incredible...
And also kind of disgusting.
You see, under the cover of poor lighting, all kinds of things had been happening. Spills, drips, crumbs, all unnoticed before, shone forth with alarming clarity. My kitchen, which is always a little cluttered and chaotic, now just appeared downright nasty....
The flourescence revealed a lot that I didn't know was there.
So, this morning, while scraping the crust off the floor and chairs and scrubbing the macaroni-and-cheese handprints from the wall by my daughter's chair, God opened my eyes to a surprising truth.
In blogging, I've really been trying to express how it is that my life has been changed over the past year through the ministry of Compassion. I've hit on a lot of different things, but I think that what I saw today expresses it more deeply and profoundly than any other way I have thought of it.
God has used Compassion like flourescence in my life.
"Everything exposed by the light becomes visible." Eph. 5:13
For years, I lived unaware of the scum, crud, and filth that I was allowing to accumulate in my life. Worldliness, selfishness, greed, covetousness...the more, more, more mindset of the world we live in...slowly but surely, it was choking me. My own self-sufficiency was robbing me of my need for God. God chose, in His sovereignty, to use the ministry of Compassion to reveal in my life the true nature of these things.
When I went to the Dominican Republic in November of last year, He flipped a switch, and what I saw in my life was disgusting. Seeing true need put into perspective all of the excess in my life and showed it for what it truly was--sin. The result? A year spent scrubbing the walls and floor of my heart, of taking a toothbrush to the cruddy corners, of knocking down cobwebs and scouring out filth. The job is not done...not nearly...the light is still shining down, ever revealing more and more that needs to be cleaned up. It is a job I can't do. Only God can change the heart, and I'm so grateful that He chose to shine flourescently into my life.
I can tell you this much...
My kitchen looks different today than it did yesterday. I'm no longer horrified to think of actually eating in it.
I'm pretty sure my heart looks different too.
What dark corner of your heart does He want to reveal to you and then give you the grace to see made clean and new? What does God want to use as flourescence in your life?
Maybe He wants to use Compassion, like He did for me. Maybe taking a little child to heart and hearing his or her words of gratitude, seeing his or her need, will be what God uses to move you closer to His heart, deeper into His presence. It's a scary step. I'm telling you now, sponsoring a child has the potential to change everything in your life. It has the potential to push you further down the road to discipleship than anything else I know. It will reveal stuff in your life you don't want to see. The work Compassion does is so closely connected to the heart of Jesus Christ Himself that you cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of His pleasure, presence, and power. You will also experience His sanctification...His desire to make you more and more like Himself.
Christian, will you take a step toward the light today? Are you willing to be changed?
I know one way...by no means the only way.
Click the link. Sponsor a child.
Flip the switch. Start the change.