“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (Luke 8:16-18 ESV).
Do you remember when you came to Jesus? Perhaps, like me, you grew up in the church, but there came a day when you had an encounter with God. That was the day when your knowledge became faith, when you no longer walked blindly the path laid out before you.
Maybe you never heard the Gospel when you were young. Sins and the cares of this life burdened you down. But somehow you heard the Gospel; your understood your condition and laid hold of the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.
Regardless of how or when you began your journey as a Jesus follower, it was then that your lamp was lit.
As a child our family lived in Hawaii for a few years. Storms would occasionally roll through. During one such storm we were left without electricity and clean running water for a couple of days. We resorted to candles. While candles may not be bright compared to a 100-watt bulb, it’s kind of amazing just how much light one candle can give!
When we became followers of Jesus, a candle was lit in us. That candle points out places within us where darkness hides; and it should also shine through us to give the light of the Holy Spirit to the world around us. When we fail to repent (recognize our sins, regret our sins and turn away from our sins to walk in a different direction) our light is suppressed, like putting it under a jar. When it is thus hidden, we are left in spiritual darkness. We become desensitized to the darkness, losing the vision that the Holy Spirit’s light provides. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23 ESV)!
If that isn’t bad enough, we are no longer able to provide God’s light to the world around us! “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 ESV). If we have the light of God inside of us, it is selfish, and sometimes even sinful to keep it to ourselves.
Further, God’s light will expose our darkness should we choose to keep it hidden. We’ve seen many big-name ministers fall from grace for just such a reason. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34); if He reveals the secret sins of the mighty, He will reveal our secret sins as well.
In verse 18 of our text, Jesus says “take care then how you hear”. At first glance, I thought it strange that He would be talking about light and then talk about hearing. But Jesus was trying to make the connection between something they understood (the function and properties of a lamp), with something they did not (the light of God and its properties as discussed above).
He wants us to grasp that we need to “listen” to Him as he points out sin in our lives. He wants us to take hold of our responsibility to let our lights shine in a broken and dying world.
The consequence for failure? “…for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” When we walk in darkness too long our eyes adjust to that darkness. That is the danger of taking sin too lightly. When we don’t take the Spirit’s lead and repent, we are deceiving ourselves into thinking that we still have light inside of ourselves! And when our light goes out, so does our witness.
Everyone knows that a great forest fire can start from the smallest spark. And everyone knows that even the greatest of fires will go out if it is not tended to with more wood or fuel.
Don’t let your fire go out. Rather let a great fire of revival begin with you; “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 ESV).
Blessings on your day!