We aren’t merely meant to bask in the light, but to reflect that light to the dark world around us.
ARISE, SHINE, FOR YOUR LIGHT HAS COME, AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD RISES UPON YOU. — ISAIAH 60:1
On this frigid, gray day, I long for sunlight on my face.
Winter is only just starting to bite at me, but already I’m cold in my bones. And I hate to be cold. So, I wrap myself in blankets and wear a down vest over everything. I drink hot tea and then switch to hot water when the caffeine gets to be too much. I know. I sound like a little old lady! I remind myself of my old Mexican grandma, who always had a steaming cup of coffee in her hands. And I seriously wonder whether her hot-blooded genes are my foundational problem with the cold. It’s like I can hear them crying out for me to return to the hotter climates of my ancestors. You see, I love to bask in the sun. I love the feel of it on my face—the warmth and the light are like medicine to my soul and strength to my bones. Maybe that’s why I love this verse so much. I love the imagery of God’s light and glory shining on me like the sun, bringing true warmth and brightness into my soul.
Jesus is the light, Jesus is the glory.
Our verse this month, Isaiah 60:1, says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” We learned last week that this promise was given some five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, and that Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise (read more here). Jesus is the light who has come. Jesus is the glory of the Lord dawning in our dark world and our dark hearts, promising us a new day. And the transformation of a life lived with Jesus is marvelous; it’s exceedingly bright and beautiful. But here’s the thing: all this light, all this glory, it’s not just for us. We aren’t merely meant to bask in the light, but to reflect that light to the dark world around us.
The light shines in and through us.
Jesus’s light in our lives has a revolutionary effect. The Bible says that we’re “being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Isn’t that a glorious wonder to think of, that we look more and more like Jesus all the time? I’ve seen this in the lives of friends, and it’s amazing to behold. Personally, I’ve gone from wanting nothing to do with Jesus and his ways to loving him and wanting nothing more than to please him. But this wondrous conversion isn’t just for me and you—it’s for everyone, and we’re to be the ambassadors of change. Jesus says it this way, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The light of Jesus should shine out from us like lighted billboards, leading people to him.
Our dark world desperately needs the light.
In last week’s post, we saw how God’s people confessed their personal sin and darkness, crying out to God for help. This is us too. We know the darkness we all carry in our hearts. But, if we look at the broader context of our verse, we understand that the darkness isn’t just the internal problem of God’s people (then and now), it’s also external. This darkness covers the entire world. The verse just following our verse says, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (Isaiah 60:2) Though the world is covered in darkness and desperately needs the light, God’s light and glory has risen on his people, and that light is attractive. The next verse goes on to say, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:3). The light of Jesus draws people out of darkness—people from all backgrounds. We don’t need to be sheepish about shining the light of Jesus in our little spheres of influence. We know the darkness is thick around us, and when we remember our own darkness, how can we not share the light with others? We must “arise and shine” like beacons of hope for people lost in a sea of darkness.
It’s an instruction we need to hear.
So often, the Bible tells us to do things—good things we know we should do, things we even want to do, but we aren’t actually doing. Let me be the first to confess, I don’t always “rise and shine and give God the glory, glory” like that old Sunday school song instructs. I can look a whole lot more like a cold gloomy day than a bright ray of sunshine. But why is that? Why, if my “light has come,” do I not reflect that light with passion and excitement every single day? Often, it’s because I’m complacent or I feel insecure about sharing my faith. Sometimes, I’m not shining the light of Jesus because I’m not spending time in that light personally. But not today. Today, if I had to self-diagnose, I’d say busyness is the culprit. I’m prioritizing the perfect presents over being present. I’m making my list and checking it twice instead of stopping to give a hand or an ear when it’s needed. This verse is hitting me in my priorities, and it hurts. There are people walking in darkness all around me, and I’m not making time to share the light of Jesus with them. What could be more important? I may be soaking up the Son, but I’m keeping him all to myself. Ouch.
O God, give each of us a heart to share your light today.
What about you?
Where is God calling you to rise and shine?
What’s keeping you from doing it?
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
ON THE PODCAST
What Is the Glory of God? // Jason Abbott
What does “glory” mean? Chances are you’ve heard that word a lot already this Christmas season, but how should we understand and explain what it means for the glory of the Lord to rise upon his people? We’re so excited to have a special guest on the podcast today as we dig into Isaiah 60:1: Natalie’s husband, Jason Abbott! We know you’ll be encouraged as you learn more about how to understand Old Testament prophecy, hear a helpful conversation about what the glory of the Lord is, and walk away with practical ways we can shine forth the glory of God as we await his second coming.
We'd love to see you around.