You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14, ESV
One of the key moments in my spiritual life occurred during a firework display for a 4th of July celebration. I imagined what it would be like if all Christians on the globe successfully reflected God’s divine nature, Christ’s perfect character, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I imagined God launching each of us at the perfect time and selecting the exact location for our light to shine against the backdrop of a dark work for the maximum beauty of His show.
That particular year my heart gained two new understandings. 1) God controls the show. He selects our birth dates and our exact location on the globe (Acts 17:26, 27). 2) If I try to direct the type of light I want to be for Him, I will dim the beauty of His show because only God can see the show in its entirety and know the best spot and type of light for me.
This week I read an article about firework displays to see if the spiritual analogies I have been using for years alongside the design of fireworks displays are credible. I still believe such analogous reasoning is sound. What follows are four principles identified in the article and supported by a quote, then I offer a link to spiritual perspective.
Creating a firework show requires great skill.
The word “firework” comes from the Greek word pyrotechnics, which means, very appropriately, “fire art” or “fire skill”; there’s certainly no shortage of art and skill in modern firework displays!
If a skilled person can produce the fireworks beauty we are accustomed to, how much better is the perfect God of the universe qualified to orchestrate the light show of His followers on the earth throughout history?
Each firework is purposefully selected and launched.
How wonderful to think that we were designed to explode in a very controlled way for the show. The Bible says God determined the times set for each of us and the exact places where we should live. (Acts 17:26). Why? He did this so that people would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him (Acts 17:27).
We are to be lights for Him from wherever we reside on the globe!
Fireworks receive their colors from heat.
Fireworks get their color from metal compounds (also known as metal salts) packed inside. You probably know that if you burn metals in a hot flame (such as a Bunsen burner in a school laboratory), they glow with very intense colors— that’s exactly what’s happening in fireworks.
I Peter 1:6-7 talks about the relationship between living in the heat of the battle (suffering) and being a light.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
We do not shine most brightly when life is going great and we exude joy and firm faith. Everybody is happy when circumstances are pleasant. No, we shine most brightly when in our suffering we still love him, believe in him and remain filled with inexpressible joy for our salvation (I Peter 1:8-9).
Each firework is unique.
Surprise and variety are the key to any good firework display: if all the fireworks were exactly the same, people would quickly get bored. Although all fireworks essentially work the same way—combining the power of a missile with the glory of burning metallic compounds—there are lots of different types.
No two snowflakes are the same. No two fingerprints are the same. No two people are the same.
Our creative God is the reason these statements true. Therefore, it is not a blind leap of faith to consider that each of us reflect the glory of God in a way that cannot be duplicated by another other person in history either. If we try to copy someone else, we not only diminish our own uniqueness but also dim the overall beauty of God’s light show.
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. (Matthew 5:14, The Message)
As we celebrate our country’s birthday today, consider the spiritual applications as well. Allow God to stir your heart for the grandeur and glory of what He wants to in and through Christ followers…including you.
Keep shining everyone!
Let’s light up the globe!
Blog Readers: What are you praying for our country?
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