Think of a 3-way incandescent light bulb, you know, low-medium-high. Good, you got it! Now think of a 100-way (!) light bulb, a bulb that goes from a meager 10 watts way up to 1000.
Christians glow. “You are the light of the world.” Few are a dim 10 watts, most much higher.
“Those embracing Jesus and His salvation have opportunity” to brighten their light. Regardless how dim or how bright your light is today, it can be brighter tomorrow.
You might think a typical new convert would start at or near the 10-watt setting and work his way up. But no, it doesn’t work that way.
The new convert often, perhaps usually, starts at the peak brightness of his christianity, and from there dims down. (Someone suggested a christian is one of very few earth-creatures that dies smaller than when born.)
At first the recently converted is passionate for Christ, having experienced the wonder of rebirth. His setting could be as high as 300. This “light of the world” shines bright, and tells whoever will listen (and whoever won’t) about his newfound Savior. He’s quite an evangelist.
What’s supposed to happen is increase. He has much and now has opportunity to acquire more. The light within is supposed to brighten, a steady climb from 300 to 310 to 320 and upward.
But that’s not usually how it works.
We have a tendency to go back to where we come from. There’s a pull to return to bygone days and bygone ways. Call it homesickness. Life before Christ was life without Christ, and so a full return is, again, a life without Christ. Thankfully, most never retreat that far. But usually there is a withdrawal from that high place in Jesus. After Christ’s crucifixion distraught “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’”
It’s usually a gradual, imperceptible backsliding. 300 watts dims to 290, then 280, then….
Because the 300-watts convert is surrounded by dull lights, his dimming light still seems sufficiently bright.
Typically, the 300 attaches himself to an evangelical church, a congregation averaging 150 watts or so. It’s a strange relationship….
The 300-watts convert looks to the 150s as examples and for direction. Surely, he thinketh, these people must be at least 500 watts. After all, they’ve got lots of seniority.
And the 150 people assume the new convert must be less than 50. After all, he’s the greenhorn. And they consider themselves to be at least 500 watts. After all, they’ve read the Bible cover to cover at least five times. And they have sat under the ministry of Pastor One-Sixty for several years. And they’ve attended at least five conferences. And umpteen Bible studies and prayer breakfasts.
They certainly know how to look after this youngster-in-Christ. Soon he will be a church member, pay his tithes, give them his loyalty and…. becomes as mature and bright as they are!
The Galatians were doing fine (300 watts?) until the judaizers (50 watts?) dropped by to help out. From there it was downhill, 300 watts to 250 to 200 to 150 to….
“You are the light of the world” to the degree Christ shines through you. He wants to shine through you increasingly, both for your sake and His. You will never reach 1000 watts; what you strive for is more. Continuous more is healthy christianity.
More can eventually result in a bright 500-watts disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the hungry will not be satisfied with 500; they will insist on more of Lord Jesus, always more.