Light of the World – A Study on Vulnerability

This post is part of a series in which I explore the concept of vulnerability and its place in God’s design. Last time, I began to explore the link between darkness, light and vulnerability. I finished the post with a question:

What is this “light”? Can it be defined or described in concrete terms?

In response to that post, Jessica commented about Jesus being the Light of the World.  That’s just how I would have answered my own question.

0102-light-of-the-world-a-study-on-vulnerability

Perhaps part of this “light” is abstract; an analogy that uses a familiar, real-life phenomenon to help us understand a spiritual concept. That may be a valid part of it.

But I think there’s more. The Bible makes this “light” concrete and personal. It gives it a name:

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

-John 1:9-10

These verses call the light “he”, not “it”. Zooming out and looking at the passage as a whole, we learn that this light (also referred to as “the Word”) is “the Son” – Jesus. It’s hard to isolate just one verse that makes the connection on its own. I recommend you read all of John 1:1-14.

Chapters later, the book of John records the words of Jesus himself:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

And this idea – that Jesus, God the Son, is light and that his Kingdom is a kingdom of light; it’s not unique to the gospels:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

-1 John 1:5

…and…

and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

-Colossians 1:12

This light is personal.

This light is Jesus.

Part of this is fantastic news for us: Jesus illuminates the way. No more stumbling in the dark.

Part of this – though still fantastic with an eternal perspective – is hard news for us. Jesus exposes our hearts.

Remember the John passage from last time?

And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”

-John 3:19-21 (emphasis added by me)

“Everyone who does wicked things,” – that’s all of us. Naturally, we hate the light and have no desire to come to it. I truly believe that for a person to go to Jesus takes a supernatural work of God the Father drawing that person to him (see John 6:44).

The light is uncomfortable.

Perhaps that’s why the crowds that flocked after Jesus at the beginning of John 6 deserted him before the chapter’s end. Jesus exposed their hearts, true motives and all.

Having the heart exposed by Jesus, the Light of the world, is an uncomfortable thing. Thankfully, that’s not where God’s design ends. If we will come to Jesus on his terms, he is pleased to go on and redeem the broken and the ugly parts of our hearts.

Talk with me?

  • Have you ever considered the “hard” side of the Light of the world?
  • Have you ever felt exposed coming before Jesus?
  • Why should we live in the light?

Resources for deeper digging:

Psst! For more on the crowd that deserted Jesus in John chapter 6, I encourage you to read the full chapter. You may also want to check out a blog post that Hosanna recently wrote about it.


 

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8 thoughts on “Light of the World – A Study on Vulnerability

  1. How interesting that the Light can affect us in more than one way – both allowing us to see clearly so that we can walk without stumbling and also revealing sin or hidden areas in our heart. Being a believer in Christ does require that we open up our lives for His scrutiny, being willing to allow Him to make changes even in the dark areas of our heart. I don’t really struggle with being open and honest with Jesus. He is our best friend, and we know He will never look down on us for trifling faults or silly problems. Instead, He extends grace and mercy towards us. Yet I have a harder time when Jesus requires me to be vulnerable with others. I don’t necessarily want them to see every area of my life. It is easy for pride to step in and prevent me from being vulnerable with them, wondering what they will think of me. What are your thoughts, Jordy? Have you noticed a difference between being vulnerable with Jesus versus others?

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    1. Good thoughts… and good question! I understand what you mean when you say that it’s harder for you to be vulnerable with others than with Jesus. I’ve often felt that since Jesus already knows my heart anyway, telling him (in one sense) doesn’t make a difference. Have you ever thought about it that way or felt that way?

      Recently, however, I’ve been reluctant to come into Jesus’ light regarding a particular area: women and head coverings. Part of the issue is that there are so many mixed opinions and I don’t know what to believe. But mostly (and I hate to admit it) I just don’t know what He’s going to convict me of and I don’t want Him to convict me that I should wear head coverings all the time. I don’t want to change. I don’t want to be different to others, especially not other believers.

      I wouldn’t say that I hate Jesus’ light, but I am afraid of it. I’d rather be left alone in ignorance. By His grace and in His strength, though, I can get past this fear. I think making it public is a good first step.

      Have you found that making an issue public helps you to be victorious in that regard?

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      1. I have felt the same way, Jordy. Jesus already knows my heart…so there’s no point in hiding it. That’s why it’s easy to be more open with Him; He already knows everything. =)

        Mmm…that is a whole other side to it. I can understand how hard it would be – letting Jesus’ light shine on the difficult areas. I think I have done the same thing. I have pushed away thoughts that would make me uncomfortable, hoping that Jesus “wouldn’t bring it up.” Lol! And yes, making it public does help bring victory because it also brings accountability! Now that you shared your struggle (the issue of head coverings), I can encourage you in that area. That’s what sisters in Christ are for, right? =) (not that we should hold it over someone’s head – certainly not! But encouragement is always needed.) I have found that, for myself, having a blog is one way of making an issue I’m struggling with public. It encourages me to make a change in my own life. ♥

        With that being said, have you been able to take a step of faith and open yourself up to His light?

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      2. Yes, in fact the more I think about it, the more I believe that Jesus being the Light of the World and us coming into His light isn’t so much Him exposing our deeds (and heart) to Himself as it is exposing them to us. And perhaps we already know that something we’re doing is wrong, but we don’t realize how truly ugly it is until His light illuminates it. Then, when – by His grace – we realize it, we can respond by confessing with a truly repentant heart, and He can forgive us and begin the work of cleansing us of all unrighteousness. That’s where my train of thought is going the more I think about it. But perhaps Jesus being the light of the world is a multi-faceted concept. Can you think of other ways that Jesus is the light of the world?

        Indeed! Accountability! In fact, as I wrote that last message, I thought about being vague and not naming that struggle. But thankfully I did, and now I have this new (and amazing) thing called accountability which, though hard, I think is a great advantage. In fact, it was after admitting this struggle specifically to you and two other trusted friends that I was finally compelled to look deeply into the passage at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 11. By simply looking into it (rather than hiding from it), I feel at peace.

        Are there any struggles or heart issues that you would like (or need) accountability with at this season of your life? Perhaps you don’t want to share it with me here, but there may be someone else in your life who you would share it with. Then again, it would be a pleasure for me be a sister back to you if you did want to share with me here or in private. And that’s all assuming that you have something that needs to be exposed. Perhaps, at this point in life, you’re thriving in you’re relationship with the Light of the World. In that case, then I would be equally glad to rejoice with you! ❤

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      3. Mmm…are there more deeper meanings to Jesus being the Light of the World? I haven’t though about it much, but three pictures come to mind. As you said, Jesus brings light to our heart, allowing us to see our deeds and sin clearly and make necessary changes. But being the Light also means that He shines direction and wisdom to our path. I think the Light not only cleans us by enabling us to see our heart, but it also allows us to continue walking in wisdom, keeping us safe from the evil one. Lastly, perhaps Jesus is also a Light to the unsaved…opening their eyes and allowing them to see Jesus clearly. But that also might tie in with the first idea… This is an interesting topic, and one that I haven’t given much consideration to.

        I’m so glad you feel at peace with the topic. May I ask how God led you? I have been curious about that area of life (wearing dresses/head-coverings), and it would be intriguing to hear your thoughts. 🙂

        I appreciate the question, Jordy. For me, I can’t think of one particular area I’m struggling with that’s easy to pinpoint. However, I have been reading a book called When God Writes Your Life Story that has really been making me think. I suppose I’ve been realizing that Christianity isn’t supposed to be just during my quiet times; it is supposed to radiate throughout my entire life. I feel like I am needing to make changes, to focus better, to trust more. I suppose I need wisdom and clarity in how to proceed to live life in a God-honoring way. Thank you for your encouragement, Jordy. I would love to talk more on this…perhaps face to face through video sometime?? ❤

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  2. •Have you ever considered the “hard” side of the Light of the world?: I have! Most people don’t want to have their sins out in the open … and I’m among them! However, I do think I’m more likely to focus on the fact that the darkness would destroy them if they stayed in it too long. At least, whenever I’ve got something God’s bugging me about and I just ignore Him, I end up depressed and it just makes it worse! It’s only when I admit my sin and say, “God, help me!” that I can actually move forward.

    •Have you ever felt exposed coming before Jesus?: yes, I guess I have once or twice. As I said before, I just don’t like admitting that I’ve sinned … say if I say something to my parents I shouldn’t have or something. I’d rather just say, “Well, I had every right to be disrespectful to them because [insert reason here].” That’s obviously not true, though!

    •Why should we live in the light?: Because it’s best for us … because God wants us to live in His light … because it’s the happiest place for us to be … because otherwise our souls just won’t thrive. I think those are all good reasons, though the most important is simply that it’s God’s will.

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    1. Huh! One of your last thoughts really resonates with me; that we should live in the light because otherwise our souls just won’t thrive. Your words make me wonder whether a true, born-again believer can even survive in obscurity or relative obscurity, and if so, to what extent. I believe that to found ones life on questions such as this could be fatal, but for the sake of mere wondering (not lifestyle building), I wonder…

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