Mother Teresa told Dr. Lori Salierno that if she wanted to make a real difference with her life, she should "find a dark place and be a light there." (Refer to post from 12/8.) Some of us have tried so hard for so long to "be a light" to others; but I found in my own life that far too often, in my own desire and efforts to shine, I was going about it all the wrong way. Rather than finding myself energized by shining, I was becoming more and more depleted by all of my "good works" that I had hoped were glorifying God and drawing others to Himself.
Nothing ever felt like enough.
It wasn't until I began to understand more fully that the Gospel message wasn't first and foremost about what I needed to do to earn God's favor (i.e. good works to make Him look good), but was truly founded upon what God had already done for me. When He saved me, He not only forgave me of all the things I had done and not done that missed His mark of complete perfection; but He also placed His own light into my life. (See 2 Corinthians 4)
Where there had only been darkness, He spoke and light entered in.
What's our motivation?
If we spin our own wheels trying to make our lights shine for God, even with the greatest of intentions, we will find that light burning out rather than burning brightly for the long haul. You don't have to look far or for very long to find this to be true among so many professing Christians. It. Is. Exhausting!!
The difference for me came when I began to understand more clearly that God's desire is for me to accept by faith that He has placed HIS light inside of my frail, human life. And that as I surrender to Him in trust, I am allowing that beautiful light to shine where it wills...God chooses the ways in which He desires to let my life shine for Him. He initiates it. He sustains it.
I'll share more on this in a later post, but for now, I wonder if you can identify with what I experienced in my own life.
Have you found yourself at any time trying to let your light shine by striving hard to please God in order to glorify Him?
Why do you think He is more interested in us learning to allow His light to shine through us?
Make sure to come back on Dec 19 for a post written by Tasha Whitener. Together with her husband, Doug, Tasha shines her light to children in the foster care system in her community. You'll be touched and challenged by what she shares. See you back here on Monday!