Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“Mommy, you have to leave the hall light on.”
“Yes buddy, I will.”
“Because I have to sleep with my eyes open, looking at the light. If I don’t look at the light I get midnights [my four-year-old’s word for nightmares].”
Like all children, my little guy has had more than enough nightmares about monsters and sharks and whatever else may threaten to eat him. What once was a peaceful drift into sleep has become a dreaded fight as repeated nightmares have tainted the lure of a restful slumber.
My little boy will position himself in his bed to be facing the nearest light source and will not look away until sleep closes his eyelids. There are times that he has had only a crack of light to look at, and his longing for security has been satisfied by even that.
As I think about my own life, my fears and insecurities, I realize how similar I am to my little guy. I need something to be looking at, something that comforts and brings a promise of safety to me. And unlike Jackson’s light, which cannot truly provide everything he needs, my light is an all-providing, comfort-bringing, satisfying light. It is the light of the Gospel.
If I dare turn my eyes from the light of the Gospel, I fall into looking to myself or the world for my comfort and encouragement. It’s when I think that something other than Christ can satisfy my needs that I fall into a slumber that only produces lies from the enemy.
When my eyes are not fixed on Christ, my life is a constant evaluation of how I am doing, what I should be doing, why I’m not doing it, and what I could be doing right now instead of thinking about why I’m not doing what it is I think I should be doing. I drive myself crazy with myself!
The more I start to look away from the truth that my performance cannot change His love for me, the more my gaze is turned to myself. I start to look for evidence that I am good enough to be called His daughter, but I always come up despairing or proud.
You see, I know the depths of my sin and unworthiness. I know that every effort that I make to please God or serve others is tainted with sin. I also know that I have no need to despair over not being able to approve of myself. My esteem is not based on the good that I do or how much I love myself; rather, it’s based on what Christ has done for me and how much I am loved by Him.
My view of myself is not the issue. The view of those around me is not the issue. I have only one verdict, which has become who I am: His beloved daughter, with whom He is well pleased. All other verdicts have been tossed aside so that I might live in the freedom of the light.
My friends, let’s turn away from obsessing over our performance and believe that the only light worth finding is the light of Christ, who has provided us with His record of goodness in place of our failure.