I recently tucked my youngest daughter into bed and seeing a beautiful full moon through her window she asked, “Daddy, why doesn’t the moon shine as bright as the sun?”
“Because there is no light in the moon by itself.” I answered, “It is not the source of light, it just reflects the light of the sun. If the sun did not shine or the rays of the sun were blocked, the moon would be completely dark and we would not be able to enjoy seeing it.”
I loved the look of wonder in her bright eyes as the concept I was trying to explain clicked into understanding. Because I know these moments are fleeting, I followed my usual routine of making her promise that she would never grow up, giving her a kiss on the forehead, and saying goodnight.
I have often thought that the reflection of light is a powerful analogy for how God’s children respond to Him as their Father. We are responders and He is the source. Without God’s love shining into our hearts we would be as dark as the moon without the sun.
The God who spoke light into absolute darkness long ago, when the earth was without form and void, now shines the light of His love into the darkness of the human heart.
The God who spoke light into absolute darkness long ago, when the earth was without form and void (Genesis 1:2), now shines the light of His love into the darkness of the human heart. “…For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” (Ephesians 5:8 ESV). It does not say at one time you were in darkness, but at one time you were darkness. I wasn’t just previously living in darkness but rather was the darkness itself, with nothing in me to commend myself to God.
We were not created to be the source of light. The Bible says we cannot be good by ourselves, “None is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10 ESV). We were created to be reflectors. Jesus did call his followers to be lights in this world (Matthew 5:14), but we can only shine if He has given us the light of His life. “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 ESV).
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV). God is the source, overflowing with love, and ready to reveal Himself to those He has chosen. We are ultimately responders. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV). We do not first love God. Our first inclination is to love ourselves, not others, and certainly not God. We do not choose God. He chooses us! “…If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11 ESV).
As it shines, the moon is simply responding to the light of the sun – and in doing so it puts on a beautiful display. Astronomy 101 informs us that the moon shines biggest and brightest when the sunlight is not obscured by the earth. It turns out that when our world gets in the way, it casts a shadow over the moon snuffing out its ability to shine. Likewise, as a responder to the love of God, Christians will shine most brightly when His light is not interrupted, blocked, or obscured by the world and the things in it that so easily distract us from Him.
So shine like the moon allowing the fullness of God’s light and love to reflect brightly for all to see!