Two Kinds of Light

There is a saying:

“I have but one candle of life to burn, 
and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness 
than in a land flooded with light.”

But what if the land is flooded with artificial light?

Today in chapel, the speaker encouraged us to be salt and light, based on a passage of Scripture in Matthew 5:13-16. He explained the salt makes people thirsty. That light allows us to see, causes growth and is used best in the darkness.

But he had a picture of a flashlight on the screen. And all of the sudden I got to wondering about the "causes growth" idea. What is the difference between light produced by the Sun and light produced by electricity?

Artificial light cannot make plants grow.
There's something different about light that comes from the Sun, there's something else to it. Both produce light... but only the light from the Sun can produce life.

© Ashley Santiago
The quote at the beginning is an encouragement to do missions work. In a land where there is plenty opportunity to be exposed to light, the call is to go where there is only darkness, that the small light of my life would be used to its greatest capacity, where it shines brightest.

But may I be so bold as to say that artificial light could be even more dangerous than the darkness? Because the darkness is certainly not able to deny the presence of light... but artificial light has the semblance of true light. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 it says, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." But we know the enemy comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus, however, came to bring life. [John 10:10]
I am amazed by those who are called to the land flooded with artificial light. It is a noble and hard calling. It looks crazy! Those with artificial light shrug their shoulders and claim to have the same thing... but they cannot grow. There is no life.

So would I rather (as the quote says) use the candle of my life to shine in the dark places? Honestly, yes! Even if its a primal, cannibalistic culture, my light would shine true with acute contrast to the darkness. The difference is seen. It is something truly brave to take on a land flooded with artificial light... whatever that looks like. Because it could seem a waste. Your light doesn't seem as bright. It doesn't seem to make a difference.

But friends, do not be discouraged! Our little light is always of use because it comes from the Son! It's the real thing! Even in a land of artificial light, there will be a very distinct difference: only light from the Son can produce life.

And how are we that light? How are we salt?

"In this world we are like Jesus..." - 1 John 4:17
We are called to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20-21), representing Him. And how did He say people would know we are His? That we are His disciples?

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." 
- John 13:35 

"This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another...  
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life. And we ought to lay down our lives... If anyone has material possessions and sees someone in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
- 1 John 3: 11,16-18 

"Who is it that overcomes the world?
Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." 
- 1 John 5:5 

"If you love Me you will obey My commands."
- John 14:15, 1 John 5:2-3

And that love looks like joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It looks like trusting, persevering, keeping no record of wrongs, rejoicing in truth... not boasting, envying or being proud. It is full of faith and hope, and it never fails. And it is not by our own strength, but as we live by the Spirit. His light shining through us.
Mark 9:50; Galatians 5:13-26, 6:10; 1 Corinthians 13

© Ashley Santiago
Where you are now is where you are called to be faithful to the task at hand. 
Whether surrounded by darkness or artificial light, there is only one True Light, of which we are witnesses. 

Our war is waged in love.

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