The Neon Life
My precious niece is leading a Discipleship Now retreat this weekend and the theme is “The Neon Life.” She asked several of our family members to send her a story of how we have experienced the light of Christ in our own lives.
Honestly, the first thought that crossed my mind is that if my life in Christ were a neon sign, it would likely have a short in it and you’d hear bzzzt…. bzzt…bzzzzzzt… as the two conductors tried to connect. Thank the Good Lord that the flow of current is never too much as to destroy me, but just the right amount to “light” my life.
The Neon Life
When I was a young girl, I loved going to the skating rink on Saturday nights. I loved roller-dancing to our favorite songs, cheering for my friends during the races (I was never fast enough to race) and doing the hokey-pokey. By the time my parents picked me up, I would be exhausted, but thrilled at what a good time was had by all.
One of the skates of the night was the “black-light-skate,” where any neon or white clothing would glow in the dark. Even our teeth would shine brighter than anything else in the rink. The skate was usually for one-two songs and for about 5-6 minutes everything seemed to be exposed. Stains on t-shirts, even our underclothing (outline of our bras) would show through our clothing if we hadn’t worn the proper clothing. This is what is so fascinating about the light of Christ, as we see in Ephesians 5:8-10:
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 [a]trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
First, we are skating around without a single thought as to what we look like. Then the lights go off and we are in darkness for just a second. The black light blinks on and the atmosphere in the rink changes. It is the same with Christ. His light exposes our stains and even the hidden things that we don’t want others to see. As we seek Him, He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness and here is where the fun part begins… That same light that once brought our need for Him to the surface, also produces a different kind of light. This “fruit” of light brings out our virtue, the desire to do good for others, it shines deep beneath the external part of our lives and makes our heart right with God. The light is Truth and as we walk as children of light, our lives are pure and free of falsehood. Everything that is exposed now is good and bright.
How can this be if we are still human, making mistakes on a daily basis? The answer is first of all in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It’s as if that black light now only exposes the white of our lives. The things that are pure and good, righteous and true are in bright neon colors for our Lord to see. That same light that exposed our sin and exposed our need, now exposes our very purpose in life.
And the exhilarating part of this purpose, is in one little word… “trying.” God knows our frailty, He knows our shortcomings and that we will fall often as we skate through life. But, it’s in the getting up again and again that pleases Him. We brush off our dirty knees, and accept His hand in steadying us on our feet each time we lose our balance.
We begin to understand that our purpose is in the “trying to learn.” It is a lifestyle that sets us free to race around the rink of life with our hair blowing in the breeze. Is our life whimsical, carefree and thoughtless of how to conduct ourselves? Not at all, for you see the wind that blows through our hair, is the Holy Spirit that guides us in all that is right. All that is good and yes, pleasing to the Lord is exposed through Him, our Teacher. All we have to do is “try to learn.”
Living a Neon Life may seem difficult at first glance. We may want to look away because it seems too bright, even want to hide the things we don’t want exposed. But, in reality, it’s the LORD’s light that illuminates the things we’re learning along the way. HE sees the good in us through Jesus. He sees the “trying,” and I believe He is pleased.