He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of Heaven and Earth, He doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs – for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.
Acts 17:24,25 (NLT)
What a paradigm shift! I serve Christ not because He needs me to – as if He’d die or fail miserably if I do not – but out of love (imperfect as my love is) and gratitude.
I’ve been taught this, I know this, I often – I would hope – serve Christ with this motivation. But I know it’s not all the time. Pride nearly always sneaks in there, often in the form of a martyr attitude: “If I don’t do this, no one else will, and God’s name will be blasphemed; God’s glory will be diminished.” As if His glory can ever be diminished!
What can be diminished, however, is the reflection of His glory in my life.
My given name, Cynthia, can refer to the Greek goddess of the moon. And, as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so should my life reflect the Light of Christ, the Son of God.
So many facets exist in that analogy. The moon cycles trough phases. At full moon, it shines so bright, especially when it’s at perigee! Then it wanes into the new moon, when Earth does not receive any of its reflected sunlight. Yet, the moon is closer to the sun. Then is when the moon’s gravity, in conjunction with the sun’s gravity, draws the tides even higher, closer to the sun.
The new moon can represent times when I’m closer to Christ, but this closeness is not directly visible to others. Yet the effect may be still drawing others toward Christ, whether that tugging is perceived or not. Most people don’t pay much attention to the tides, but they still occur and influence life.
After the new moon, the phases wax back to full moon, where it shines bright once again.
There are times when the moon would be expected to shine bright in the new moon phase, yet it does not: a lunar eclipse, when Earth is directly between the sun and the moon, and the moon doesn’t receive light directly from the sun. I imagine this as those times when I “walk through the shadow of the valley of death.” The fallenness of creation disrupts my direct line of sight to my Savior.
As with lunar eclipses, people gather and watch for the outcome. They watch with baited breath, hoping for the moon to reappear, a glorious outcome. In many cultures, there is great rejoicing when the moon emerges from totality. So it is when I emerge vicorious from a very difficult season of life. Others rejoice when the difficulty has finally been overcome. Christ is once again brightly reflected in my life.
I see the sources of the eclipses in my own life coming from two distinct sources. The undesirable source would be sin in my life. Choosing the world and its cares above the glory of Christ. This eclipse ends when I repent and my direct line of sight to Christ is restored.
The other source of eclipse is the darkness of the enemy, the prince of this world, forcing his way between Christ and me with the express purpose of extinguishing the light of His glory. How foolish the enemy is! Does the sun go out during a lunar eclipse? Of course not! Its glory is just as bright as ever! Its reflection off the moon is impeded. It is similar when the enemy seeks to extinguish the glory of Christ. His glory never fades, only the reflection of that glory in my life may fade. Some would call this spiritual oppression.
When this second type of eclipse occurs in my life, it may look the same as an eclipse caused by sin to all those observing it, but the cause is not the same.
When the moon is in total eclipse, it reflects a reddish light – light that has been distorted by the world’s atmosphere, and this light is quite obvious to all those observing the eclipse.
Here is a possible outcome of my struggles: When I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death, others may be able to see and comprehend that they have a distorted view of God. The sun hasn’t changed, the moon hasn’t changed, but the perspective of those observing the eclipse has been altered. Maybe it’s during the times when my life is hard that others get a glimpse of their own misperceptions and afterwards choose to bask in the undistorted Light of Christ themselves. This makes the struggle worth it.
There are also solar eclipses. The moon is in its new moon phase, directly between the sun and Earth. These eclipses are far more glorious than lunar eclipses.
As a solar eclipse progresses, the observers experience a darkening of the skies, as if night is coming. It gets darker and darker. The disk of the moon can be seen moving further and further over the disk of the sun. Then it happens: Totality! The corona of the sun can be seen shining ever so brightly, a crown! The existence of the moon is momentarily forgotten . . . all that exists is the corona, the glorious crown. What a beautiful sight!
And so, it might be in my life. Those times when I might be so aligned with Christ, closer to Him than to worldly pleasures, my back turned to everything that is NOT Christ. Then the crown of His glory shines forth in such brilliance! And my existence is momentarily forgotten because of the dazzling display of His glory. THAT is what I live for.
Image from the Chicago Tribune.