Whenever I watch a horror/scary movie, which is not very often, some of the scarier moments come whenever a character is somewhere dark and they just happen to have matches on them.
You might know what’s coming.
They fumble around in the dark, maybe don’t strike it right the first or second time, but eventually they get it. There’s a sigh of relief. But then the camera pans up, and the monster/serial killer/creature is right behind the soon-to-be victim. The victim looks to the light as their salvation, but they end up getting eaten/killed/freaked out anyways.
One of the more fascinating concepts in Christianity I’ve come across in my 22 years on earth is the idea that following Jesus is like walking towards a light in a dark room. The closer you get to the light, the more you see of yourself. I buy that. The more you see of God, the more you see how terribly you compare and how much you need saving.
But there’s another way in which God is the light. Psalm 18:
 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;  with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.  For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.  For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.  For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.  This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
We all are carrying around lamps by which we hope to see through the darkness that is the world around us and the path before us. We try to light our lamps with whatever we have in our possession. But oftentimes the light doesn’t last too long. It’s a flicker, and then it’s gone. Those things are things like relationships, jobs, money, sex, food, etc. In and of themselves, those things are not bad and can even be good things that push us towards loving God more. But they are terrible lamp-lighters.
Only God can light the lamp, and that light will last as long as we let it. We may put it out from time and try to light the lamp with something else. I’m guilty of letting things like approval of man, selfish gain and relationships be things that I try to light my lamp with, things by which I try to see the world and the path in front of me, even myself.
But one of the many awesome parts about the Gospel is that, when we realize that what we light our lamps with is lacking or it goes out, God is still there saying, “Hey, light your lamp with Me.” He is the light that never goes out on its own. For this God, His way is perfect. Every word He speaks proves true.
Let God light your lamp. Let His Word be the guiding principle with which you make decisions. Let His people be the friends you lean on in hard times. Let His providence help you see where He’s leading you. Let Him lend you the strength to leap over walls and run against troops.
Jesus tells us we must be lights on a hill. There was no electricity back then, so it was all candles. What must happen for a candle to be lit? Another source of light had to be created.
Find the source for the light you shine in the light of who God is and who He’s promised us He’ll be. Whatever that looks like for you and for me, we must not give up seeking to light our lamps with the Light.
And remember: if you’ve been lighting your lamp with the wrong thing, God gives you grace, more than enough grace to try again, and He doesn’t hold it against you that you lit the lamp with something else. He loves you.