During a ferocious winter storm, I awoke in the middle of the night to find my house without electricity. A quick glance out the window revealed that our entire block was entirely dark.
I called our power company. “Yep,” they said, “the power is down in your neighborhood. Our repair teams should have it restored in about six hours.”
Turning to my wife I said, “The power is down.” She hid her love for obvious statements behind an eye roll. “They’re hoping to have it restored in about six hours.”
She rolled back to sleep. I got out of bed, walked to the bathroom, and closed the door. Then, I did something which I’ve thought about a hundred times.
I flipped the light switch.
Now, why did I do that? I had observed darkness on my entire block, and I was told by experts (the power company) that the power would be off for another six hours. I had even told my wife that the power was off. But now, by my sleepy self, I was acting like my house still had electricity. Why did I do that?
The Lights Are Off, But Everybody’s Home
I wonder if this describes much of our Christian lives. Are these examples familiar?
We know God loves us. We have seen his love demonstrated for us. We’ve been told by experts (like the apostle Paul), and we’ve even told others of God’s love for us and for them. But in our day-to-day walk, we still flip the switch. We live with a social paranoia, desperate for the approval of others. And when we don’t get that approval, we feel powerless.
We know that God will take care of us. We have seen countless instances of his goodness. We’ve memorized the verses and counseled people walking through difficult times. But in our day-to-day walk, we still flip the switch. When trying situations arrive, we default back to worry and fear because we feel powerless.
Another Way to Say It
Perhaps the analogy might be clearer told another way. Imagine that you’ve lived your entire life in a log cabin and always needed to light candles to navigate your dark home. One day, the phone rings with the power company on the line. “Congratulations,” they say, “we have added your house to the electrical grid. You now have power in your log cabin.”
Imagine turning to your spouse and sharing the good news. Your whole family plugs a computer into the wall and together explores the web for an hour. But then, they put the computer back into its box and get out the candles for dinner. They have electricity, but they act as if power-less.
Believer, we know these truths. We’ve learned them from experts, and we’ve shared them with others. But how can we move them deeper? How can we have a greater experience of them? And how can we give them greater sway to shape our hearts and guide our steps?
There are hundreds of answers to this question, but let me suggest two preliminary thoughts.
First, we cannot study our way to sanctification. We must recognize that most of us know much more about the Christian life than we live. Proverbs 27:17 provides this clue: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We need the loving perspective and face-to-face sharpening that close accountability provides. When we are our sleepy selves, we need that nearby friend to rouse us by asking, “Why are you lighting candles? Remember, you are on the grid!”
And, secondly, let us not despise hearing the same truths again. And again. This weekend, in corporate worship, may old and familiar truths rouse your heart and awaken your spirit. May his strength enable you to continue to “make the switch” to the glorious reality of all that Jesus Christ has done for you and in you.