The path has always been there. The trouble lies in seeing it, finding it, learning it, and finally staying upon it. Trying to walk along an unfamiliar path at night can be tricky. It is easy to be led astray by the shadows, sounds, and underlying fears that exist in the dark. Soon, we find ourselves off the path completely, and unbeknownst to us, we are headed straight for a cliff, with nothing to hold us back and protect us from falling off. All of our dreams, hopes and aspirations are completely destroyed in the process. How can we go about protecting and backing up all of our plans, our information, our faith and beliefs that have been ever so carefully sown into our hearts? “For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalms 18:28). Faith without a strong foundation will fail us: it is not invincible to the powers of evil that lurk around in the shadows, lying in wait for us to trip up. If we forget to back up our faith, it can slowly be erased by the power of the devil, so slowly that we don’t even notice until it’s all gone. Then what do we do? What should we have done in the first place? How do we store the data in a safe and guarded place?
I have come to find that my relationship with Jesus can be likened to that of my relationship with a camera. I am the camera. Until somebody picks me up, I am of no use to anyone. I am sitting on a dusty shelf, each day passes and I am not put to any good use. For what good is a button, if there is nobody there to push it? So one day, I realized it had been awhile since I’ve moved. I’m useless. My lens is dirty; my inner-workings are rusty and out-dated. I need a complete over-haul. I realize that it is going to take a while to fix what’s wrong, and it might even cost a lot. Sure, you could take a cloth and shine me up on the outside, but what about the inside? The most important parts of me are what really need the maintenance. Who is the best choice to take me apart and have a look to see what’s wrong, what’s missing, what needs to be fixed or tuned up? No one better than the One who made me, right? Who is the One who knows how I work, what makes me tick, what makes me fail, and what will make me operate the way I was meant to? I have a purpose, but if the parts are missing or corrupted, I will only fail time after time.
So I say, “Ok, I am ready. I am tired of just sitting here, covered in dust and grime. Who is going to pick me up and fix me so I can be of some use to someone, so that I may fulfill my purpose for existence?” I cannot operate in darkness, I need Light. Without light, my picture is undefined and blurry. The outcome is distorted. I need a clear picture. Jesus said “I am the Light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). I realize that fumbling around in the darkness has done nothing but drain my batteries and get me nowhere. I need a charger. I need to be plugged in to a source of immense and powerful energy that will rejuvenate me and give me the strength I need to follow a path of light. It takes a while. First I must find a source of energy that is pure and will not corrupt me. I may have to flip a switch and start looking in a different direction. I might have to unplug something else that is not working in order to make room for the new, stronger, better force of energy. It is possible that I may need to find an extension cord if I just can’t reach it by myself. This new power field might be a bit shocking to my system at first. It might even hurt. If I am lucky, it will start a fire….One that no amount of darkness can even begin to put out.
Now that my batteries have been plugged in to the right source and are fully charged again, I have a chance. That is, as long as I stay plugged in when I need to be recharged. I might get put to good use once again. But I need more that just batteries to fully operate. Over the years of sitting on that shelf, my lens, the eye of my body, became dirty. I think it may even have a few scratches; some of them are pretty deep. “Mine eye wasteth away by reason of affliction” (Psalms 88:9). I might need someone to replace the old lens and put in a new one. “And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out and cast it from thee.” (Matthew 5:29). A refurbished lens free from dirt and debris shall allow me to focus in a new way. Without a way to properly let in the right light, I can never take the picture I want. If my lens is scratched and dirty, the image I produce will appear the same. Clean or replace the lens so that the light may enter, and the image will become clear.
How I will use the light that I am given determines the quality of the final product. The less light I absorb, the darker the image. The more light I let in, then the brighter the image will be. But, there exists a fine line. The nature of the image I am creating can vary depending upon HOW the light travels through my lens, as well as the structure of the lens. If the structure itself is damaged, there is no way the light will be able to pass through and remain uncorrupted. If I am able to use the available light in the best possible way, then I shall create the best possible picture or image to express what I want to express. “The lamp of the body is thy eye: if, therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”(Matthew 6:22). At the same time, if I try and distort the light or use a source that is not pure, the image will reflect this. Anything that is not shown in true light exists only in the shadows of darkness. “If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:23).
So far, I have charged my batteries by the power of God, and have allowed my eye to be changed from evil to good. I have decided to allow the Light of God to enter my body and permeate my being. Now what? What will I use the light for? What else do I need? I will use this light to focus. “O, send out they light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” (Psalms 43:3). I must focus His light back upon the source. There are two main kinds of focusing to choose from, either auto or manual. Auto-focusing is a sort of power house of focus, it seems to be pre-ordained. It focuses for you. It sets the point on what it thinks you want to focus on, and that’s it. In some situations it can work quite well, it is a sort of sensing as opposed to a wild guess and hope for the best. Sometimes with auto-focus, you have to back away and start all over, perhaps from a different angle, or even with a better light. The path in front of you must be clear; obstacles that go unaccounted for can be difficult to move, if not impossible. Change of direction may be advised. In situations or events that call for a bit more control, manual focusing is a better option. At times when the darkness seems to be closing in on you and your goal and things seem hazy; it is time to switch into manual control. Do not let it be decided for you what you should focus on, for that passive focusing could easily lead you in the wrong direction. With manual focus, timing is everything. You have to know what you want, how you can get it, and the best place to get it from. When you yourself pick what to focus on, you can get closer and closer. “My eyes are ever upon the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalms 25:15). It lets you travel through deep and complex subjects to search for patterns and deeper meanings without getting caught up in what others want you to believe.
Now the focus is set. The light is pointing in the right direction, and we are ready to record our image for others to see. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). If we let our image be seen in the glory of God’s heavenly light it will have no choice but to show up. It will leave its mark. It will be worth looking at and talking about and learning from. It will touch the core of others. “The light of the righteous rejoiceth, but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” (Proverbs 13:9). If whatever you do is done in the name of the Father, it shall prosper. Charge your batteries with the power of the Holy Spirit, let your lens be clean and free from debris, and focus the Light on what is truly important. And so “….you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self with its practices, which is being renewed in knowledge in the Image of its Creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10).We were created to reflect God’s Greatness. What will your picture look like?
A parable to liken my relationship with my journey of faith with that of a camera.