I grew up in the West, at the foot of the grand Rockies. But for the last year I have lived in Tennessee—which I’ve been told makes me a transplanted Southerner.
There has been a lot of change: I’ve traded desert for vegetation, dry heat for the blessedness of dripping humidity (what’s the point of taking a shower anymore?), and at times I’ve even picked up a Southern drawl.
But the thing I have been the most excited about is the firebugs.
Now I have been corrected countless times that my alleged “firebugs” are actually fireflies, lightning bugs, or Lampyridae; but several years ago on a family trip to Washington DC, I officially labeled my glow friends “firebugs” and thus the name is forever cemented in my life.
So why should my excitement of being in the South spark such enthusiasm for a little bug whose tail illuminates shades of yellow, green, or pale red color?
Well simply, these winged beetles who chemically produce a light cannot hide themselves.
In the evenings as the sun sets, I often go outside to walk around, think, and pray. And as the last light dims, these firebugs light up. Dancing across the wind, they scatter about shining forth in order to attract mates, prey, or in my case, attention. I could stand for hours entranced by their bright green flicker, signaling their presence in the night.
Other creatures have a similar design.
The deep-sea anglerfish has a light sticking out of its head, which other fish cannot help but investigate (think of the deep sea fish in Finding Nemo). Fish are pulled in with such a desire for the light they soon find themselves as fresh sushi for the larger fish.
Light Can’t Help But Be Seen
Isn’t that what a Christian should be as well?
Not a deep-sea creature enticing its prey, but a person so filled with light, that similar to the firebug, it cannot help but be seen. Such a glow would draw and attract everyone around me to the light.
I myself am not the light but am merely the vessel through which the light blazes forth with blinding intensity. I love the depiction of the Church in the book of Revelation (see chapters 2 and 21)—we are called the lampstand whose only purpose is to hold up the lamp. We discover that Jesus is the lamp, shining forth the light, which is the glory of God. Our lives should lift Jesus up so only the glory of God can be seen. And as Jesus shines forth His glory, presence, majesty, life, and light through us, we like the anglerfish, can’t but help draw others toward the light.
What if we as believers were not only cleansed by the fire from heaven (see 1 Corinthians 3:11-13) but also became so filled with the fire that our lives took on a luminescent glow?
Moses’ life did.
Exodus 34:29-30 says: “Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai [after 40 solid days in the Presence of God] … that Moses did not know that the skin on his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone …”
Moses’ face was so bright he had to wear a veil, but his intimacy with God was evident to all.
Jesus said that those who had seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:9) and likewise, those who see us should only see Jesus. This luminescent radiance of God shining through our lives should not be turned on and turned off—but a continual flow of light and life to the world around us.
May my life be as a firebug, continually glowing with Jesus!
“You are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-16).