Anglican Morning Devotion for 24 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches Worldwide
“The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
(Proverbs 20:27; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
A candle is a meager light compared to the brilliance of the sun, yet a single candle will disperse a room full of darkness. The candle is referred to in many parts of Holy Scripture. If it were not an important object of illustration and truth, God would not have made reference to it so very often. I live in lower Alabama – the Baptist belt of the United States. The Baptists are a good people who trust in God’s Word, but they do have problems with candles. Some of my clergy brothers have admonished me for the display of the Gospel and Epistle candles on the Lord’s Table (not an altar, for that suggests a continuing sacrifice of the Lord).
I explain to them the importance of graphic objects which the Lord used in teaching – vessels of wood and stone, Rose of Sharon, Brazen Serpent, Lamb, whited sepulchers, salt and light, snails and spiders, etc. Then I direct their attention to the 5th verse of the 2nd chapter of Revelations: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” I then inform them that we in the Anglican Church still have our candles while those of others have been taken away. They are not happy with that response, but they go away without further argument.
The Lord uses His candle to search out the depths of man’s soul. And what is that candle? According to the verse quoted from Proverbs 20:27, it is the “spirit of man.” It is amazing to realize that God uses our own spirits to search out the mysteries hidden deep in the dark chambers and sinews of our hearts.
Of course, God will not abide where sin rules a heart. But in the Christian heart, He abides forever for all darkness and sin have been vanquished by that Sovereign of our hearts who abides there forever. The heart of the believer is the Temple of God because He sits as King of that heart. When the elect soul receives Christ as Lord and Savior, his candle is no longer fueled by the resources of the world, but by the oil of the Holy Ghost. It lights the Straight and Narrow Way that leads up to Heaven. The earthly candle is dark and without the oil of the Holy spirit to provide sufficient light for the way except that Broad and Crowded Way that leads down to destruction.
The Candle that God provides to the elect is one that may be seen from the candle stick of faith upon which it is displayed to provide light for others. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16)
Light reveals the way clearly in which we walk. It reveals the good as well as the bad. The lighted path lies exposed before us, and the rocks and crevices of the wayward slopes are also illumined for our notice and safety.
A faith that is hidden from the world is not faith at all. The world hides its sin from light, but the elect soul in Christ is a light unto himself. “”Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
But isn’t Christ the Light of the world? “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Well, aren’t the two text above in contradiction one with the other? Not at all when we consider that Christ is the Sun of Righteousness: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;” (Malachi 4:2), and, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star (our Sun) arise in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)
So, how does this mitigate the seeming conflict of Matthew 5:14 and John 8:12? It is simple and glorious! We have no light whatsoever apart from that with which we are indued by Christ. But how are we, then, the Light of the World? It is because we, like the moon, receive our Light from our Sun of Righteousness. Our Light is not self-generating as is His. So, our light is a reflected light for all to see when properly revealed to those around us.