Light falls on the dirty stains
Iron ore is melted at very high temperatures. The process releases all the dirt, which can then be removed easily. After cooling, the end product is clean steel. While it is still iron ore, it contains a lot of dirt, but it is not visible. Only after it has been heated, the dirt becomes visible and can be skimmed off.
There is dirt in all of us, but we don’t always see it. Often we don’t even know about it, because it has become so intertwined in us. But the closer you move to Jesus, the more visible the dirty stains become. Jesus’ light shows up our sin and we become aware of all the wrong deeds in our lives. CS Lewis said: “It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.” Paul saw it the same way: 19What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it.
You see, you cannot be close to Jesus and not see your sin. Every time you go in the wrong direction, a small voice points it out to you. You know it’s wrong, but you don’t have the brakes to stop. Jesus died on the cross for this sin. As we move closer to Jesus and start recognising the sin, we learn to take it to the cross, because that is where we can give it to Jesus.
Paul wondered out loud what all our sin does to Jesus: 17… And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. What wonderful news. Jesus has already conquered sin. It doesn’t matter how much sin we take to the cross, it does not affect Jesus. He has paid for it already.
This is the crux of our faith. Jesus died for our sin. He was victorious and therefore bore the punishment for the wrong things we do. Now we can live freely. We no longer have to be afraid where we will end up one day when we die. No, we can be assured that we will go to heaven. We must believe it in our hearts and our lives must show it.
20 Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me.
This text must be at the centre of our existence. Everything we do must centre on Jesus. Every moment of the day we must try to move closer to his light. We must look at the dirty stains deep inside us that are shown up by His light and then we must get rid of those stains. Jesus wants to make us as clean as possible.
And sometimes, if the world makes life hard for us, Jesus may use those times to start the pot boiling so that the impurities hidden deep inside can rise up to the surface to be skimmed off. Then life becomes lighter and full of peace and joy.
From today onwards, let’s live exactly like this: 20 Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me.
Let others see it and long to live like that.
How close is Jesus’ light to you?
Do you see the dirty stains?
What are you going to do to get rid of them?
Lord, thank you for being the light in my life. Shine your light so that I can be a light in the lives of others. Amen