In reading A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly, I am turned topsy-turvy by the awareness of how often I shirk off obedience. Wow! Those aren’t easy words to write…even harder words to face as my reality.
Kelly describes the surrendered life as “obedient as a shadow.” A shadow has no solidary path. It only follows its source.
This forces me to face up to the answers the question begs in my life: Am I a shadow or a source?
I want to be a shadow…When pride wells up in me, I want to be the shadow of Christ’s humility (Phil 2). When hate, masking itself as apathy or criticism, dresses my heart, I want to be the shadow of Christ’s love (I John 3). When cynicism clouds my vision, I want to be the shadow of Christ’s light and hope (I John 1). But somehow my wants are not getting me the desires for which I long. I continually find myself being my own source of all that Christ is not…and it truly bums me out.
I have to believe that the author of Hebrews had our tendency to be our own source in view when he wrote, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)
If I focus my eyes on Christ, I can’t help but be a mere shadow. One look at Jesus exposes pride for what it really is…idolatry. It is impossible to treasure an idol when you are intoxicated by the One, True God.
A shadow is devoted to the greatness of its source. No one can grab hold of a shadow. What humility would mark my life if I lived in such a way that when people need to grab hold of something (or Someone) certain I would slip through their fingers and they would grab hold of Christ! Oh how I long for others to catch a glimpse of my shadow only to encounter my Savior’s love and hope.
I’m challenged to be a shadow of His light in places where darkness, deception, and double-mindedness prevail. I am challenged to shadow His patience when others are exceedingly intolerant with poor service. (Has anyone else noticed that a declining economy is contributing to worsening customer service? Hooray! An opportunity for Christ-followers to stand out!) I am challenged to shadow His forgiveness and love when coworkers malign or marginlize me.
How about you? Are you more often a source or a shadow?
Today, consider Him…those two words could turn the world upside down.