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Ephesians 2:18 ·EXB Yes, it is [For; or So that] through Christ we all have ·the right to come [free access] to the Father ·in [by] one Spirit
A lightbulb of an idea came on in my head this week while teaching a lab class on circuits (yes, pun fully intended!). With your permission, may I take a minute and shed some light on the subject? Thank you for your patience with this old scientist and her love for puns and acronyms and lists and…
When a circuit is set up in series, every point of access to electricity is tied to every other. Thus, if one point in the circuit is broken, every other point is broken also. This is why if one bulb burns out (or is loose) in a string of old Christmas tree lights, none of the bulbs will work. However, if a circuit is set up in parallel, every point is independent of the other. Therefore, if one bulb goes out (or is loose), the other bulbs remain lit. (Yes, “new” Christmas tree lights are set in parallel circuits as to avoid those hours of teeth-gnashing frustration trying to find and replace that one burned-out bulb, so you don’t have to gaze on a tree only halfway lit up with lights.)
Scripture tells me that because of Christ, I have direct access to God (see Ephesians 2:18 and Romans 5:2). Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection on my behalf bestows righteousness on sinful me (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Scripture also tells me that God wants me to come to Him with boldness and confidence because of what Christ has done on my behalf (see 2 Corinthians 3:4 and Ephesians 3:12).
Even my designation as Christian reflects Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, alive and at work in and through me (John 8:12). As a Christian, I am commanded to not hide this living light under a basket but to let it shine as set up and out for all to see (see Luke 8:16). And I am reminded that this light will not just pierce the darkness that threatens but turn it into light itself as it brings the promised joy of the morning (see 2 Samuel 22:29 and Psalm 65:8).
With all of that in mind, could I then say that my lightbulb life as a Christian is set in parallel circuitry with my Good God? Christ is my direct connection with God. There is no step-down in power from God or position in Christ to me. There’s no passing along from God to one person to another and another and then to me. There is no need for priest, prophet, pastor, program, or penance to establish or maintain this direct connection with Almighty God. Thus, no matter if others around me in this string of life dim or go out altogether in faith, I am equipped to remain bright with belief, hope, and courage.
This parallel circuitry, this direct connection with God is both a gift and a responsibility. A gift in that nothing is powerful enough to break between Christ and His righteousness imputed to me. A responsibility in that anything is potentially enough to come between Christ and His reign in my life. Christ’s gift at the Cross was given once for all (see Romans 6:10). In contrast, my response and responsibility of taking up His cross is required every single moment (see Matthew 16:24).
Sanctification is a series of choices pointing back to the Cross and leading to eternity thereby, making this moment a holy opportunity for growth in faith in my Christ. This moment is a sacred opportunity for my heart, soul, mind, and strength to be positioned in parallel in what my Jesus wants to do in and through me and thus, empowered to do whatever work He has set before me for obedience (see Matthew 22:37 and 19:26). Yet, if I am not in close contact with Christ, I will not be receiving His strength that energizes far beyond what I can do on my own (see Philippians 4:13). In other words, if my lightbulb life isn’t in constant contact and communication with my Christ, I’ll be sitting there loose and without receiving His power to shine bright for others to see in this dark world.
And from personal experimentation, there’s nothing more electrifying in life than taking that next step with my Jesus. So, with both hands firmly grasped on the hem of His garment, I move closer towards Him and His gloriously beautiful light. And there, I bask in the warmth of His lavish love which burns up fear, overshadows guilt, and turns on lightbulb faith. A lightbulb faith that doesn’t run parallel to what I know or understand but ignites that hunger to bring the love and light of my Jesus to those wandering in the darkness all around me, every single day…
2 Corinthians 4:4 CEV The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like.
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written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2023.