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The Light of Fathers

Jesus uses an obvious truth in Matthew 5:14-16 to teach us a powerful lesson about our potential as image bearers of God.  He points out that no one obscures a light by putting it under a basket. Instead, people put a light on a stand so that in its elevated position it is able to illuminate an entire room. Everyone benefits when the light source is elevated. That’s a potent illustration not only for Christian communities, but also for their constituent families, as well as the individuals who animate them. Let us consider, for instance, how it applies to fathers as they live out their image bearing role and carry out their light giving duties as the heads of households (Ephesians 5:23). 

Light in a room allows us to see all of its flaws, dangers, clutter, and grime.  This, in turn, allows us to repair imperfections, to deal with dangers, to order the clutter, and to cleanse the soiled carpets and stained walls. But light also allows us to see, enjoy, and celebrate the vibrancy of a room's natural colors, the beauty of its adornments, and the paths and hallways that take us to its innermost chambers.  Light is essential to a home. If light is essential to a  physical home, then it is absolutely crucial to the operation of a family. When a father has Christ as his light, he is elevated to a position that allows his wife to see and assume her proper role in the family.  If she also has Christ as her light, she will then align with her husband, and the light that each of them carries will be magnified, and they will then provide it to their children. The children will become lit, and the combined light of the family assumes the form of a shining city on a hill in a darkened world. When people encounter such a family, they will see within it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-24). These things will be on display not because they are flaunted, but because they are naturally illuminated. They will be the outgrowth of a father who is both reflecting Christ and bearing his image. He will be a prophet who directs his family toward the word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12). He will be a priest who intercedes for his family in prayer (James 5:16b KJV). He will be a king who provides order, direction, counsel, and protection alongside a queen as they rule with princes and princesses beneath the most high King (1 Corinthians 11:3).

But the only way an earthly father can integrate his family into such a kingdom, is to first submit himself to Christ in every domain of his life, so that he is following his example, by taking on the mantle of humility, power, purpose, and submission to the will and plans of the heavenly father. Since God is light (1 John 1:5), fathers should strive to reflect that light, and ultimately become like it (Proverbs 4:18, Philippians 2:15). So fathers, aspire to reflect Christ clearly, shine brightly, and put the source of your light high so that your family can see it. Illuminate for them a world of darkness, and by doing that, give them sight to see their paths in a world that needs light!

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