1 John 1:6,7 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:6-7 ESV
My amazing pastor spoke this scripture during our candle light service Sunday. We lit our candles, and the Holy Spirit started showing me some moments in my life. The light of the candle danced in the wind as I walked back to my seat.
Just over a year and a half ago, I relapsed after a long stint of sobriety. During that stint, I was a soldier for the Kingdom of God. I fought. I prayed I had a hunger for God’s word. Even God’s hardest most embattled soldiers flicker at times. We allow the darkness in this world to overshadow our love for God.
As our pastor lit his candle, then his wife’s and daughters, I walked over to have him light mine. This young preacher has lit my wood on fire so many times. He has kicked me in the but a few times as well. He is not only my pastor but my friend. He always has an ear for me, so the symbolism of him lighting my candle is all too accurate.
What I was not prepared for was the 4 steps back to my family. I turned and took that first step as the candle was big and bright. It was hot because I could see a hint of blue at the base. So true for all of us when we first get saved. We come out of that baptism on fire with our hearts being held by the very hand of the Holy Spirit. Nothing can quench us; nothing can knock us from the grace and will of God.
Then, I took the 2nd step, and then it began to flicker. The ac vent blew right at me like the devil himself blowing out my candle. After I relapsed, I had a friend tell me that if I was a true follower of Christ, I would never have done that. Another one told me he had a dream that I had died a spiritual death. The second one has haunted me for the past year, and a half. So, in our walk, we will fall into darkness at some point. Not everyone’s fall will be for all to see. Most will hide it. No one sees my candle about to burn out, not even my soul mate. In the brief moment in our lives, we begin to believe the lies of the devil rather than the promises of God. So, we fall out of the will of God, so our light fades. As in my case, it almost blows out.
3rd step is the hard part. In any walk of a Christian blocking the lies is the toughest battle we have. I took my had and covered the flame, blocking the wind from touching it. At that moment, I about turned around to relight the candle, but the fire grew, and the candle light was strong again. As we should protect the light inside of us. We have to place barriers and blockades in some cases to stop hearing the lies coming from the devil and his dominions. He will have people believe that what they are saying is helpful but will only drag us down. It is up to us to trust the hand of God in our lives is the one blocking the devil and removing things in our lives to help.
The final step is how often we get to see the last step play out. Being the spiritual leader of my house, have the ability to extinguish or infuse the lights burning in my house. I lit my wife’s first because she is my first responseiblity. She is the first gift from God I had received just at the time I had not realized it. Then, I lit my moms candle. Since my father passed, she is my responsibility, and I have been lacking in that realm. Then, I lit my future son-in-laws who lit my oldest daughter’s. I then lit both my my middle daughters.
The symbolism might not mean much to most. It shows everything that God has blessed me with and the future that my daughters hold. Before I relapsed, my focus was on outward ministry. Video podcast weekly that was growing rapidly. I was a coordinator to help men get back on their feet after recovery from addiction. My biggest focus was as a campus pastor for an adolescent rehab center.
Yes, those ministries I miss and would go back to them in a heartbeat. But, what God is showing me is that he wants me to focus on my family. Preparing them for the world that is coming. More importantly, though, is what is the legacy and the light that I will leave my grandkids and my great grandkids?
Our lights will flicker and seem as they will burn out. What I have realized is that no matter how dem our candles might be when we place it in complete darkness, it’s still lit. To make our lights grow brighter, we must place them next to others to light theirs. Combined, it’s a miracle flame that all can see. By ourselves, we are a flickering candle. When we surround ourselves with other candles, we are a city on a hill. That generation after generation will know and see.