"He was a burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
This lasting tribute was said of John the Baptist, by none other than Jesus Himself. Indeed, Jesus also said, "I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matthew 11:11).
This means that each one of us may, like John, be a burning and shining light. But there is a price to be paid. Years ago I heard the great revival preacher, Leonard Ravenhill, say, "The cost of shining is burning." Many want the glow without the heat, but there can be no sparkle where there are not sparks; and there can be no sparks where the hammer of God's word does not strike the anvil of our souls.
The cost of shining is burning. The disciples said, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us along the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?" (Luke 24:32). In yet another place the Bible asks, "Does not My word burn like fire?" says the LORD. "Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?" (Jeremiah 23:29).
As we open ourselves to the igniting power of God's word, all within us that is wood, hay or stubble is consumed by its tireless flame. And then, whatever yet remains that is hardened and unresponsive deep in our hearts is busted loose by the mighty blow of God's hammer -- His living word unleashed in our yielded lives.
Will you let the truth of God's unchanging Word have its way in your life? In your thoughts, your hopes, and your aspirations? In your opinions, your attitudes, and your behavior? In your family, your friendships, and your associations?
If you say yes, you will become a burning and shining light; and you will be counted great in the Kingdom of God.
On the other hand, you can light your own fire and burn out in no time -- with nothing to show for the one life you have lived. Surely you can see the better choice is to yield your heart to Christ and let Him be honored by the light of your ignited life.
And He will say of you on that day, "This one was a burning and shining light."