A simple definition of the term “photonic barrier” could be a “wall of light,” and depending upon your perspective that could either be a positive or a negative thing.
When our eyes are suddenly confronted with a radically different level of light their capacity for sight is instantly diminished. If you’re in an office building at night, for example, and there is a sudden loss of power you’re going to be essentially blind until your retinas can open far enough to allow you to use ambient light. Depending upon how much of that there is, you may or may not have useful vision.
I remember visiting Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. At over 140 miles, it is the longest cave system known in the world. At one point our guide turned off all the lights and we were plunged into absolute darkness. Deep underground, there IS NO ambient light; and so we were totally blind. After some time had passed, the guide asked his assistant to turn on her flashlight. Even though she was close to 100 meters away from the group, her lamp provided enough light for us to see her and to make out those persons who were closest to us. When one is in utter darkness, even a small light appears to be bright.
The other side of that coin is not the removal of light, but the INSERTION of a massively brilliant one. Back to our office building example. If you’re in an office building at noon on a sunny day, you’ll likely be able to see well. But if someone were to suddenly shine a 5,000 lumen flashlight at your face you’re going to be essentially blind … again. When that massive brilliance hits your retina, the photoreceptors in your eye will overwhelm your optic nerve. That’s a photonic barrier. It blocks you from seeing anything else. The effect it has on your brain is disturbing, even temporarily immobilizing.
The brightest flashlight in the world can be yours for a mere $700 dollars. At max power its 100,000 lumens will fry an egg, light paper on fire and grill your eyeballs. It has active fans and a built-in liquid cooling system so it doesn’t burn up in your hand. It can throw a focused beam of light up to 1350 meters. In short, it probably has the power to stop anything with eyes dead in its tracks. I keep a VERY BRIGHT light (though nothing close to 100,000 lumens) very close to my firearm. The ability to blind an attacker with a photonic barrier while engaging your weapon can be a life-saver.
So, what does ANY of this have to do with a walk of faith, you may ask.
Well, today’s verse says LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE OTHERS. Let’s talk about why. And how.
Matthew adds some additional context to today’s verse. Jesus has told the people gathered to hear Him, “People don’t light a lamp and then stick it under a bowl.” Of course not! The reason you light a lamp or turn on a light is to increase the amount of light where you are. If you put the lamp under a bowl, you get no value from the light. Jesus said, “People put lamps on lampstands, so it can give light to everyone in the house.”
You may be thinking, “Come on, Jesus, we are not idiots. None of us are walking around turning on lights and then shutting them up behind closed doors.” OF COURSE we’re not doing that !!!! ….. Or ARE WE ??
The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made His light shine in our hearts. So, if you have a faith relationship with Jesus, HIS LIGHT is shining in YOUR HEART. Paul the apostle tells us that though we were FORMERLY darkness, we who know Christ are now LIGHT in the Lord.
In fact, as scary and amazing as it may seem, Jesus said that WE are the light of the world. Are we letting our light shine in the darkness? Or are we hiding behind doors of fear?
And this world, in case you hadn’t looked around you recently, is a very dark place. I won’t tell you how many pictures I’ve received in recent days of people who were executed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Or how many pictures of infants murdered by machetes in South Sudan. Or videos of Christians being beaten INSIDE police stations while officers stand idly by doing nothing. There are some things one can never un-see.
But that is precisely why we — a people for God’s own possession — are chosen to BE LIGHTS in the darkness; so we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. You don’t need to be some 100,000 lumen super Christian that can fry the eyeballs of unbelievers with your mastery of the scriptures. You just need to LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE OTHERS. Because in a very dark place even a small light stands out and offers a ray of hope and direction. When one is in utter darkness, even a small light appears to be bright.
How do YOU get deliberate about being the light you were called to be?
The first step is to make sure you’re truly connected to the LIGHT SOURCE. If you don’t have a faith relationship with Jesus, start there.