Have you ever turned on a light switch and had one of the light bulbs blow? If it’s in a room that you’ve been in before, you notice right away that it’s darker. It’s not as light as it should be. It’s harder to see. It doesn’t seem right.
But as time passes and the broken bulb goes unreplaced, you start getting used to the new normal. Your eyes adjust. It’s not so bad. And if it’s hard to replace the bulb, you may decide that you like the room a little darker anyway. The broken light bulb is now a part of mood lighting.
Broken light bulbs are like sin in our life.
At first, the sin is dark and concerning. We know we shouldn’t do it. We know we shouldn’t let it continue. It’s harder to see God. It’s harder to stay close to others we know are following Him. But as time passes and we let the sin remain, we adjust to it. It’s not really all that bad, especially compared to what other people are doing. And we begin to embrace it. It’s fun. It’s daring. The dark is more alluring. Being in the light is overrated.
But here’s truth: sin is deceitful.
A few too many martinis. Sex with our committed boyfriend. A little pot to unwind on weekends. Another shopping spree on credit cards. What’s so bad about that? It’s not that big a deal. We’re just trying to feel better. So a light bulb blows and things get darker. Once we let down our guard and begin to rationalize that our sins are okay, we’re at a new place of normal. We adjust to it. We like it. We lock away feelings of guilt and regret so we’re clear to keep going in our sin. Then another bulb blows. And the lights start going out one by one.
Until one day we wake up and realize this isn’t where we want to be. This isn’t where we should be. And this isn’t what God had planned for us.
All of us struggle with the lure and deceitfulness of sin.
And we see it over and over in our culture. People who have it all––wealth, a bright future, supportive family, impeccable reputation––and then they throw it all away to sit among broken light bulbs. Businessmen and politicians cheating on their wives. Housewives having affairs with people at church. Rebellious kids feeling entitled. College students failing out after being freed from their parents’ rules at home. Thirty-something girls thinking they should be married with kids by now and doing anything to fill the void.
This reminds me of the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The younger son of a wealthy man has it all––a large inheritance, a secure future, a loving father––and yet it isn’t enough. The deceitfulness of sin comes in. He wants more. He wants to have fun. He wants to see the world and live instead of being stuck in the family business. So he demands his half of the estate from his dad. Then he takes his fortune – Armani suits, red sports car, diamond-studded watches, over-stuffed crocodile wallet, extreme investment accounts–– and he sets off for the land of adventure. And he squanders everything he has on wild living. He loses everything. And he ends up working as a laborer feeding pigs in a muddy, third-world country field. He’s starving, wishing he had what the pigs have. He’s at rock bottom. He’s bankrupt.
We do the same thing. We may not be financially bankrupt, but many of us are spiritually bankrupt. We’ve been living under broken light bulbs. We’ve squandered everything we had on wild living. We’re dealing with the consequences. We’re at rock bottom.
So what happened to the prodigal son?
It was like a light bulb went on. He finally came to his senses and decided to go home. He knew that whether or not his father would accept him back as a son, it would be far better to be back in the fold than to be out in the cold, dark wilderness alone.
God tells us this story for a reason. He knows the human heart. He knows that we are His prodigal children. It’s time for us to replace the broken light bulbs in our life and come to our senses. It’s time to let go of our sin and embrace God.
It’s time to go home to God and find restoration, peace, and new life in the light of truth.
“‘When he finally came to his senses…’” Luke 15:17 (NLT)
May I pray?
Father God, in one way or another we are all prodigal kids. We think the world is our oyster and we want to go taste of it. We think we deserve more in life than what we have, so we pursue our desires to try to feel better. But in the end, we feel more empty than before. We’re scared, alone, cold, and hungry for hope. We’re bankrupt. Father, forgive us for our sins. Open our eyes to its deceitfulness. Give us the courage to replace the broken light bulbs in our life so we can see what’s in the darkness, and walk forward in Your light to true freedom. Amen.
Q4U: Are there any broken light bulbs in your life that need to be replaced?