Mortal, you are living in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears to hear but do not hear for they are a rebellious house. – Ezekiel 12:2-3a
Last time we talked a bit about the concept that our own sins, habits, and practices can make us blind to the ways that God is working in the world. Our sins, habits, and practices make us deaf to hearing the word of God.
Our own habits, practices, and ideologies make us blind, often without our recognition, to God’s character and ways. We asked the big picture question: Are there political ideologies, social-economic convictions, cultural values, or church traditions that have become so engrained within the Church that they no longer allow us to clearly see the character of God and the ways that He wants to manifest himself in our lives and in our community?
Today we are going to bring it down to a more personal level….
The Dimmer Switch Principle
The lead pastor at the church I work at has a fantastic analogy for the concept that we are talking about. He calls it “The Dimmer Switch Principle.” You see when we dive deeper into sinful habits, thoughts, actions we are basically turning on the dimmer switch on God. I might not be making myself clear so let me backtrack a bit.
My roommate is averse to light. He hates the light. In fact he light-proofed his room so that no light whatsoever would enter his room when he closed the door to his room. (No he doesn’t do it just because he is weird he does it because he has insomnia.) Anyway this friend of mine has installed a dimmer switch in his room, so he can adjust the brightness of the lights in his room. If he wants to set a worshipful mood he will turn the lights down a bit, if he wants to work on some mechanical stuff he will turn the lights up so he can see better. So he pretty much controls the amount of light his light bulbs emit. However the thing about dimmer switches is that the level of light that is emitted from these bulbs doesn’t change according to discrete levels…its progressive, its gradual, you gradually go from a ton of light to no light whatsoever. Its this gradual adjustment of light that the “Dimmer Switch Principle” picks up on.
The Bible consistently uses the metaphor of light to represent truth/knowledge:
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. – John 3:21
Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. – Isaiah 51:4
So here is how the metaphor works… when God gives us light (i.e. truth) and we respond to it in disobedience, when we bow down to our idols, its like turning the dimmer switch down one level. As we keep responding to God’s truth in disobedience and keep worshiping our idols we keep turning the lights down. The problem with doing this is that the darker the “room” is, the harder it is to see the “details.” Imagine you are trying to put together a puzzle with very small pieces, and the puzzle is a picture of what God is doing in the world. If you respond to truth in disobedience, and “turn down the lights,” its going to be harder for you to see the details in those pieces, and in turn it will be harder for you to see the “big picture.” If you keep dimming the lights it will get even harder to see what God is doing around you! A progressive spiral down into sin will eventually lead to a place where you can’t see a thing. Its this season of darkness that we most often feel God is the most distant. Now he himself hasn’t gone anywhere, but you can no longer see him because you turned the lights off…
So ask yourself….
- Am I dimming the “light” through my disobedience and idolatry?
- Where do I need to stop “dimming” the light?
- Who can keep me accountable to walking in the light?