Ever notice that a window can look perfectly clean until the sun shines in? I’m looking out a window now. I would give it high marks for cleanliness. It doesn’t appear to be smeared or spotted. The vista it displays seems crisp, beautiful in fact. But just a few hours ago a sunbeam shined directly through the window. Suddenly all of the smears, spots, and imperfections were visible. Not just a little bit visible but startlingly and unmistakably visible.
Ever notice that a soul can look perfectly clean until the Son of God shines on it? I think of the Pharisees to whom Jesus pointed out the cleanliness of their exterior and rottenness of their hearts. I think of the serial killers who seemed to lead a normal life but had a deadly secret. I think of all of the times when a pastor or evangelist was brought down by money, sex, or power. But I also think of my own experience and when Jesus shone his light on my soul. What I thought was clean wasn’t. There were spots and smears and dark places.
The Psalmist declared, “For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28, NASB95) Jesus proclaimed, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12, NASB95)
Jesus taught, “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” (Luke 11:33–36, NASB95) Just like a beam of sunlight shining through a window.
What about your window? Is it spotted, streaked, and smeared? Are you sure? The window I saw looked perfectly clean before the sun shined on it. Ask Jesus to shine on your heart, to illuminate and make visible the normally hidden spots and streaks of your soul. Cry with the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23–24, NASB95) The excellent news is that as we see our streaks, spots, and smears, as we confess them to Jesus and ask him to clean us up, He promises to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.