Monday, February 22, 2010

"Let . . . "

One of the most beautiful words in the English language that shows up in our versions of the Bible is the word, “Let.” And yet, it’s a little bit of an elusive word because it is not really a translation of any particular Greek or Hebrew word. It is a translation of an idea, however.

We see it pop up in some key verses that I have always appreciated. Paul, writing to the Philippian believers, says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Elsewhere, Jesus, Himself, is quoted as saying it in His Sermon on the Mount, when He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Again, He also said to His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

So what is going on here, and why am I so excited about the word “let”? In English, the word “let” simply means to “allow” or “permit,” or “to allow to pass, go, or come.” What it implies is that the person who “lets” is simply permitting an action that is already in motion to continue to be in motion.

Thus, if I “let” my light shine before men, it’s not that I am trying to produce a light in my life and heart, or that I am trying to set this light in motion. Jesus’ words imply that an external Source has lit a light in our hearts and we are simply supposed to “allow” it to happen.

The same is true of having the mind of Christ. Christ is trying to place His mind in our heads and we are to “let” or “allow” Him to do so. We are not trying to get Christ’s mind by our own efforts. Long before we ever thought about it Christ was trying to give us His mind.

Ellen White, in Christ’s Object Lesson, picked up on this concept as well. In speaking of letting our lets shine, she wrote, “Christ does not bid His followers strive to shine. He says, Let your light shine. If you have received the grace of God, the light is in you. Remove the obstructions, and the Lord's glory will be revealed. The light will shine forth to penetrate and dispel the darkness. You cannot help shining within the range of your influence” (Christ’s Object Lesson, p. 420). The first time I read that my heart was made glad. Not only did it confirm what I had already noticed in scripture, but I view it as good news.

We are not called to manufacture such things. We are not called to manufacture good works, Christ’s mind, lights to shine. We are called to simply “let” Christ do these things in our hearts, minds, and lives. We are to take Him at His word and move forward in faith.

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