Monday, March 15, 2010


Shadows are something with which everyone is familiar, but I have never given them much thought. The Bible uses the word thirty-four times, about half of which refer to the "shadow of death." However, the same Hebrew root is translated "shade" forty-five times. When translated "shade," it is almost always used in a positive sense. Perhaps the two most recognizable verses about shadows use the term in a positive and a negative sense. James 1:17 uses it to describe the faithfulness of God Who gives us good gifts. Psalm 23:4 speaks of the dreadful "valley of the shadow of death." Even in that valley, God is present to protect and encourage the traveler.

I can remember shadows playing a negative role in two movies, in Phycho and in The Wizard of Oz. The first was used to create suspense (another word for fear), and the other was used to create the illusion that the Wizard was huge and formidable (again to produce fear). Movie buffs probably know of several more examples, but I suspect that they are intended for the same effect.

There are dozens of superstitions about shadows, but I will not take the time to address them. Some of those reading this post may even believe in a few. If you do, you might want to consider the definition of "superstition." Much like the fear of shadows, fear of superstitions is irrational. Shadows have no power or ability to do anything. For centuries, people feared eclipses as ominous signs that the gods were angry. Today, most people understand that an eclipse is caused by the Earth casting a shadow on the moon, or visa versa. It is clear that nearly all shadows have no power to harm, but they might be a warning of something or someone that could. As in Psalm 23, a shadow can cause one to place his trust in God. Oh, if only every shadow had that effect!

There is one kind of shadow that is deadly. Because shadows are the result of something blocking the light, darkness is allowed to exist. Christians know that God is Light (1 John 1:5). Christians know that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12). Christians know that the Gospel is light (Philippians 2:15). And, Christians know that they themselves are to be light (Matthew 5:14). The problem is that often Christians tend to block the light instead of being lights (Matthew 5:15). When we act like the world, we cease to serve as lights. Worse than that, we block the light of God and His Gospel from being manifest and thereby hinder the salvation of lost souls. So, if you are continually walking in the flesh, and not in the Spirit, do me a favor; don't tell people you are a Christian. Satan, false teachers, and religionists cast enough shadows without Christians living as hypocrites. Quit casting shadows and be the light Jesus intended you to be.

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