I took this photo the other day and loved seeing the beauty of the hibiscus flower reaching toward the light of the sun. I was taken with how transparent the petals were. The light shines through and reveals the outside and the inside.
Light reveals. It just does. That’s the nature of light. It shines, fills, and invades every uncovered space, like it or not. When the light shines through, there’s no hiding. Light invades hidden places and reveals beauty. It reveals the not-so-beautiful as well. It reveals the reality of what’s there.
In the presence of that light, the beautiful hibiscus flower is transparent. Transparent means “allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.” Distinctly seen.
So here’s the thing. Like it or not, we are transparent, or distinctly seen,by God. He sees it all and knows it all. But the beauty of the love of Christ is that although there is nothing hidden from Him, there is nothing which is beyond His redemptive grace Like light that invades the hidden places, the love of Christ can invade the darkest of things in our lives. It reveals the beautiful. It reveals the mess. It reveals it all. We are distinctly seen, or transparent, laid bare to Him. He sees it all, but waits for us to be willing to walk in the light and be fully transparent not only because He sees, but because we want Him to see.
What keeps us from being transparent, from moving toward that ‘light’? Fear of exposure. Yes, what can keep us from being transparent with God, with ourselves, with others, can often be a fear of exposure and how the one who sees us is going to respond to whatever it is that we don’t want to be distinctly seen. But get this. The whole heart of the gospel is about redemptive love that sees, distinctly sees, the heart of the mess, atones for it through the sacrifice of Christ, and redeems. REDEEMS, makes new. Fear builds walls. An understanding of the atoning love of Christ nurtures transparency and tears down walls.
I love what this verse says. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18
God calls us to get real with Him. I love that. He calls us to get real, to get transparent, and then He does the work. We make a conscious choice to make ourselves available to be in that high powered light and to willfully choose His ways, and then He does the atoning, the redeeming, the changing so that what is distinctly seen is His grace and His glory in our lives. It’s a natural progression that begins with our confession and vulnerability and moves toward His redemption and amazing grace.
Like a flower reaching toward the sun, we are called to move towards the light. Knowing that we are loved by Christ? That truth is like a magnet which can draw us nearer to Him out of a response to His love. Light draws a plant in the same way that Love encourages acceptance and transparency. This verse comes right after the one about perfect love casting out fear. Our love for Him is a response in the same way that the movement toward the sun is a natural response for the flower.
Flowers don’t toil or spin or wring their hands. They merely move toward the light and rely on the intrinsic nature of what they were created to be, and are at the mercy for having external needs met. Being transparent before God leads to Him just shining through, being distinctly seen, not because of what I’ve done or not done. Not because of facades or appearances, Not because of a milestones reached or damage done, but because transparency before Him, allows one to be transparent to others and just let His glory shine through.
Maybe toiling and spinning our wheels in an effort to be acceptable isn’t where God’s glory is shown best. Maybe His grace and glory shine through us most when we are merely responding to His grace, like a beautiful flower reaching toward the light. Maybe the transparency we so often fight in an effort to guard ourselves is the wall that keeps others from seeing God’s grace in our lives. Maybe not. But based on my little photo shoot with a beautiful hibiscus, maybe so. Here’s to reaching toward the light of Christ and growing in grace and the beauty that shines through it all so that what is distinctly seen in our lives… is not our beauty, but His.
“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-20
Photo taken on May 24, 2015 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.