We all know that moths are attracted to artificial light, which sometimes results in their deaths. But do we know why? Moths are nocturnal. They use celestial lights, the moon and stars, for navigation so they’ll travel in a straight line. Since these lights are so far away, moths use artificial lights when they’re available – wood fires, candles, street lamps, porch lights, lighthouses, etc. Because artificial light is much closer, a patient observer can see it visibly correct a moth’s path. Sometimes this artificial light also makes a moth spiral downward to its death.
Jesus Christ, the celestial light of the world, burns brightly like fire (John 8:12, 9:5). The sun, moon, and stars will be destroyed one day (Revelation 6:12-13, 8:12, 16:8), but the Alpha and Omega is an eternal flame. He appeared to Moses as the Angel of the Lord, in a bush that “burned with fire” but wasn’t consumed (Exodus 3:2).* Ezekiel envisioned God and heaven by the river Chebar in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1). He saw a whirlwind engulfed by fire (1:4), four living creatures like “burning coals of fire” (1:13), and the pre-incarnate Son of God who appeared like fire (1:27, 8:2). Daniel also envisioned God and heaven in Babylon. He saw the Ancient of Days: “His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream … came forth from before him” (Daniel 7:9-10). The eyes of the pre-incarnate Son of God were like “torches of fire” (10:6). John, the beloved disciple and apostle, had the greatest vision on the Isle of Patmos. He saw the Son of God, whose eyes were “like a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14, 2:18, 19:12). “Seven lamps of fire,” or the seven spirits of God, burned before his throne (4:5). Those victorious over the beast and his mark stood on a “sea of glass mingled with fire” (15:2).
The celestial light of Christ is far away. Few men and women see or experience what these four did. Spiritually, artificial light is much closer, but it must never go out. Under the old covenant, the seven-candle menorah burned constantly in the tabernacle and temple (Exodus 27:20). Under the new covenant, through conversion the Holy Spirit resides in us as living temples. In other words, we die spiritually to the filthy moth of our flesh, become new creatures, and let Christ live in us by faith (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 2:20, 6:15). When we fully submit to Christ, the Spirit engulfs us with a holy anointing of fire that spiritually cleanses us (Acts 2:2-3). We then become lights in the world (Matthew 5:14). In this way, we paradoxically travel in a straight line to heaven.
Our light must always shine before the unconverted moths around us so they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). But these moths must do more than fly near the flame. They must also die to themselves and live by faith in Christ. We must not be like the foolish virgins who took no extra oil with them, no heavenly anointing of fire, and let their lamps go out because they trusted in their own works (25:3, 8). When the end comes, we do not want Jesus to tell us, “I do not know you” (25:12).
The Bible’s saints, prophets, apostles, and disciples were spiritual lights in their generations. They constantly studied the Word of God, prayed, or preached. Filled with the Holy Spirit’s anointing, they never let the fire die. Joshua meditated on the law day and night (Joshua 1:8), as did the blessed man of David’s psalm (1:2). Temple singers worked day and night (1 Chronicles 9:33). Anna fasted and prayed both day and night (Luke 2:37). Jesus taught in the temple during the day, praying on the Mount of Olives at night (Luke 21:37). Paul preached, prayed, and made tents day and night (Acts 18:3, 1 Thessalonians 2:9, 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 2 Timothy 1:3). St. Augustine, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, David Brainerd, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, William Carey, Charles Spurgeon, and countless others were also spiritual lights. Some were filled with the Spirit’s fire. All these people lived and died for Jesus in their generations.
Living creatures worship God in heaven day and night (Revelation 4:8). We will do the same thing in heaven (7:15). Why not here and now? The devil accuses us before God day and night (12:10), so we can’t afford not to watch and pray! Where are the spirit-filled believers — ministers like flames of fire (Psalm 104:4, Hebrews 1:7) — who will shine the light of Jesus Christ and see him convert moths into living flames? Where are the Christians who will seek God’s presence day and night through Bible study, prayer, and worship (personal and corporate)? Have we forgotten our spiritual purpose on this earth, namely that we must live for Jesus and bring others to him?
“Night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Darkness will cover the earth, gross darkness the people (Isaiah 60:2). It will become much harder for these unconverted moths to find their way to heaven. But the glory of God will shine on us (Isaiah 60:1-2). Now is not the time to rest! Let us seek God today and shine for Jesus in this wicked generation.
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world
We are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times
— Kathy Troccoli, “Go Light Your World” (YouTube)
* All Scripture verses are NKJV.