I can remember when I was a child watching this cartoon show where the shadow was doing the opposite of what the object was doing. I thought to myself how crazy that was but for some time, I found myself checking my own shadow to see if it would do the opposite of what I was doing. To no surprise, it was always copying me; whatever I did my shadow did also. My shadow did not have a mind of it’s own, it only did what I did. If I raised my hand, the shadow of my hand was raised. If walked my shadow would move also. My shadow was my shadow.
“…and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.’”
We are all familiar with the story of the woman at the well. Maybe it was a story you heard in Sunday school and it just stuck with you because it was the first story you ever read in the Bible. Maybe it is because Jesus spoke to a Samaritan and you were challenged to go beyond your culture boundaries to share the gospel, or maybe the fact that a woman heard from Jesus and went and shared what she heard with men and they believed. There may be several reasons why this story stands out to you but I would like to focus on the last verse. After Jesus had stayed with the Samaritans for a while, they said that they no longer believe because of what they heard from the woman but because they had heard the words of Jesus for themselves.
They were no longer basing their belief of what the woman had said or from the woman’s life experience but they were able to experience and hear Jesus’ words for themselves. Because of what they saw in the woman and heard from her, they wanted it for themselves. After spending time with Jesus themselves they realized that the Samaritan woman was only the shadow or a voice to the Truth and were brought into the wonderful revelation that Jesus was the object (The Savior of the World), just as the woman had came to know Him.
This is what Jesus had in mind when died on the cross and was raised from the dead, that upon believing in Him, He would give us a new Life (His Life) so that that we would live in perfect union with Him and experience hearing His words spoken to us moment by moment, experiencing His life through us. John 14:20 and John 15:4 talks about us abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us, the perfect union between Christ and us. Abiding in Christ means no longer living in the shadows of what others have said and what they have experienced. We can now experience Christ for ourselves!
Take a shadow for example; it only does what the object does. Jesus said it best in John 15:19, “I only do that what I see my Father doing, I do not act on my own accord.” Of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 16:13, He would not speak on His own accord but only what He hears. The Holy Trinity, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit always operated as one! There is to only be one source or object of our faith and that is Jesus Christ!
As parents and leaders, whether at work, community, church or wherever God has us, we are not to be the source or the answer for life but Christ himself. Many times we put ourselves as the source or the one people should trust for their hope, and in some cases we do this without even knowing it. We find ourselves wanting people to come to us for information and direction but failing to point people to Christ allowing Him to be their true source for life. There is only to be one source and that is Jesus Christ Himself; that was made clear when He said in John 14:6, “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life.” He has graciously equipped us with His life but yet we are still directed to point people to Christ and not ourselves. We are to come alongside and bear one another’s burdens and help that person to realign their focus on Christ. When we begin to think we are the source for people and their problems, we are setting ourselves up as god and without saying it but indirectly we begin to desire to be praised for what we know or have done.
I noticed this in my own life while raising my two daughters. As they grew I took the time to teach them about God and what Christ did for us and how the Holy Spirit was given to them to empower them to live the Christian life. As I continued to teach them and they got older, without even knowing it, I was beginning to desire to be the source of information for my girls. I wanted them to learn from me and know that I had the answers. I was putting myself on a pedestal, an Idol to them. Then one day, God had me share a failure of mine with them. Despite the doubt that crept in; I was thinking this would hurt their image of me, I said yes to God and what He wanted. I confessed to them. Sharing this, I felt at first I had let my girls down, but God quickly showed me that I had really shared my life with them and that it helped them to live. What I really did was tear down an idol. This taught them that their father was not perfect but that together we would put our trust in God and Him alone. There is only one person that they need to put their trust in and that is Christ Himself. He is the only one who is able to save and He is the one who will never let them down. Through that moment of sharing with them and putting my trust in God to be the one to keep us, our relationship has grown stronger and deeper. They no longer saw me as the superhero and I no longer needed to be the superhero. They saw that I too needed to wholly trust God as well.
You may be that person who wants to be the source for people and their problems for those in your circle. You may feel as though you have to be strong and never show weaknesses, or the one who has to be perfect in everything you say and do, never showing your failures. Maybe you feel you have to always had to give the perfect answer and have all the correct solutions to everybody’s problems. This may be wearing you down and the burden is very heavy to carry, there is an answer to this and the answer is Jesus Christ. Allow Him to not only be your source but to those He has entrusted you to as well, in this our Father in Heaven is glorified. We are messengers as we reflect Christ to the world we live in. It is OK to be the SHADOW and not be the Object, THE SHADOW OF CHRIST. For in Him we live and have our beings, Acts 17:28.
Take a moment and think about your own relationship with Christ. Are you someone who only reflect or repeats what you have heard someone else say? Are you basing your belief solely on someone else’s experience? There is nothing wrong with this as one grows in their walk with Christ but Christ wants to have His own intimate personal relationship with you where you talk and experience Him for yourself. If you feel that you are a shadow of someone else other than Christ then it is time to trust God to change the way you are thinking. Start by thanking God for those people who have shared their relationship with Christ and their experiences with you. Next, thank God that He wants to talk to you and wants you to experience His life flowing through you. This is a faith transaction. Colossians 2:6 states, just as you received Him (Christ) so walk in Him. How did we receive Him? Eph. 2:8 by Grace through faith!
Now take time to enjoy this sweet lovely union with Christ for He paid a great price for us to be able to enjoy Him! He paid the ultimate penalty for our sins with His life but He now lives so that we can live also in a beautiful relationship with our Heavenly Father.
May we say with the Samaritans: “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”