Have you ever been outside on a bright sunshiny day and all of a great big shadow covers you like a blanket? You look around to see what is causing the shadow in the middle of the day only to realize a great big cloud is passing overhead, and its shadow was being cast upon you. I want you to think about that image for a moment. Think of how that shadow makes you feel in that moment. Does it cast a bit of fear in your heart from the sudden darkness it brought? Does it bring a sense of coolness, giving you a break from the summer’s heat, or maybe it actually brought about a chill, because the temperatures were a little cooler on that fall afternoon…
Now imagine YOU are that shadow….What kind of shadow do you cast on others?” Is it anger, fear, rest, relief, or joy…
Let me give a few examples of the different shadows we can encounter from day to day…
Shadows can make some afraid…fear comes from the unknown and the concern for danger.
A little child is often scared at night because the shadows being cast upon his bed. He doesn’t know that it’s only the light from the hall casting the shadow on the wall. He imagines a “boogeyman” is sneaking by.
A young girl gets frightened as she walks down a deserted street at night as shadows seem to lurk around every corner. She has a concern for her safety and longs to be in the security of her own home.
To some, shadows can bring relief…relief from the blistering heat and the bright, overbearing sun in the middle of summer. That shadow will cool the brow and soothe the tension.
A farmer seeks refuge in the shade after a long, hard day’s work, taking a break to catch his breath before the evening’s done.
A child seeks solace from the overbearing sunshine on the heated shore. The shade brings comfort and relaxation; so, he might go run and play again.
Yet, to some, that same shade is further pain and bitter wind on a cold and dreary day. On a winter’s day like we had last week, the shadows only bring more misery and bitterness to an already blistering, below freezing day.
To the young, these same shadows can mean a time of playful figures dancing on the wind. These shadows can be translated into beautiful stories and testimonies of happy endings and even fantasies as the children make shadow boxes and hand motions creating animals, faces and even figures with the light and darkness.
So, you see, there are so many conclusions for shadows. Some good, some not so good. It all depends on how that given shadow causes a person to feel…
If you will notice in each of these scenarios that I’ve listed, it wasn’t the source of light that caused the differences of feelings within the person who received the shadow, and it wasn’t even the person, necessarily, as I mentioned, there were children and adults, alike, who responded with a good or bad feeling, but rather, it was the OBJECT through which the shadow was cast!
When we are in the light of the Son, we have the choice to be a “good” shadow or a “bad” shadow.
Your talk can cast your shadow of doubt as you spew negativity and gloom on an already dreary land. Or your talk can cast your shadow of faith as you speak of God’s goodness, His grace and His faithfulness.
Your actions can portray your hope in God above. Your smile can cast a shadow of relief on a weary soul. Or your actions can show your very doubt of His eternal abilities!
In these moments, when I see or hear believers casting “dark” shadows on other believers, I have to ask, “Where is the very hope to which we cling? HE is the Author and Finisher of our faith! We are conquerors through Christ who strengthens us! We can live victorious, in Jesus Name!” We must cast shadows of HOPE, of JOY, of LOVE, of LIFE!!
In the book of Genesis, Abraham cast a shadow of diligent obedience…in sacrifice, he was obedient…in directives (when told to “go”), he was obedient.
Throughout the Psalms and in the history of I & II Kings, King David cast a shadow of passionate worship…in victory, he worshiped passionately (ark of covenant brought home)…in sorrow, he passionately worshiped (death of child)…even after sin, in repentance, he passionately worshiped (Psalm 51)
Daniel cast a shadow of fervent prayer…when intimidated by Nebuchadnezzar, when threatened by the Kings’ court officials, and even when he was about to be devoured in the lions’ den, he fervently prayed.
The Apostle Paul cast a shadow of zealous and bold witness throughout his ministry in the NT…when faced with trials (before Caesar) and faced with imprisonment (in various places).
Even Peter cast a shadow when faced with others’ needs (remember, his shadow cast healed the sick?).
These are the ways that we should cast our shadows upon others. These men have given us examples of what kind of “shadows” to be…
I want to leave you the question with which I began, “What kind of shadow are you casting, or going to cast, for others to follow?”
Anxiety – Is it too tall, too big for them to ever feel success?
Fear – Are there too many expectations, too many demands, or is it only a fraction of what you have received?
Doubt – Is it too small, limiting their dreams to your abilities and only the things which you have achieved?
Anger – Is it full of strife and anger, grouchiness and negativity?
Insescurity – Is your shadow too limited by your own faults and failures that they cannot see Jesus within it?
Or is it a Shadow of….
Confidence – Or is it an inviting shadow, allowing them growth, maturity and wisdom to gain? Rest & Strength – Drawing them close to learn, to develop, to expand and add to their own thoughts and dreams?
Joy – Making them laugh at the face of danger, brandish their swords before the enemy, rejoicing for the days and dreams to come?
LIFE – A shadow that brings animation to their own as the two blend to become one that looks a whole lot like the Savior whom we serve?
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
If we are living a life that is knelt at the foot of the cross, and if we are daily turning toward the cross; then, our shadows will become that of the cross! When the cross is before us, in the LIGHT, which is the Son, we no long are seen, but the cross is seen!!
Let our shadows become the cross; then, all those who follow will only see JESUS!