What does it mean when someone says “that image is rich.”
To me that means that the image is full of significant meaning. An image is a representation of something. The image may be a real thing that you can pick up and hold but to you it represents something else, if it is a “rich” image. In this case, it becomes a meaningful, significant representation for me.
In the pages of Chapter 5 the image Dr. Willard uses is the image of the Holy Spirit as a candle.
Let me explain why this is a “rich” image for me.
I see my soul as a house. Stay with me here before you go away and say “this guy is a nut.” I have many rooms in my house, many facets of the person that God has made. Some rooms are very useful, some are for looks, some rooms are necessities. But they are all me.
One thing I can tell you about my image of my soul as a house is all my rooms can be comfortable. Also all my rooms can be neat or they may become cluttered. They can be clean or they may be dirty.
Where does the candle come in?
The candle shines a light in my house.
Repeatedly on pages 99-103 [my 1999 InterVarsity Press edition] Dr. Willard speaks of the candle of the Holy Spirit. He cites Proverbs 20: 27 “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” He writes “the spirit of the individual truly is the “candle of the Lord,” in the light of which we see ourselves and our world as God sees.”
What is he getting at?
God sends us special messages via our thoughts if we seek Him. This is the Holy Spirit manifested in human thought, the “still small voice.”
He writes, “Those who begin to pray that God will enlighten them as to the nature and meaning of the processes that go on in their own soul will begin to understand. They will begin to see their spirit functioning as the candle of the Lord.”
To me that is so meaningful.
This is the nature of images though. Just because they work for one person does not mean that they work for another. Some people don’t see the Holy Spirit as a candle at all.
I must be truthful.
I am glad Dr. Willard writes of this because I want light to shine within my soul. I want to be real to people. I want to be real with myself. I don’t want to be comfortable in the rooms of my home, especially if my rooms have grown cluttered and dirty. I want the light to shine brightly as I put things in order and sweep out the dirt.
And I want God to take his candle and show me rooms I have not yet explored.
Too often, we get so comfortable where we are. Where we are is so familiar. It is so warm and cozy. I don’t know about you but we get so used to existing in the same places in our homes. People who sell carpet talk about “wear patterns” which is just a fancy way of saying that we wear out carpet due to the paths we take every day in our homes. We wear out furniture by sitting in it the same way every day. For example, we have a very nice couch in our home. I tend to sit in the same spot a lot. I put my body on that spot the same way. Over the years, that spot has developed an unusual quality. There must be a small spring inside the upholstery that has come lose. When I get up the couch makes a little popping sound. When others sit there it does not happen. Much to my wife’s dismay, she hears it when I get up to leave “my spot” on the couch. It is not that loud but it is audible.
Why do I elaborate on this?
I want a new place to sit.
I want a new path to walk.
I want to find new rooms in my house.
Let’s go further. Not only do I want this, I need this.
How can this happen? I must follow the urging of the Holy Spirit [God’s Holy Spirit] as He communicates to me about new challenges He wants me to undertake.
You see, I don’t think He wants me to stay the same.
I don’t think He wants me to get too comfy.
I think He is beckoning me on to new opportunities.
What do I have to do?
See His candle and follow Him.