I learned a new word this past week and it just might be my new favorite word: bioluminescence. Say that five times fast 🙂

Recently, I enjoyed a trip the the Museum of Nature and Science with my family where there was an exhibit called “Creatures of Light.” Upon entering the darkened space, our eyes adjusted and colorful living things awaited discovery. We delighted in vibrant colors and fascinating creatures.

Bioluminescence is visible light generated by a living organism through a chemical reaction.

Light emanates from living creations of God through bioluminescence. The majority of these radiant beings reside in water. Bright corals of the rainbow spectrum move in the depths of the ocean. Turquoise, magenta, orange, yellow, purple, green, cobalt, aqua, and red glow through the sea. These corals absorb and emit light.

Likewise, more than 80% of the animals inhabiting the depths of the deep blue sea light up the dark waters as they travel, hunt, and mate. Some animals even partner with glowing microbes to radiate brilliant shades of color. Glowworms, larva, fireflies, bony fish, mushrooms, millipedes, plankton, jellyfish, and bacteria represent some of these luminescent creatures.

Bioluminescent organisms showcase great diversity as well as purpose. Some light up to attack food, others to find a mate, and even more, to evade predators. This caused me to muse about humankind, God, and purpose. I couldn’t help but consider that God formed people with great diversity, and yet with one singular purpose.

He made us to shine! Our purpose is to know “the Light of the world” and to emanate His light to the world (John 8:12).

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

God designed us to glow. Our radiance, however, is not just for us, but for God and others. When others behold it, they glorify our Creator. Like all those luminous organisms, God designed us to shine His  light.

How bright is the light of Christ in you?

After spending time in the presence of God, Moses glowed so brilliantly that he needed to wear a veil. Moses literally radiated light. The face of the patriarch emitted a glow because of his encounter with the Lord. Spending time with God brought about a chemical reactions within Moses’ body. He was bioluminescent.

Similarly, Acts 4:13 states that Peter and John were recognized as companions of Jesus by the manner in which they spoke the truth with courage. Spending time with Jesus changed them. It still changes us today! It produces a similar reaction. We become bioluminescent. The beauty and radiance of Christ permeates our flesh and society “sees” something different. Because they can’t put their finger on what it is, they describe it as “good energy, great karma, or a powerful aura.” Nevertheless, the pure radiant glow proceeds from Christ alone.

What brings about the glow? How does the radiance of Christ actually occur?

Science explains the process by which certain living things glow, however, for some shining creatures there exists no explanation, just the observation that glowing actually takes place. For humankind though, the Bible illumines the “what” and the “how” of glowing. Moses radiated by God’s design to signify their mutual encounter. Peter and John shined because they spent time in the presence of Jesus. Similarly, God fashioned you and I to light up the space in which we exist.

We shine and radiate Christ as we spend time with Him.

Again Jesus spoke to the people, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Spending time with Jesus brings life, or as Jesus says, “the light of life.” The life He imparts not only energizes us, but those around us as well. Distractions vie for our attention and devotion, but being with the Light of the world causes all else to diminish. The life we live flows from Jesus.

Why is it then that many who proclaim to follow Christ fail to glow for Him? What causes the light to fade to mere shadows?

Busyness suppresses time meant for reading the Word and worshipping the King of Kings. Fade. Distractions lead us in pursuit of what others and culture deem “more important.” Fade. Sin creates a gap so intimacy with Jesus is stunted and contrived. Fade.

God made us to radiate Him to the world. Carve out time with your Savior. Let Him fill you with His light. Read the Bible for transformation, not just information. Sit in God’s presence and receive His amazing grace.

My prayers for you:
After spending time with Jesus in His Word, abiding in Him, I pray you experience heightened love and compassion for others. Bioluminescence.
I hope you practice stillness with Jesus, listening for His voice and sharing your heart, allowing the great Light of the world to stimulate your passion for those who don’t know Him. Bioluminescence.
May your heart gleam with the contented peace of Christ. Bioluminescence.
When you greet others, I pray you extend the joy of the Lord. Bioluminescence.
Let the strength and courage of the Savior of the world settle in your soul, filling you with courage to speak honestly and gently from His Word. Bioluminescence.
May love for others flow unconditionally and authentically in your attitudes and actions toward others. Bioluminescence.
Humbly serve one another following Jesus example. Bioluminescence.
Live the Gospel message gracefully and vibrantly. Bioluminescence.

You were made to shine! Let the brilliance of Christ cause the “chemical reaction” in your soul to radiate Him to the world.

How’s your bioluminescence?


Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Exodus 34: 29-35
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Acts 4:13
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.


Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.

Rober Elmer. Practicing God’s Presence: Brother Lawrence for Today’s Reader. Colorado Spring, CO, 2005.

Thomas a Kempis. The Imitation of Christ. New York, NY, 1955