June 2, 2019 by Joe Rodriguez
This is the Fire Island Lighthouse. It is an active beacon located on a barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island, New York. The original tower was built in 1826 and stood 74 ft. tall. It was replaced in 1957 with the present tower which measures 168 ft. There is an interesting history behind this lighthouse. Perhaps you will read about it in another devotion in the near future. This post, however, was inspired by an article I came across on a local town website just two days ago. It stated that beginning the first week in June, the lighthouse will undergo a series of tests on the exterior coating to better understand how the building performs structurally and to determine the cause of ongoing problems, including high moisture within the facility, and deterioration of the outer face of brick and shotcrete coating. For this reason, the tower will be closed for a few weeks to ensure visitor safety while the scaffolding and swing staging is in use.
After having my writer’s muse awakened by this article and typing the first few sentences above, I told my wife I wanted to visit this lighthouse before it became inaccessible. After all, it’s not only the subject of this devotion but it is located just an hour and a half drive east from our house. So, we did!
Fire Island Lighthouse, Fire Island, NY. – June 1, 2019
No matter how grounded we may be in God’s word or how spiritually mature we may become throughout the years, there is always a chance that we will succumb to the pressures of living in a morally fallen world. And depending on where we live/work, our degree of involvement in ministry, our physical condition, and/or the influence of the society (politics, culture, media) around us, some of us will experience more of the inevitable troubles Jesus warned us about (John 16:33) than others. Nevertheless, when faced with worldly challenges, we ALL run the risk of developing spiritual fatigue which can actually affect us both physically and mentally.
We all know the importance of eating healthy and exercising regularly. And even if we are unable to perform physical workouts, we know that commitment to balanced diets, certain medications, and regular checkups greatly help treat many of the normal and inevitable consequences of aging/genetics. However, we don’t all take this seriously enough to make the necessary changes. So, we gradually suffer the consequences of what could have been prevented by making wise and practical decisions. Likewise, we all know the importance of praying, reading and applying God’s word, worship, and fellowship. Or do we? Yet, we are not all willing to endure the sacrifice it may call for. So, we gradually also suffer the consequences of reaping what we sow.
When we develop and stay committed to a healthy spiritual lifestyle we can rest assured that we will be better equipped to endure the inevitable setbacks that come along with living a devoted Christian life. Such a lifestyle includes occasionally connecting with God-fearing family members, friends, and leaders for accountability and godly advice. It is when we neglect godly disciplines that our spiritual immune system begins to deteriorate and it becomes evident in our demeanor. And just like the Fire Island Lighthouse, we may need to undergo a series of Holy Spirit-led tests to address the cause of our lax and feeble attitudes, which many a time manifest themselves in the form of apathy.
My visit to the Fire Island Lighthouse was, like all other lighthouse visits, a truly gratifying and inspiring experience. Seeing it from a distance prompted a renewed focus on the importance of standing strong in order to effectively shine the light of Christ. However, as I climbed the 191 steps to reach the lantern room and noticed the deteriorating brick walls first hand, I was also challenged to focus on having regular spiritual checkups in order to avoid deterioration and possible collapse [Read In Danger of Collapse]. Fortunately for this beacon, it will soon go through some extensive structural examinations and receive the necessary care to restore and strengthen it from the inside out.
So, I find myself now praying, “Lord search my heart. Examine my motives, will, and desires. Let them align with your word. Renew my passion for you, your word, the church, and the world. Restore me from the inside out!” Perhaps its time for you too to undergo some spiritual tests. Allow the Spirit of God to examine, diagnose, and administer the necessary treatment.
Prayer: Lord, renew my mind and my heart. If I am found wanting, please reveal whatever is hindering me from growing spiritually and being an effective witness. Help me to faithfully follow whatever you prescribe so that I may remain strong in you and continue to shine the light of your salvation. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24
“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV except where specified.