Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Come Into The Light

When your sins weigh heavy upon you, come to Me....Man's tendency is to hide from his sin, seeking refuge in the darkness...But I am the Light of the world, and my illumination decimates darkness. - Jesus Calling, May 20th Entry, Sarah Young

As a writer, I sometimes have holy jealousy when someone writes something so moving.  When I read this entry, what stood out of me was that word decimate.  So often I think darkness is part of me, it lives and breathes around me.  I spent many of the first 10 years of my life of faith "fighting" the darkness - my flesh, the world and, of course, the enemy. 

There is absolutely a time and place for that.  I still have to confront those dark corners and spaces of my soul that are not surrendered to the Lord.

Yet what Sarah Young wrote here is the absolute truth.  God's light decimates the darkness, of us, the world and the evil.  Darkness can't overcome light....not even close.  Jesus calls Himself the Light of the world in John 8:12, so I opened that chapter and started reading.  I was reading from The Living Picture Bible, which I actually bought for my girls.  The language is really good, and it is in story form so I can read without getting distracted by verse numbers.

This chapter is especially meaningful because it starts with the redemption of a wayward, broken woman.  I can identify with that in more than a few ways but the clincher for me is (always) verse 9-11:

And the Jewish leaders slipped away one by one, until only Jesus was left in front of the crowd with the woman.  Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers?  Didn't even one of them condemn you?"  "No sir," she said.  And Jesus said, 

Neither do I.  Go and sin no more.

Well, I tell you, I sat on my couch and bawled.  I have tears in my eyes now reading it again.  It never ceases to floor me that the One who had every right to condemn this woman for her condemn me for my sins...did not.  HE IS NOT THE ACCUSER.  We don't have to fight darkness and condemnation because He has already won the battle.  Through Christ's victory on the Cross, proved by the Resurrection, there is NO condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1).  It just isn't part of His DNA.  He affirms this just a few verses down, You pass judgment on me without knowing the facts.  I am not judging you now; but if I were, it would be an absolutely correct judgement in every respect, for I have with me the Father who sent me.

BUT HE ISN'T JUDGING US!!  Do you hear that???  He did not come to punish.  He doesn't come into our lives to do anything but free us.  I wrote these words in my Bible: He is the Truth-Teller.  Even when we don't want to hear it...The more we position and surrender ourselves - even (and especially) when we don't want to or don't understand - the more we listen to HIM....the more free from lies and darkness we become. 

I kept reading John 8 and Jesus hits the bottom line from verses 34-36: You are slaves of sin, every one of you.  And slaves don't have rights, but the Son has every right there is! So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.

He said this because freedom, infinite amounts of it, are available to us in His way of salvation- the ongoing process of walking with His Spirit, of staying close to His Word and living fully free in His Father's grace.  When we get this twisted, it turns into control and legalism.  When humans try to re-define who Jesus is and what He said to do, people get hurt and think God wants to punish us.  You might have experienced that in church and I am terribly sorry for it.

Or maybe you have actually done something, repeatedly, that you know does not please Him (haven't we all??).  So, you run.  You hide.  We stay away because we are afraid of what He will do to us.

In those corners, those closets, those cramped hiding spots, you stay enslaved to darkness.

That is not what God the Father, Christ the Son and Redeemer the Spirit want.

Those three want you free.  They want you walking in the light of life, never walking in darkness again.  Jesus is the light of the world.  You can walk free in and with Him now and forever.

You split the sea so I could walk right through it.
You drown my fears in perfect Love.
You rescued me and I will stand and sing,

I am no longer a slave to fear.  

Those are lyrics from "No Longer Slaves" by Bethel Music.  When you come out of your hiding spot, the Son sets you free to be His brother or sister.  He makes His Father your Father.  It is a miracle, but it is true.  You get a new identity.  But many in our churches don't live into that identity.

Many in our pews and chairs are still in the dark.  They have never fully stepped into the Sonlight of their new identity because the dark is all they've ever known.  It's true it might hurt to surrender.  You might have to let some habits, even relationships go. 

Think of it this way: when I've been in the house for awhile and step outside, I have to close my eyes for them to adjust.  Some days here in Houston the sky is so clear and the sun is so bright, it actually hurts my eyes when I go outside.  But that pain only lasts for a moment and I realize I'm warmer and more comfortable than I was inside.  The sun drenches me in promise and life.  Our bodies need sunlight to survive.

Our spirits, souls, minds and yes, even our physical bodies need Sonlight even more.  We have a chance every day to sunbathe in the Light of the world.  When we do, He will liberate us more and more.  We have to come out of our darkness, coming close so His lovelight can surround us as we walk this earth.

It's the only way to peace.  He is the only way to be purified, cleaned up from the inside out.

It doesn't matter if you've never said the sinner's prayer or have been a saint for 50 years.  There is an opportunity today to walk farther into the light.  Come into it.  Take the hand His offering, letting Him pull you up and into His arms.

Better yet, grab someone else's hand and let Christ pull you both close together. 

Step outside with me.  I promise the weather is fine.

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