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Monday, November 24, 2008

Walking in the Light

We live in a world where people airbrush, spin, whitewash, sanitize, market, strategize, cover up, etc. Why? We live in a world where image and accolades are everything. We want recognition. We want to be adored…..

…I want recognition. I want to be adored. I want people to think well of me. I want glory. I want praise.

Praise and glory do not rightfully belong to me. All praise and glory belong to my God. He alone is worthy. He alone is sincere and righteous and pure in His own right. I am clean, but not because I have done anything righteous or pure. I am only clean because He cleansed me. He took me while I was stained and marred by sin. He took me knowing my sin (my nature, my inclinations, my actions—past, present, and future) and He paid the price for all of it. He cleansed me from the filth of it, it so that I can be pure in His sight and so that I can have peace and relationship with the One who is Pure, Holy, Righteous, and True. He is even doing the work in me to transform me into the image of Jesus the Perfect One so that I not only get “counted righteous” through Jesus’ work, but I get to experience redemption, restoration, and freedom from the sin that burdens me through the process of sanctification (shedding of sin and putting on of Christ-likeness). This is a process that God does in me, that happens gradually over a Christian’s lifetime, and that is incomplete in this lifetime. We get to experience complete freedom from sinfulness on the day that we are finally with Him in glory! What wonderful news!!!

Why then do I still want to look good in the eyes of others? Why then do I mourn damage to my reputation? Why then do I want to be liked and admired—not just so that others would see Christ in me, but so that they would see ME? This is so wrong!

Proverbs 25:27 “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.”

Isaiah 42: 8 “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”

Romans 11:36 “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”


Furthermore, when God is glorified, I have joy, peace, and hope!

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

1 Peter 1: 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Since I want to seek His glory and not my own, it is important that I walk in the light (i.e. that I am real, sincere, and honest with God, myself, and with others rather than trying to look like someone I am not). Here are just some reasons I ought to walk in the light:

1) God commands it (see all the Scriptures below).

2) So that others might see God’s workmanship and goodness in my life despite me, and that this would cause them to give glory where it is rightfully due--to God and not to me….

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

2 Cor 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”


3) So that others might believe in God because of the testimony of what He has done in my life, and so that others would be encouraged that there is hope in Him for them too...

1 Timothy 1:15-17 “15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

2 Cor 1: 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

4) So that I would not be a stumbling block in causing despair in a brother or sister in Christ who sees a false fa├žade of self-righteousness in me while they struggle secretly with their own sin….

Romans 14: 13 ” … but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

Matthew 18:1-5 "At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.5 Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.' 7 'Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!’”

5) To experience forgiveness and freedom in Christ….

1 John 1: 5-10 “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

6) To be aware of and to acknowledge my utter dependence on Him…

2 Cor 12:9-10 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

7) To remain humble, submissive, and ready to receive God’s grace…

James 4:1-9 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

8) So that others in the body can help me (and I in turn can help them as they are honest with me about where they need help)…

James 5:13-18 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 7 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.”

1 Cor 12:4-7 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”


9) To expose myself (motives and actions) in such a way as to enable godly brothers and sisters to speak into my life with truth as they can sometimes see what my deceitful heart refuses to see…

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”

10) So that I do not get puffed up or fall into thinking that I have reason to boast in anything but the Lord…

Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

11) So that I would not find my worth in the accolades of the world, but rather in the fact that I am a daughter of the Most High...

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Matthew 10: 29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Romans 8:14-17 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

12) So that I would worship no other God but the One True God (not myself, not my accomplishments, nor any other thing)...

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please forgive me for all the ways I try to steal your glory by desiring affirmation from the world rather than from you! Forgive me for wanting to hide my sin like Adam and Eve rather than to come into the light and receive your forgiveness and restoration and to show others how gracious you are to someone like me. Help me to walk in the light. May you ever get the glory in my life as you enable me to walk in the light. May my life be an encouragement to others because of what you have done for me and what you can do for them. I love you Lord. I thank you that in your glory I get joy, peace, and hope. I thank you that the more you are glorified, the more we get to experience joy, peace, and hope. Be glorified in our lives. Help us to be real with one another—Christians and non-Christians alike. May we always be led by your Spirit in what we share with others. May your Spirit produce sincerity in us. May your Spirit produce real and sincere fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and the like. Help us to stop trying to fake it. In Jesus’ Glorious Name, Amen.

2 comments:

The McFarlane Family said...

Amen!

Joslyn said...

Opposite sides of the world, same conviction this past week. Mine came via Nov. 22nd Utmost for His Highest devo that deeply struck a cord. Thank you for this timely post and to Him be the glory!