We are half way through lent…. Thus far we have addressed:
- Sin is destroyed or sin will destroy, your confession determines the destiny. This demonstrates our confession about suffering.
- Convicted by the Spirit=Freedom. Convicted by the Law=Judgment. This demonstrates our Faith through suffering.
- Thirsty people dwell on their needs; thankful people dwell on their knees. This demonstrates our Peace in suffering.
As we turn this corner in Lent and suffering we are given hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. This light is the very promise that God has not left you or abandoned you in pain and suffering. Rather, Jesus as the great shepherd will lead you to the still and quiet waters, even as you may currently find yourself in the valley of the shadow of death. The reality of walking in the shadow of death is that, there are no shadows unless the light is shinning. So when you are in the valley of the shadow of death, it means that the enemy has “stepped” in between you and the light. This act of intrusion is never without the awareness and guidance of the shepherd’s rod and staff. It merely serves as a reminder to walk in imitation of Light, rather to move in bitterness inviting the darkness to find a home in our hearts.
Back in December – I brought to light the issue that your life is affected by the choices of others, even to the point that your life is impacted by your parent’s choice as “when” to conceive you. (This unique characteristic is what makes every person in the kingdom an outlier, for there is no one but you, who has your story. God does not make mistakes, and there is no “accident” in his eyes.) The difference between your life being impacted & affected verses condemned & controlled by other’s choices, is at the heart of the debate between Jesus, the Pharisees and the man born blind. The Pharisees’ are stuck, needing to explain suffering blindness being a condemning act, as a result of sin… in the man who is born blind. While all sin causes suffering, not all suffering is caused by sin. This healed man need not remove his past blindness from his witness, but rather now it shall be as means to share the light. The Pharisees are emphatic that the cause of this man’s blindness (suffering in their opinion – certainly not PC today) is the parent’s sin. And for them there is nothing to highlight, rather this must be concealed and judged. Jesus clearly rejects this and goes on to say, that this suffering took place so that the works of God might be displayed in him. The point there as well as here is that it requires more power to “Stand” in Adversity, then to “Advance” in Shalom. The blind man could simply confess sin (his or his parents, true or not), and not be thrown out, but he stands in the midst of Adversity.
Thus we must trust the Designer of our process, rather than finding our own easy way out. There is redemption for everyone’s story – we must simply walk in the light. Hence last week – Thankful people are on their knees – and there is thanksgiving in suffering when you see the light, while thirsty people are aware of their needs, but this only leads to darkened thinking, rather than confessing “I shall not want”. To complain about the darkness is to focus on what is lacking and desired rather than an awareness of what is being given. What is being given this week is LIGHT. (Gen. 1:3-4, Isaiah 60:19-20, Psalm 119:105, Matthew 5:14-16, John 8:12, Acts 26:18, 1 Thess. 5:5-6) The call is to walk in the light, so that deeds of darkness shall be exposed. (Isaiah 5:20, 9:2, John 3:19-21, 2 Cor. 4:4, Ephesians 4:17-18) When deeds of darkness are exposed, we need not fear, be shamed, nor worry of guilt, rather when deeds of darkness are revealed; it is only because the Light has come.
For Samuel, the light comes as Saul is passed over as King, and David is anointed. (Samuel never wanted to anoint Saul, but it was at God’s direction and the people request, now Samuel sees the light.) While Saul’s actions reveal the darkness of his heart. (Saul feared man more than God) David’s sins do not remain in darkness; rather he is proven by the light. The contrast between the two is not the degree of “darkness”, for it makes little sense as to why Saul’s deeds of darkness, (1 Samuel 11:4-5, 13:13-14, 14:24-45, 15:3-9) are more “offensive” that David’s. (2 Sam. 6:1-8, 11:1-26, 24:1-4) In fact, there is no degree of darkness. As Ephesians points out – it is not that we walk in deeds of darkness, it is that we once were darkness. This exposes the key to the Principle this week – The Blind man was once in darkness and is no more. He is redeemed and perfected, his eyes are opened and he sees Light. (This is the answer Jesus gives Nicodemus regarding the Kingdom – John 3:3-5) The healed “blind” man is made perfect, for perfection has been granted to him. This does not that dictate that he will always walk in perfection, but he must no longer fear the darkness. The Light has come! For David the light has come, for Saul darkness never left him. Even before he was made King – he was hiding in the “darkness”. (1 Sam. 10:20-22)
When you are hiding, it is because the light has come, and you prefer the darkness. (John 3:19) There is nothing to fear, whether it is in your past, present or future… walk in the light for He is in the Light. For in this light, perfection is granted, freedom enjoyed, and the Kingdom is opened unto you. This is described as living in goodness, righteousness and truth.
The work of the Spirit is to produce in you a love for the Light. Do you desire for this love to grow? If so, it is counter-intuitive, for the light to grow, you must find peace with the darkness. You can not outrun the darkness, but the light will overcome the darkness. This is how Jesus closes the passage in the gospel of John. 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. Therefore:
1. Practice Confession of sin – don’t let anything remain in the darkness. This is not simply a call for public confession, but as James 5:16 attests, there is power in accountability and confessing your sins to another.
2. Practice Celebration of thanksgiving – read last week’s post and be on your knees in the midst of suffering not seeking (only) deliverance, much rather seek direction and discipline.
3. Practice Contributing light – This is the call to foster, goodness, righteousness and truth as a way of your life. While you cannot produce these things, however you can focus your energy in the areas where the Spirit is leading such work.
If you don’t desire for a love for the light to grow in you… please message me and let me know how it is that you spend the time reading this blog…. Grace and Peace unto you!