Living In The Light

Dear Friends,

When it seems that our world is falling apart, and our dreams are being crushed, it is critical that we pick up our Bibles and look at how God is at work even at those moments when we feel that all is lost. An example of God at work behind the scenes happens to Jacob who, in Genesis 43:6, has the new name of Israel. Yet he declares to his son Judah, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” Because Israel was in the dark to what God was doing, he did not have light to see the fact that the man he is referring to is his long lost son, Joseph! Then in verse 14 of the same chapter, he cries out, when he realizes that his other son Benjamin must make the trip to Egypt, “as for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” Israel is at his lowest point, in darkness, feeling all is lost and yet he is closer then ever to the miracle of coming into the light that his lost son Joseph, who he believes has been murdered, really lives.

If we give in to the despair and hopelessness in moments of darkness, we will never come into the light of the miracle that God has prepared for us. In order for us to come into the light and awareness of God’s miracles in our lives, we must learn to open our hearts and minds to the music of creation that is all around us. We have been placed in the center of this miracle of creation for “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”(Gen. 1:1) The harmony of creation, commonly referred to as the balance of nature, experienced a major disruption when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. In order for us to experience the light of the miraculous in our lives, we must also be in harmony with the light of creation and the light of the Word described in John 1:1-4. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” Jesus is this Word and light of the world. He declared in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Those walking in darkness see no hope but only despair and loneliness. The miracles of creation can be taking place all around them, but they do not recognize them as such. Everything is formless, empty and filled with the darkness of discouragement and negativism. In Genesis 1:2,3 we read, “now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” For there to be light and order in our lives, we need the Spirit of God to hover over the troubled waters of our lives. Then we need the Word of God to proclaim light and hope in the midst of our darkness and hopelessness.

In order for the music of creation to bring peace to our inner being, we need Jesus, the Word of Life, to remove the darkness of sin from us and bring forth the light of His forgiveness. In order for this to happen, we must respond to the movement of the Spirit and repent of our sins and declare in word and deed “Now I Surrender to You, O Lord.” This surrender means that I give God my actions, my words and all that I am and own. I desire for all things to be brought into full harmony with His divine order of creation. As I surrender my life to the Holy Triune God, I desire the same harmony to exist between us that now exists between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In order for this to happen I must let go of my own habitually disordered behavior, along with my runaway passions, desires and emotions. I want the grace of Jesus Christ and His power of forgiveness to turn the power of sin around in my life to the extent that the word “sin” is now spelled “nis” for “now I surrender.” This means that I desire every moment to not do my will, but to surrender my innermost spirit to God’s gentle guiding hands. I make myself vulnerable to His love and peace. I want the false self to pass away and the new self created in Christ to come forth.

I realize that as we live this new life in Christ, many in the world will consider us foolish or even crazy. Leonard Sweet, in his book Jesus Drives Me Crazy, uses the word “nuts” as an acronym for Never Underestimate The Spirit. Let the unbelievers consider us nuts! We have learned to never underestimate the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, we learn that the more status that Jesus has in our lives, the more we find ourselves confronting the status quo. The more Jesus becomes the Prince of Peace, the more we recognize the social injustices and frequently disturb the peace of the rich and powerful.

As we allow the Holy Spirit to hover over our troubled waters and let the Light and Love of Christ enter the darkness, we learn to never underestimate the power of the Spirit. The new knowledge of God’s miracle power at work in our lives enables us to fulfil the purpose to which He has called us. Sometimes we feel like Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, who said he wished the master ring had not been found in his lifetime. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” You and I must also decide. Are we going to live in the light and the harmony of creation or are we going to live in the darkness and hopelessness that our culture of death serves up daily. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light, because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (The words of Jesus Christ found in John 3:19-21) When everyone else is living in darkness, the one living in the light of Christ will be considered by the world as being nuts. But if being considered nuts means never underestimating the Spirit, who cares what others think? To never underestimate the Spirit means to be free, as the Spirit of God is free, to do exceeding far beyond what we can even ask or think. After all we are candles lit by the light of God. Now we are told to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt.5:16)

We have, through the grace of God manifested through Jesus Christ, come into the light. Now we know that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (and woman) availeth much.” (James 5:16) The Word of God not only tells us that the prayers of those abiding in the light and never underestimating the power of the Spirit of God accomplishes much, but it also shows us such. Joshua prayed and the sun stood still. Ninevah’s inhabitants prayed and God reversed His death sentence upon them. Hezekiah prayed and God let him live fifteen years longer. Samson prayed and God restored his lost power. Joseph prayed in prison, was given an interpretation to Pharoah’s dream, was made second in command of Egypt and saved his family from starvation. Daniel prayed and God shut the lion’s mouth. Elisha, Peter and Paul prayed and the dead were raised to life. As you move from darkness and hopelessness into light and life, you will discover you are “more than a conqueror through Him (Jesus) who loves us.” (Romans 8:38) After all, Jesus said in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” As the late Adrian Rogers said, “Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”

As we remain in the light, love, and presence of Jesus Christ daily, He promises, “If you remain in Me and my Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7) That is God’s promise to us at this hour spoken through Jesus who said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”(Matt.21:22)

Each of us has been given a calling, a purpose in life. It may not appear easy and often we may be tempted to despair. Instead of giving up, give that need to God, Trust Him. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” We are to let God’s creative power go to work in your lives as we choose to abide in the Light and Love of Jesus Christ. Don’t take it personal if the world thinks you’re nuts. Just let this reaction spell out for you that you will never underestimate the power of the Spirit. After all, if you are abiding in Christ, remember that greater is He (Jesus) who is abiding in you than he (the devil) who abides in the world.

“The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”(Romans 13:12-14) Living in the light results in change in the way we act and live. It also awakens us to the fact that living in the light is not an isolated experience, but it involves us in the community of the light of fellow believers. “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, purifies us from all sin.”(1 John 1:7) The reason for the light in this dark culture of death is the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which removes the darkness of sin because of the purification that it provides for believers. Receivers of this purification of sin are now called, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”(1 Peter 2:9)

The question for each of us is: now how are going to live the rest of our lives? Are we going to strive to live in the light of Jesus Christ, and let His light shine in us and through us or are we going to give into sin and temptation and dwell in the darkness? As the choice is made, remember the result of living in the darkness of sin, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Roman 6:23)

Let us now choose to live in the light that Jesus provides for He is the gift of God who provides eternal life.

Yours in Christ,
Larry Rice