March 29, 2012

Walk in the light that I have

After eight hours sleep, I woke up feeling exhausted. This could be the result of trying to do too much with a medicated heart that will beat only 50 times a minute. It also could be the after effects of praying much of yesterday involved in a spiritual battle for those who walk in darkness and need Jesus. Whatever the cause, I came to my Bible this morning feeling a great desire that God would renew my strength.
Today’s verses are about the contrast between those who believe in Jesus Christ and have His imputed righteousness, and those who have not yet had their sins forgiven and cleansed.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:18–19)
This has a calming effect. As I go into my day, I know that God will give me light. That is, He will help me with decisions and make known all that I need to know to stay on His path. I checked other verses that are like the first one above, and found several that urge me to rejoice.
And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. (Job 11:17)
This follows an urging to confess my sin. When I do that, God will shine His light on my path. Instead of stumbling about and not knowing why, God wants me to clearly see and understand all that I need to walk with Him.
You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways. (Job 22:28)
This verse is about decision-making. When I walk with God in the light that He gives, my choices will be confirmed, even made stronger. I will know what I need to do and God will send more light to help me continue in the doing of it. As I consider my ordinary chores and the myriad of choices that are always before me, this is a great comfort.

The next verse is a promise that urges me to continue in intercessory prayer. “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

“Those who are wise” is not about human wisdom. The New Testament tells me that Christ is my wisdom and because of Him, I will know what to do and be able to do it. In that wisdom, my life will shine. Obedience to God, including any actions that turn others to Jesus and His righteousness will have eternal results, comparable to the brilliance of stars that shine for eternity. In this, I am encouraged in my prayer battles for others. While the Holy Spirit does the work of enlightenment in their lives, God does urge me to intercessory prayer. Unlike prayer for temporary blessings, the answers to these prayers will be enlightened souls who shine forever.

The cross reference to the “brighter and brighter” in last part of Proverbs 4:18 reminds me of two verses. One is, “They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion” (Psalm 84:7). The other tells me that when I “behold with an  unveiled face the glory of the Lord, I am transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). 

Both promises say that God wants me to stay close to Him, to keep my eyes on His glory. On a day like today when I’m tempted to keep my eyes on me, I’m thinking I need some pity and attention. Yet when I do that, that is all I will get. When I gaze at Jesus, I become more like Him, increasing in strength also. This is reinforced by the last verse that refers to that “full day” and the final outcome of this life . . .
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
Here and now, fatigue and discouragement happen, even to God’s children. We don’t know what will happen next nor do we have a full understanding of what God wants from us, or how we will respond to life’s trials. However, we do know this: when that “full day” comes and Jesus appears, we will see Him as He is and be like Him. 

Holy God, You have given me light. I no longer am in deep darkness, nor do I need to stumble over pitfalls and hazards that I cannot see or understand. Because of the light You give, I know that self-pity is a hazard. So is thinking only about what I want or need. So is letting fatigue (real or not) keep me from praying for those who need Jesus. For those reasons, I will continue to battle for the salvation of others, walking in the light that I have and trusting You to give me even more until that day that all shadows will disappear in the brightness of Your glory.

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