Archive for August 20th, 2012

Personal Light

August 20th, 2012

God…has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Cor. 4:6

If I were to choose a verse to camp out on, one that would explain the miracle of God’s work in us, this verse would certainly be on the short list. It teaches me to dare to believe in the greatness of what God is doing in our lives. I have preached on this verse this morning and it seems like I had only scratched the surface of its meaning – if even that – and I am sure that I did not do justice to the faintest glimmer in its spectrum of light. There is much more here than meets the Christian’s mind at first glance – or even after years of close examination.

Consider the darkness of the human soul it describes – person-less, void – at the best we could say that it is filled with empty ambitions, the musings of the human souls stretching across millennia, hopes unmet, nostalgic empty sentiment, plans unfulfilled, the finest thoughts we can muster a mere gesture that in no meaningful way reflects the beauty of our original purpose and dignity as a creation. We often worship such things, the musing of our memories, sweet thoughts of years gone by now warped by faulty imaginations, or a brief moment of happiness that darts too quickly across the passageways of our minds, but it is not even a flicker of real light. It is really merely more darkness and if we imagine that this is anything else, then we have believed the lie of the darkness – that it is light. The best day we have every lived, or even the finest ten minutes, has nothing to do with the miracle described here.

Into that darkness of our souls God speaks, awakening us, resurrecting our spirits, giving us hope and life. The nostalgia of the past, the memories of younger “feel good” moments are as nothing compared to Him and what He gives our hearts. He comes Himself to give us Himself and promises to never leave.

The impersonal past evaporates like the morning mist when the sun strikes it. He comes in! The glory of God shines in our hearts and this glory is not mere thing – not a mere mixture of bio-chemicals snapping together in our minds. This is something – some One – that is beyond this physical universe. An identity is formed in our heart, and beyond our heart to our very spirit. We see a face – not the face on the Sunday School walls of childhood, not the artist’s rendition, nor the actor’s visage, nor a face like any human face we have ever seen before. This face is the identity of our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord.

God uses His word to accomplish this – but this miracle is still the Word of God in us becoming personal (and here I must switch to first person voice). As I read its pages – as I read the Bible – some One appears to me in its words. Christ Himself reveals Himself to me, and not only Himself but the truth of His words. He told His disciples that the word testifies to Him (John 5:39), and by His Spirit our eyes are opened to see the truth, to hear His voice, to see His face, to sense His touch, to know His love. This is not explainable to me on any basis other than the biblical one – that this is a special work of God in my life.

We are prone to mistake emotion with life – our feelings with the life of God. There are similarities, but it is like mistaking a line we scratched in the dirt to the Grand Canyon. The face of Christ I meet calls to me; the Person of the Book knows my name and invites me to know Him, invites us to know Him. He reveals Himself at every verse. The next verse in 2 Corinthians speaks about jars of clay, referring to our souls and bodies, and the jars of clay always retain some worldly odors initially. In the household these were the receptacles used for the ignoble things mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:20 – dare I say it? He is referring to First Century indoor toilets.

Can our souls that have entertained such impure thoughts interface with the Spirit of God living within us? Our spirits are alive, but our souls are still tainted with the death of sin, the impurities of our minds, of lusts and pride and blindness?

The Scripture gives us reasons to hope that we can be changed by God, that we can move from immaturity to maturity. Hebrews 5:14 reads, “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” The disowning of sin (renouncing), the humility of our hearts that must recognize our fallenness, along with faith that trusts in the power of the grace of God – these are the traits of our souls that move us from living in darkness to living in the light of God. This is a matter of faith, to trust that God can cleanse our inmost being, can remove the dirt and weakness of the flesh. It takes time, it takes discipline, but most of all it takes faith, simply trusting in Christ and in His word.

This is not, “If I believe He speaks, then He speaks.” That is just an overactive imagination, or wishful thinking. It is, rather: if we believe Him, if you and I trust in what He says, and, more, if we trust Him because of the witness in our hearts of His truth and His Spirit, then He honors that faith. If we believe Him, He speaks. Put your faith in Him and accept what He says, and God will build you up and show you the face of Christ from His truth.

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