November 1, 2013

Bring It Into the Light!

I once heard someone say that if you leave things in the dark, Satan and your flesh can use them for evil. But if you bring them into the light, God can use them for your good (read: sanctification).

Many times, we think we can handle things on our own. I was that child...the child who wanted to do it all by herself. Actually, I remember that being my favorite phrase for quite some time. "I can do it MYSELF!" I would frequently yell at my mother.
 


While this may not have been your favorite phrase, I'm sure you struggle with it too. I still do. We all have selfish, prideful, arrogant hearts due to our sinful nature. And that leads us to think that we can do this whole "life" thing all on our own. We don't want to "bother" God with the seemingly trivial, so we don't pray. We don't want other people to get "all up in our business," so we don't tell them things.

We leave a lot of things "in the dark." And sometimes with good reason. We've all had experiences with people starting a rumor mill or even just reacting poorly to what we tell them. But this Christian life was not meant to be lived in a vacuum.  

One of my favorite poets, John Donne, wrote:
        "No man is an island,
        Entire of itself,
        Every man is a piece of the continent,
        A part of the main."

God lives in community within the Trinity. And He created us to live in community - both in families and in the church (the family of God). He has designed us to live in fellowship with others.  

Now, I love to be alone. I like the quiet of "alone time." I enjoy buying groceries, working out, running errands, and sipping coffee AS AN ISLAND...unhindered by the prying eyes and ears of others.

But the Christian life is meant to be lived in community. In fact, we are not "hindered" by others who are coming alongside to help us grow in Him. We are helped! Yes, it may be difficult to open up and let someone else in - but we need to. At times, we crave to. It's what we were designed to do. 

James 5:16 encourages us to confess our sins to each other and to pray for each other. Now this is going a level deeper than just "hanging out" in community with others. This is taking a step into the wide world of vulnerability. But this is what God desires for us.

This morning, I arose early and began getting ready for my day. Plagued by the red-hot heat of the hair dryer, I ended up opening the front door to let in some brisk, autumn breeze to cool me off. We had a lot of wind and rain last night, and there were leaves EVERYWHERE, all over the front porch. In the dark, they looked like brown, crumpled, wet masses of leaf stew. But when I turned on the front porch light, the light hit the leaves, and I saw true beauty. Varied shades of green, yellow, orange, and red shone forth from the newly-fallen flora.

I had brought the leaves into the light. And I could see that they were good.

Y'all.

Bring your stuff out into the light. In the light, God can use that "stuff" for our sanctification. Those brown, crumpled, wet masses of our own leaf stews - our sin, our shame, our worries, our doubts - they can be used for our good.  Don't be tempted to lurk in the shadows.

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