Staying in the light and finding the truth.

A defining moment is a moment when we come face to face with a truth either we didn’t know or that we purposely forgot. And as we realize this truth our view of life, or the way we perceive relationships, is changed. Responding appropriately to this truth can transform our lives forever. All of us have defining moments in our lives that bring us face to face with an old principle or truth, which may force us to view all of life through that lens.

For me, one of those defining moments was after making a decision for Christ. I did not immediately see the change I thought I would see. I left church because I felt I was just being a plastic Christian and a hypocrite. See I was entangled in a sin, that at that time, seemed like I was never going to overcome. Everything I tried failed. I would get disgusted with myself and scream, “I’m going to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, all by my own efforts!” No matter how far I tried to run and hide, from the truth, I knew one thing for sure, Jesus was the only answer. I just didn’t understand how he could be the answer, when my sins were so habitual. I was in such pain over the sin in my life, and was always crying out to God to take this away. I felt so guilty and ashamed. God heard my cry, and he answered in a way I would never have thought for myself; he used a book. The book was ‘The Bondage Breaker’ by Neil T Anderson. God used this broken time in my life to show me a love I never knew before. Prior to this, I’m sorry to report, I had never read a book in my whole life. But, this book spoke directly to my heart and I could not put it down. This is when God showed me His grace, and told me everything I ever did was under the forgiving blood of Jesus.  He showed me who I was created to be.

This is a list of things that are true about you, if you have trusted in Jesus.

Your True Identity in Christ

The Bible teaches that for us who are In Christ…

  • There is no condemnation for us (Romans 8:1)
  • We can never be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:39)
  • We who are many form one body (Romans 12:5)
  • We have wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • We become God’s children (Galatians 3:26)
  • We have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)
  • We have the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We were also chosen (Ephesians 1:11)
  • We are for the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12)
  • We have been seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)
  • We’ve been given the incomparable riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:7)
  • We who were once far away have been brought near (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We are built together as a holy building (Ephesians 2:22)
  • We may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)
  • We are light (Ephesians 5:8)
  • Our joy overflows (Philippians 1:26)
  • All our needs are met according to his glorious riches (Philippians 4:19)
  • We are holy and faithful (Colossians 1:2)
  • All things hold together (Colossians 1:17)
  • We have our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)
  • We become fully mature (Colossians 1:28)
  • Are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge for us (Colossians 2:3)
  • We are rooted and built up (Colossians 2:7)
  • We have been given the fullness of the deity (Colossians 2:9-10)
  • We come into reality (Colossians 2:17)
  • Our life is now hidden (Colossians 3:3)
  • We will rise from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
  • We can give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • We have faith, hope, and love (1Timothy 1:1, 14)
  • We can gain an excellent standing and great assurance (1 Timothy 3:13)
  • We have the promise of life (2 Timothy 1:1)

How do you feel when you read this list? Which “In Christ” identifications do you most need to take hold of in your heart? For more about who you are in Christ, read ‘Victory Over Darkness’ and the ‘Bondage Breaker’ by Neil T. Anderson.

If we believe things about God and ourselves that aren’t true, we’ll never have intimacy with Him.

As we go through this life, there are some truths we just don’t want to know. These are facts you just don’t want to know because they are inconvenient, or they bother you. Let’s face it, as a father and parent, I don’t really want to know that my kids are not as wonderful as I like to think they are. I can acknowledge what I know to be true i.e. my kids are not perfect. Or, I can ignore the truth until it bites me in the end. It’s like I’m asking God to leave me with the illusion that everything is fine. I just don’t want the difficult information. I’m afraid I won’t be able to deal. I just don’t want to know. I don’t want to listen. If I ignore the facts long enough, maybe they will just go away. I know this is not rational, but many times in life I’ve acted this way.

Difficult truths can’t just be swept under the rug. It takes a person with real character to see the truth, and let the knowledge of the truth bring about change and freedom. Let me illustrate this the way I heard this from Pastor Andy Stanley. (The apostle John also uses this illustration.)

SunlightClosedEyesIt’s like being in a very dark room, then you walk out into the very bright sun light. In that moment you cannot see, you’re blinded by the light. You are closing your eyes and squinting and maybe holding your arm up to block the sunlight from your eyes. At this point you have one of two options. You can go back into the house or you can stay in the light until your eyes adjust to the light. At first when you stay in the light it may be uncomfortable, but if you stay, if you hold, then you will be able to see. If you remain in His word, His teachings, long enough then you will experience the truth and that truth is what will set you free. You will begin to understand things you never thought possible. Remaining in the light can change your life. If you do this at some point you will ask yourself, why did I spend so much time in darkness?

Everyone has been tempted to ignore truths that are too bright. This approach to life, whether it be toward family, relationships, girlfriends, wives, business, or finances, never leads to anything good. Even though the writing is on the wall, we do our best to ignore facts that make us feel uncomfortable or scared or alone. There are men and women who got married, and a week, a month, a year after found things are not how they thought they would be. The sad truth is, they saw the warning signs long before the wedding, but they just kept moving forward. They didn’t want to acknowledge it, because we all want to live under the illusion that everything is fine. We all want to believe that, if something bad does come, we can manage it. More often than we care to admit, the source of our worst failures and follies, lies in our own past destructive actions.

I’ve been around long enough to know a thing or two about regrets and past mistakes which negatively impact my present realities. Now, you aren’t me, and I’m not you. But, one thing we have in common, is that, like you, in my mind I have a picture of God the way I want Him to be. I even have some verses that support my view until I run into versus that don’t support my view.

Here is a list of the ideal (god) God according to Me: [What I want Him to be like]

  • My God will not let anything happen to my family because it’s His number one concern to protect me, my wife and my kids.
  • My God will not let anything happen to me financially because I’ve given money to His kingdom over the years. He will not tamper with my finances.
  • My God will not let anything happen to the relationships to my kids. I’ve prayed for them all of their lives.
  • My God is intensely concerned about the Orlando Magic winning all their games and winning a world championship.
  • My sins aren’t as bad as other people’s sins.
  • Nobody really goes to Hell accept for a very short list of people.

But, did you know that with every distortion of the truth, about God, that we believe comes with a corresponding consequence. Every time we are wrong and we don’t face the truth we will pay a heavy price.

  • If you believe every time something bad happens to you or the ones you love it’s because God is punishing you, then you will never be able to trust your heavenly Father.
  • If you think your little routine will keep God at bay, then you will never have a close personal relationship with God, because you’re focused on your routine.
  • If you think that you have to know everything there is to know about God to trust Him, thinking “As soon as I get all my questions answered then I will trust Him with my life”, then you will never find faith or have peace.
  • If you think that God heals all illnesses you will live with a very deep seated sense of disappointment in God when He lets you down.
  • If you think that you can get to heaven based on your own merits, then you will not only be disappointed in this life, as you try to scramble around to figure out where you stand in the balance of life, but you will also be deeply disappointed one day when you meet your heavenly Father and discover it wasn’t about what you have done or planned to do. It was something entirely different.

Let me give you an example of people who refused to see the truth, even though it should have been plain to them.

When Jesus came to earth, He entered into the exact same world of men that were thinking this way. In John 8, when Jesus showed up on the scene, He said I am here to explain God to you. God did everything He could to show us what He is really like.

John 8:31 is one of the most mis-quoted verses in the bible. It is an often quoted verse, which is usually taken out of context. Despite that, I think, it is one of the most powerful things Jesus ever said.

Verse 31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” Verse 32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

What happens next is such a great example of how people or in this case the Jews refused to see the truth, even though it is plain.

Now look at verse 33. They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

How strange their reply… “We’ve never been slaves”? They saw God the way they wanted to see Him. It’s so funny, because they were currently under the dominion of Rome. Israelites started out as slaves, remember Egypt? Remember 70 years in Babylonian captivity? What about the 400 years under the Persian and Roman rule? Hello! Before I get too critical of them, let’s remember that this is Us also. Right? By rejecting the illuminating word that Jesus had brought them, they were saying, “Man, that light is too bright!”. Sometimes we don’t want to see the truth. It is more comfortable to stay in the shade.

Another example is Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night. Jesus tells him, “If you want to see the kingdom of heaven you must be born again.” What did Nicodemus do even though he didn’t understand? He stayed in the light.

So to bring this to a conclusion, why do I tell you all this? Real men stay in the light. They face the mirror and they don’t forget because they stay in the light and are changed forever. It’s my prayer that you would remain in the light, that means clinging to biblical truth. Staying in the light requires us to learn and live God’s revealed word. Even when you don’t know what to do or what the consequences will be, stay in the light and God will raise you up to be the person He wants you to be.

God Bless you,

–DXF