Have you ever been reading the Bible or praying or just spending some down time with Jesus and suddenly a song of joy and praise comes to your mind and without a thought, you just burst into song? The purpose of the Scriptures, after salvation, is to teach us about the great mercy, love and care that God has for us. I believe there are certain Scriptures that the Holy Spirit included for the sole purpose of bringing us great moments of joy. Joy that overflows our hearts and bursts forth into praises for what God has done for us. The next time satan has us on the run and we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders instead of having a pity party, let’s commit to finding some of these verses and let them come alive in our hearts and minds. In fact, why don’t we memorize a few of them just so we can quote them to the old liar. That’s what Jesus did. God does not want us to be miserable one second of our lives. He has given us freedom to choose to be joyous but we have to reach out and access the joy and peace that He offers. For me, nothing can dispel darkness, gloom and doom as quickly and effectively as a few good verses and a couple of praise songs. Put some in your memory arsenal and fire away.
32 If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people toward me.” 33 Jesus said this to show how he would die.34 The crowd said, “We have heard from the law that the Christ will live forever. So why do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Then Jesus said, “The light will be with you for a little longer, so walk while you have the light. Then the darkness will not catch you. If you walk in the darkness, you will not know where you are going. 36 Believe in the light while you still have it so that you will become children of light.” When Jesus had said this, he left and hid himself from them.—John 12:32-36 (NCV)
When Jesus used the words “if I be lifted up” the people seemed to understand that He meant He would have to die. They immediately respond that they thought that the Christ would live forever. So, to them if He were going to die, He couldn’t be the Messiah for whom they had been looking . They do not grasp the concept of the resurrection and eternal life. 1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.—John 1:1-4 (NCV)
After the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, we now have the light living inside of us and we are the light of the world. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth as we study the word of God. So, we have the light interanlly with the Holy Spirit and we have the light externally with God’s Word. 105 Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.—Psalm 119:105 (NCV)
There is no reason for us to walk in darkness. Every where we go, we should dispel the darkness. “You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden.—Matt. 5:14 (NCV)
3 We can be sure that we know God if we obey his commands. 4 Anyone who says, “I know God,” but does not obey God’s commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if someone obeys God’s teaching, then in that person God’s love has truly reached its goal. This is how we can be sure we are living in God: 6 Whoever says that he lives in God must live as Jesus lived. 7 My dear friends, I am not writing a new command to you but an old command you have had from the beginning. It is the teaching you have already heard. 8 But also I am writing a new command to you, and you can see its truth in Jesus and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.—1 John 2:3-8 (NCV)
The religious leader asked Jesus: ” What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered with two commandments instead of one. Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. He went on to say that all the law hinged on these two commandments. God has put His light in us to light the world and dispel darkness. The way we let our light shine is to obey these two commandments. We must spend time with Jesus to get to know Him better so we can love Him better, Then, by loving our neighbors, we demonstrate the love of God in our lives. When we accepted Jesus, we became aliens to this world and citizens of heaven. As ambassadors of heaven, we represent Jesus. It is our duty to reconcile others to Christ by giving them the Good News. We want to wait for some big thing to do, but we shouldn’t wait for grand opportunities. Start by doing a good deed today and you will give life and light to someone. As the old song says: Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!
Ina D. Ogdon, 1913
5 This is the message we heard from Christ and are reporting to you: God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in him. 6 If we say, “We have a relationship with God” and yet live in the dark, we’re lying. We aren’t being truthful. 7 But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin. 8 If we say, “We aren’t sinful” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong. 10 If we say, “We have never sinned,” we turn God into a liar and his Word is not in us.–1 John 1:5-10 (GW)
At first, this might seem like a strange comparison from a Christian perspective. Bear with me and let’s see if we can make it fit our discussion. If we think of Jesus looking over the earth to find sinners and compare that to us walking through a pumpkin patch to find a pumpkin to carve for our fall festival, we can go from there. We find the pumpkin we want, we pick it up out of the dirty field, clean it up, carve away the parts we don’t want and fill it with light. Jesus does the same thing to us, He finds us in our sinful condition, reaches down and lifts us up and washes us with His blood. Then He starts the process of carving away the thoughts and attitudes of which He doesn’t approve. Little by little His Light starts to shine through us and the world around us gets a glimpse of Jesus. Just like the original Irish carving of a turnip (there weren’t any pumpkins in Ireland), the light was put inside to chase away evil spirits. So do we, as we allow God’s light to shine through us and all around us. We were once dirty and walked in darkness, but now that we have Jesus inside us, we are the vessels that carry His Light into the world. Keep the vessel clean, inside and outside, so the Light can shine through and dispel the darkness.
****Not an original idea, I just don’t know who to give credit for the comparison.