John 3:20-21 NLT
All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
So true. When I enjoyed doing evil, I hated truth. In fact, I saw truth as my enemy. It was “rules trying to keep me away from my fun”.
For a time, I even thought that salvation was just freedom from the burdens of guilt and shame. In fact, it was the hope for salvation from that guilt and shame that made me aware of my need for salvation when I was lost.
So this conviction, this knowledge of my sins, this guilt and shame that I wanted to escape – this awareness of my own condition of being lost in need of a savior – it led me to the hope of my salvation, it led me to Jesus Christ.
And in this renewed hope of salvation, Christ overcomes our guilt and shame. But it doesn’t stop there.
As we grow, it is no longer about escaping shame and guilt – it is about seeking the Kingdom of God in our lives. It is about repenting from our sins and serving God in our lives. It starts to shift from a focus on our past to faith in the promises for the future. But even then, we might realize that our thoughts are still about what we are faithfully expecting to receive as fulfillment of His promises. Even our thoughts towards others are about their salvation or their being lost. We are still self and people centered in our thinking.
Then, at some point – a light comes on.
And we realize that this is not about me. The salvation work is already done in me. In fact, if they are His elect and chosen and called, they will hear this voice of the Word of God, and they will recognize it and be drawn to it – a seed will be watered when we share this Word of God, and the soil will be cultivated through His loving works that are done through us, the body of Christ. And my sharing His Word and seeing Him work through me, this is my praise that I lift to God. It is about shining brightly with a life that is a praise and honor to God. Not so that others see it, so much as that I lift it up to honor God.
And when this is my attitude and my purpose, to live a life of praise to God – it becomes less about me and more about God.
It becomes less about the evil that finds ways to work through others, and it becomes more about the Christ that shines through each of us. It becomes a life free from lawlessness, free from the trappings of legalism, free to live a life with Christ as a friend who is closer than a brother – because He lives in us, and through us, and our lives are His – no longer our own.
This is my goal each day. That my life praises God in what I say, what I do, and what I think. Yes, I have set the bar high, and no I am not perfected in that goal – but nonetheless, it is my goal each day.
And one day, His work will be completed, and I will see my goal face to face. I will stand in the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I might be able to maintain this attitude and perspective,
“Lord, I fell short, but you overcame. Please, Lord, remember me. I cannot claim to have always been humble. I cannot claim to have always been faithful. I cannot claim to have lived a life free from sin or filled with works of my own. I cannot claim to have always been merciful. I can only rely on your mercy.
Please, Lord, have mercy on me. I know that without your grace, I deserve the pit. You have every right to send me there in good conscience, and I understand even if that is your judgement, because you know and weigh our hearts.
My hope is that you have softened my heart sufficiently in the walks that we have had together up to this point. But I understand that I am so far from your example of perfect glory.
If our walks together and our talks together up to now are the closest that I can come to heaven, those times are more than I deserve.
I love you. Please remember me. I can only rely on your mercy. ”
And I have faith that He knows my name. Even if no one else remembers me or notices me in this life, as long as he remembers my name. That is what matters to me.