“I remain confident of this:I will see the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living.Wait for the Lord;be strong and take heartand wait for the Lord.”
No amount of darkness can overcome light. If you walk into a room full of darkness, your eyes naturally adjust to try and capture the light. That is because your eyes are made to look for light, not darkness. Your eyes operate in a world of light. They are of no use to you if they cannot see.
Thank you Captain Obvious.
Eyes can’t see in dark.
The same is true for your soul. You were not made to be blind even though you may be spiritually blind as you are reading this. Something has covered your eyes. An invisible mask lies neatly covering the eyes of your soul. Let me uncover the blindness for you today.
Today I want to talk about how following Jesus will take you into places where there is light. Yesterday I focused on the reality that following Jesus will take us into dark places, and this is very true. But there are also places where Jesus takes you where rest can be found from the fight.
3 Environments to find light
There are at least three environments where Jesus leads us where we can find refreshment for our souls.There are at least three environments where Jesus leads us where we can find refreshment for our souls. Click To Tweet Spiritual wells where we can drink deeply and fully of living water and abiding relationships.
Before I begin, though, I want to offer you a disclaimer.
Sometimes, these places of spiritual sustenance and vitality are not all they are cracked up to be. If you’ve been around for any period of time, you’ve probably tried one of these broken cisterns and found them to be more trouble than you ever wanted to imagine. I encourage you to resist your knee jerk reaction based upon your experience of these places. It is often in the midst of the discomfort of awkward relationships, differing opinions, and personal examination that we find in these places our greatest release and freedom to be who we are. So let’s jump in together. Let’s look for light together. Let’s see the goodness of God in the land of the living. In the discomfort of awkward relationships, differing opinions, and personal examination we find our greatest release and freedom. Click To Tweet
- Family. Your family is your first environment of hope. Some of you reading this immediately check out when I say the word, because you know as well as I do that things just haven’t worked out well with the family unit. We have more broken homes than broken dishes in this country because people can be just rotten to the core. But family was never supposed to be a dark place. This environment of the home can and should be a place of rest and refreshment, but is often a place of chaos and confusion. I want to encourage you today to press in to the crucible of your family’s relationships. Learning from one another, resting in each others differences, and offering grace to one another in spite of one another. This place of light has to be cultivated like a garden. The weeds of bitterness and discouragement are constantly creeping into our homes and we have a responsibility to pull up those weeds by the root and burn them up. Your home is like a garden and you are the gardener. Following Jesus will take you into the space where your family resides and spread His goodness, His grace, and His love with those whom He has placed you into closest contact. Your home is like a garden and you are the gardener. Constant cultivation is necessary to keep the weeds out. Click To Tweet
- Church. What can I say about the church that has not already been said. Some of you are convinced that that the church is a spiritual vacuum that sucks the life out of its people and then tosses them to the side when it is finished with their usefulness. For a long time, I was convinced of this as well. But can I just say that there is the “production of church” and then there is the “community of church”? I’ll have to write more about this at a later time, but suffice it to say that the production of church is ultimately empty and spiritually draining. But the community of relationships that is the church is ultimately nourishing, spiritually invigorating, and absolutely essential to the life of a follower of Jesus. The goodness of God can be seen when the lost are found, when the sick are healed, when the poor are provided for, when the spiritually malnourished are equipped to feed themselves, when the disillusioned are given a vision for the Kingdom, and the spiritually thirsty and hungry souls are shown where to find water to share with their thirsty and hungry companions along the road. Church is a light place. Following Jesus will take you into church buildings, into church relationships, and into church gatherings where you can find living water for your soul. Click To Tweet
- Sabbath. Built into the fabric of your life is a day where you can choose to rest in the spirit and play in the fields of fun. The goodness of God is such that He has designed our calendar to include a day where we can rest and launch our week. Not a day where we rest from our work, but a day where we can find the strength to continue to work from our rest. Sabbath is about recognizing our need to stop manipulating, stop controlling, stop grasping, and stop arranging for the life we want. God built Sabbath into our schedule to teach us that it is not all dependent upon us. This is a day where we remember Eden. We remember the time when we were able to walk in the garden, naked and unafraid of God or each other. Sabbath reminds us that there is still something worth fighting for in this world. We get to see the beauty of a sunrise, the extravagance of nature, and the magnificence of God. We worship and find rest for our weary souls. We experience freedom to walk in the newness of life offered by His son Jesus. We then go from that place and work on the mission that God has laid out before us. We act after we rest. Following Jesus will take you into a place of weekly Sabbath where you find your sustenance in Him. Sabbath is a day where we can find strength to work from our rest NOT simply rest from our work. Click To Tweet
If we are honest, we will find within ourselves a strong resistance to these places of light. It is because there is an active campaign of spiritual darkness that is striving to draw our hearts away from the light. The truth about spiritual warfare is something that most people do not even want to consider. But there is ample evidence throughout the Bible and throughout human history that evil has had its way with mankind for far too long. There is an active campaign of spiritual darkness that is striving to draw our hearts away from the light. Click To Tweet
Following Jesus will take us into the darkness, but it must take us into the light before it does so. We need to go into the darkness, because that is where Jesus is. But we also need to recognize that if we are not equipped to walk into the darkness with the right weapons and tools for facing it, we will find ourselves unprepared and unequipped for the assault that the darkness puts on our souls.
Where do you find the resistance in your soul to the places of light? How do you explain away your resistance to these places? What excuses do you tell yourself to remain in the darkness? Isn’t it time to let your guard down and consider that perhaps the enemy of your soul has you convinced that you don’t need to go into light places because you can handle life by yourself pretty well?