Monday, March 29, 2010

Make sure the light you have is not darkness

I came across this verse in Luke during my daily readings and it stopped me cold.

Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light  Luke 11:35-36

It struck me that because Jesus said this, that is was possible to think you are saved, think you are going to heaven, think you are walking in the light, yet, be completely in the darkness. In fact, Jesus told many parables and gave many solemn warnings about people who would call themselves Christians, and believe they were, yet when they stand before God's throne on judgement day waiting to be admitted into heaven, Jesus will say "I never knew you."  In fact Jesus said "On judgement day, MANY will say to Him, 'Lord, Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name, and performed many miracles in your name."

For the highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide, for MANY will choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.  Matthew 7:14

It is my opinion that the church today preaches a very watered-down message that basically says, just believe and you're in the club. While the gospel is so simple a child could understand it, I don't believe Jesus preached a "simple" Christian life.
Hear His words in Luke 13:24
"Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom for many will try to enter, but FAIL."

And even Paul the greatest Apostle who spent his life serving God said this about making it to heaven:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

I'm not trying to scare anyone or discount the power of God's love and grace, but I grow weary of the complacency I see among so many Christians today. The Christian life is difficult. It's a battle, and God requires complete devotion. He doesn't care that you go to church every Sunday or give to charities, or even read your Bible or a devotional every morning. Not that those things are bad. But if He doesn't have your whole heart, none of these things matter to God.  If you're just doing them because you feel you have to or because you think it will keep God happy with you, then stop. He wants your heart. He wants your soul. Any less would be an insult after what He's given up for us.

Let's make it our goal to get back to the very first commandment that God gave us "To Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, Soul, Mind, Body and Strength."
It's just that simple!  If you don't feel like you're doing that, ask for God's grace to help you. It's the one prayer HE's longing to hear from you and the one prayer He's more than happy to answer.  But remember once you pray that prayer, the enemy will be fast on your tail. But greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! 

I'm not saying I'm there yet, but this is the prayer of my heart. I hope you'll join me.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, MaryLu. Well said, and so true. Refining can be difficult but is so worthwhile!

  2. God seems to be awakening “Christians” to what you are saying in this post. That many, even most, Christians are just living on the surface of Christianity. They basically have fire insurance. They feel/know they are saved, but there is no fruit in their lives. They have no idea what God’s call on their life is. They are living out their dreams, not His dreams for them. A very different thing. It is the difference between waking up every morning and asking, “Lord, go with me today, let me be a blessing to the people I’m going to see at my work and be with me as I go to my appointments.” . . . and waking up and saying, “Lord, I will go with You today. I will follow where ever You lead me and do the work You have for me today. This day is Your day and I am Your vessel.” Yep, I’m talking about allowing God to completely clear the day you had planned by listening and hearing what God has planned. His plans may not be the same as yours!

    People reading this may wonder how it is possible to actually give God all of your time. It isn’t. Unless you sell out to Him. Unless you’re willing to examine your life and honestly evaluate how much of it consists of what you have planned. Unless you have sought His face and He has revealed His call on your life, you will probably find you are living your life. He is not living His life through you. I have spoken on this subject many times because I believe the Lord is calling us to a higher standard. And I can state unequivocally that He is calling me to a higher standard. He gave me guidelines to help me know what He is calling me to. Four standards by which I could test what I understood. And when I confirmed that I understood His call, the very next thing I asked was “How am I going to pay my bills if I truly turn over my life to you?” Ever heard it said that God is your provision? Ever tried living that out in your life? Yikes. It’s scary.

    Well, enough of my rattling on. I hope what I have said offends no one and strikes a cord in some. These are only my thoughts and experiences. But I can say that I never knew what intimacy with Jesus meant until I turned over my life to Him. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like it.

  3. This post makes a lot of sense to me. A lot of Christians fall into the trap of believing that once you pray a prayer asking God to save you from your sins, than that's it. You're going to heaven and have nothing else to worry about.

    Part of that is true. If you truly believed when you prayed, then yes you will be going to heaven. However, it will not all be sunshine and roses from there. God will allow bad things to happen to you so will grow closer to Him and shed some things in your life that are holding you back spiritually. Sometimes during these trials you'll give up and regress, but when it comes down to the end of your life and you stand before God, I personally believe that all of us Christians will have matured, whether it's a little or a lot.

    This was a very good post, MaryLu. Thanks.


    P.S. When we get to heaven, we won't have any more trials, sorrows, or burdens. Now THAT'S something to look forward to when we're down and discouraged

  4. tis very true and someone once told me that you dont have a strong Christian faith if you dont question it at least once. you have to ask questions and be inquisitive before what you truly have is real. if you try and look for answers there will certainly be an inner strengthening when you find that what you believe in is really true and there are no loop holes that have been left out and that we are truly not going to heaven. you cant just think that you have prayed and you are then good for life, you have to strive for the next level. so when you are looking and see that , in the bible, there are parts that may just totally cause you to rethink your faith, remeber that that is what those parts are there for and you are doing the right thing by remaining postive and pondering on the subjects.

  5. Oh, thank you everyone! I'm loving this conversation. Thank you all for your insights. I agree,Dannielle, you have to constantly be questioning your faith and where you are with God lest you drift away unknowningly. And Sasafras, I too, can't wait to get to heaven and have no more trials! Yes, Ruth, refining is worth it in the end! And Nikki, I love what you said about asking the Lord to allow you to go with Him today and not the other way around. It's about complete surrender, and I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I want to be and that's half the battle. I crave that intimacy with my Lord, like a deer pants for water, oh Lord, so my heart pants for you!!

  6. Amen and Amen! I don't know how to thank you for this message MaryLu! Its one that has been on my heart for a while now. So many people think that if they just say they are a Christian, then wham!-they automatically are one...until they realize that God has a book that tells us how to live the opposite way of the rest of the world. Not many people want to give up their little vices and pleasures that go against God's word. My friends and I are constantly arguing about this-they believe that they can go to heaven, no matter what and that it doesn't matter what they do, they won't be held accountable for any of it. They believe that to truly live the life that God tells us to live, you are basically living in a cult. Ha! What Bible are they reading from?
    Anyway, this message helps me a lot. I try to constantly see myself as God would-to see if I am totally sold out for Him, and its a trying battle to get there. But He's always there for me, and I'm slowy getting the hang of it.
    Thank you MaryLu!

  7. Eszter wrote "and its a trying battle to get there." I can share something, (sheepish grin) I have learned that it is critical to not engage in the battle. I’m not saying you are, but I have known many who do. As soon as we engage, we set ourselves up to fail. Only He can fight the battle. It is only natural to try, but we must respond by turning to Him. We can do nothing apart from Him. That is what He said in John 15, “apart from me you can do nothing.” The battle is His, He won it on Calvary. Oh, that’s something we all know, but I, at least, have trouble identifying with the truth that I died with Him. My flesh was crucified with Him on that cross. I do not need to take ground, I only need to stand on the ground He’s already taken and He will hold it. So much to ponder.

  8. Nikki is right! God sent Christ to die on the cross so that we don't have to fight the battle. I don't care what anyone else says-truly our God is an awesome God!

  9. Oh yes, Nikki! That's something I'm trying to grasp too! (There I go trying again) We must stop trying and allow Him to do. Tough concept for us who are control freaks! But we can't do anything without Him. I suppose when I finally "get" this, I will find true peace.

  10. I wish more people would be brave enough to say what you said in this post, MaryLu! So many pastors, Christian writers, etc. are so petrified of offending anyone that they hide the harder truths of the Bible.
    And this is a message that is especially applicable today - it seems to me that this generation of Christians is like the church of Laodicia in Revelation - neither hot nor cold for Christ. The term "Christian" has started to mean, "I go to church on Easter and Christmas, and try to do good...when I feel like it."
    It is so depressing to look all around me and see so many people who think they're Christians, but really have never experienced a personal relationship with God. They've been tricked into thinking that our purpose on this earth is to live as WE want to, rather than treating it as a warm-up for eternity.

  11. Yes, Sapphire! I agree.. the Western church is exactly like the Church of Laodicia. What a shame. I've been praying for a great revival in this nation. Nothing is impossible with God!