Friday, October 17, 2014

The King is Enthralled by Your Beauty


How is it that God Almighty is enthralled by my beauty?  Don't we all ask that question?  I'm not beautiful.  If He really knew all about me...  Wait, He does know all about me... He saw that thing I did.  He knows my thoughts.  ACK! 

Intellectually, we all know Christ has given us His righteousness.  We now stand justified before God (Romans 8:33, 2 Corinthians 5:21).  However, until we're glorified, we remain sinners.  The Apostle Paul likened our sin nature to a "body of death" (Romans 7:24), and that while our outward man is wasting away, our inward man is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).  The great Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, has this to say on the subject:
Every man of God is two men in one.  That new part of him, which is born of God, that new nature which was implanted in regeneration, cannot sin because it is born of God.  It is the incorruptible seed, which lives and abides forever; but, as far as the man is still in the flesh, it is true that "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be."  The old nature sins through the force of nature; but the new nature sins not, because it is born of God."
It is interesting this life that we live is two natures in one - a life of flesh and a life of Spirit.  Even though we are still in this flesh, we walk by the Spirit.  It is a daily battle of denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus.  The Spirit of God certainly helps us by bestowing mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16) so that we can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13). 

While our righteousness in Christ makes us justified before God, I have always struggled with why God sees me as altogether lovely if I am still sinful.  True, He sees Jesus when He looks at me.  The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20).  I have died, and my life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

What didn't make sense to me is that Christ wouldn't be looking at me, He would be looking at Himself.  So how can I be found beautiful by the Lord if He's just looking at His own accomplishments and righteousness?


But then God clarified His own position on His love for me one day during my prayer time.  I got a sudden understanding of what it means to be loved by God Himself in such a mighty and awesome way.  Yes, God sees Himself in me; our bodies are the temple of God after all (1 Corinthians 3:16), but it's like sunshine through stained glass windows.  Each window is different, from glory to glory, yet it is the same sunshine pouring forth, making each window a breath-taking work of art.  I'm sure you may have heard this analogy before.

Yet the love of God goes even deeper than comparing us to colored panes of glass.  It is not a bad thing that God sees Himself when He is enthralled by our beauty.  Scripture says we are adopted into God's family, that we are now called sons of God (Romans 8:15, 1 John 3:1-2).  Have you ever heard sermons where the pastor talks about the Godhead, and how each member (Father/Son/Spirit) were perfectly loving each other in relationship?  That God didn't need to make us, because He was complete in Himself.  He wanted to create us.

If God loves perfectly within the Godhead, therefore, He loves us by the very same standard, as we have the Spirit of God living within us and we were bought by the cross of Christ.  He cannot deny Himself.  We recognize that God sees Christ when He sees us, but we don't often internalize that God also loves us AS HE LOVES CHRIST. 

Think about this for a moment.  When God made a covenant with Abraham, He swore by Himself, as there is no greater name to swear by (Genesis 22:16-17).  There is no greater Love.  There is no greater Joy.  There is no greater Peace than God Himself.  Therefore, even God enjoys Himself.  The Father delights in the Son.  The Son delights in the Spirit, and the Spirit precedes from both, therefore delighting in both.  And in the same way, the entire Godhead delights in His children through the sacrifice of Christ.

There truly is no greater love than the love God has for Himself.  While this sounds egocentric and vain to the world, if one truly knows that God is meek and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29), then they will know the truth of it. 

While we each live the life of Jesus through our faith in the Son of God, we are each unique, different members of the Body of Christ.  We will never be elevated to God's level of Glory, but we shall one day be glorified, higher than the angels.  Only God Himself will be higher than us in the universe and beyond.  We are now a part of God's family, as high as any created being can possibly go (Ephesians 2:6, Revelation 3:21).  Quite literally, we are united with Christ in God as our Bridegroom. 

The two shall become one flesh.  The Two shall become one Spirit.


This is the measure by which God loves us - He loves us as if we were members of His Godhead.  He is enthralled by our beauty because our Beauty comes from God.  There is no higher beauty.  He loves us because He shines through us, but also, because He painstakingly created the stained glass window that we are.  And while we're sanctified by His Truth here on earth (John 17:17), He is continuing to create us to reflect His image.

Everything in this universe begins and ends with the most glorious Being in existence -- the King of Glory.  And if our glory reflects His Glory, indeed we reflect His Beauty, and in that, we take His breath away.

Praise the Lord!

~~Becka

Thursday, September 25, 2014

You're A Reformer

Does this describe you? Because it sure describes me. No longer satisfied with "playing church", I want to BE the Church! I want to set people on fire, I want to wake people up and compel them to love the Lord. I want to soar on wings like eagles, I want the Word of Christ to dwell in me richly.

Not to us, but to Your name, be the Glory. \O/

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why am I Me?


When I was a little girl, I used to stare at my hand and ask myself, "Why am I me?"  A little profound for a little girl, but I wanted to know.  Why wasn't I someone else?  Why these parents; why this life?

The answer?

Because God willed it so (1 Corinthians 12:18).

God wanted me for His purpose, for such a time as this.  It pleased Him to give me certain gifts, to look a certain way, to have my personality. 

It was all for Him.

It humbles me that He willed me to exist.  It never ceases to amaze me that I breathe His air, eat His harvest, and live His life (Galatians 2:20) - simply because His will is for my heart to continue beating that I may advance the Kingdom of God.


Who am I that God thinks such thoughts of me?  That He planned all this for me?  That He wants me to be a part of His Grand Design?  Doesn't He know I'm forgetful?  Unfaithful?  Isn't He aware that I have a mean temper?  Cant He see my selfish streak or that I let people down -- all the time?

Doesn't He know I'm broken with sin? (Romans 3:10)

Of course He knows.

He came into the world to take my sin, to clothe me with Himself and give me His eternal Life (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Again, who am I?  Not even a mote of dust before His eyes and yet He condescends to love me with a fervent, passionate, everlasting love. (Songs 8:6)

"Why am I me?"

To be the object of His Love so that He will ever be the Object of mine.
(1 John 4:19)

Forever and always, Yeshua, You have my heart.  I love You. 


Praise the Lord.

~~Becka

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Are You a Disciple of Jesus Christ?

I've had something on my mind for quite awhile.  What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ?  Most folks believe a disciple is anyone who has faith in the Lord Jesus.  I think in a broad sense, they're right.  However not every "disciple" is being "discipled".

I think there's a huge gap between calling yourself a disciple and actually being discipled.  A "disciple" is what you are - a noun that implies you're sitting under the lordship of a Master.  "Being discipled", on the other hand, is a verb, an action, a daily pursuit to learn from that Master.


To give an example, it's safe to say every child in a classroom is a student.  But not every child studies.  You might have the slacker, the class clown, or the one who's always asleep in the same class as the child who actively seeks to excel.

There are so many people in this world who profess Christ and claim to be disciples.  Perhaps they are true believers, only God can read their hearts.  However, it's not too hard to discern they aren't making an effort to disciple themselves by the Word of God.  Famous singers and actors profess Christ, yet their music is laced with profanity and their movies are morally ambiguous.

I realize there's a disconnect between real life and fiction.  I used to write fiction, after all.  But I cannot for the life of me picture the Apostle Paul writing erotica, singing songs with foul or suggestive language, or acting in questionable movies.  If the Lord Jesus Christ Himself wouldn't do these things, then why do His followers?  It might boost one's career, but it does nothing for one's relationship with Christ, and in fact, these types of behaviors actually harm that relationship.

I'm not just talking about famous people, but everyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus.  As disciples of Christ, we represent Him here on earth.  Scripture calls us ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  That means our citizenship is in another world and we're representing our homeland here on earth -- the Kingdom of God.

If you were an ambassador for the United States, how would you act to represent this country?  It is no different as an ambassador for Christ.  We are His Body here on earth.  If someone knows you're a believer, yet witnesses your half-hearted commitment to our Lord, what does that say about you, about your salvation, and about your love for Jesus?


God made it clear through Christ's Two Great Commandments what true discipleship looks like.  We love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  This isn't some passing fancy.  This isn't lip-service.  We don't love God in the same way we might "love" our roommate.  Think about the measure of devotion one must have to love another with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Think about how difficult it is to be selfless rather than selfish.  But that's what God calls us to do.  He wants us to love Him with every last atom of our existence and pour ourselves out for others.

That means all affection, adoration, and devotion belong to God.  Heart.
All your prayers, worship, and eternity belong to God.  Soul.
All your thoughts, studies, and entertainment belong to God.  Mind.
All your willpower, all your perseverance, and all your ability to follow belong to God.  Strength.

All of these are accomplished when we earnestly seek God.  He promises over and over that if we seek Him, He will be found (Deuteronomy 4:29, Matthew 7:7).  No one can do this on their own.  We need to pray for God's help to love Him in this way, as we cannot make ourselves do something that is foreign to us.  Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we're bound to fail.


For myself, I asked God to help me love Him like the Apostles.  It was a genuine prayer, from my heart, and God granted it because it is His will for every child of God to know Him as the Twelve knew Him.  In fact, you can be sure any genuine prayer you pray to better yourself for the Kingdom of God will be heard and answered.  The Apostle John told us if we pray according to the will of God, we have what we've asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).

We might not know God's will for our lives in the day-to-day, but I'm confident in this, that God's will for each of His children is to know Him.  If we point our prayers in that direction, for God to reveal Himself to us, to give us a love for His Word, to fan the flames of our hearts, to learn more about Jesus, to do good works for His Kingdom, to love others, to be a light for Him, to equip us with knowledge and wisdom in Him, then He will honor these prayers and by His will, the Holy Spirit shall begin discipling you.

Being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is not easy.  Likely that's why many don't disciple themselves.  I used to write erotic romance.  When I decided to disciple myself, I retired.  And it was a joy to do so.  Remember, I had prayed for God to help me in this.  When I laid down my writing for Jesus, I knew I was doing so for His glory, and not my own.  I no longer wanted my mind to be filled with such thoughts.  I no longer wanted to be an accomplice of filling the minds of my readers with such thoughts.

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul talks about food that's been offered to idols and whether or not it should be eaten.  My issue wasn't with food, but the concept was sound -- don't live so as to make your weaker brother or sister stumble.  I saw the vanity in what I was doing, that the Kingdom wasn't advancing through me, that Christ wasn't glorified through me, that others couldn't see Him in me.

As a Christian, I quite literally disgusted myself.

But the Lord takes what the enemy means for evil and works it for good.  I'm still a writer, but now I write for God.  And pretty much everyone who knew me before knows what I do now.  If I had retired quietly, God wouldn't have been given the glory.

The point I'm trying to make here is that Christians need to be discipled.  We have it in our heads that we need to do it in groups, have a mentor, or have an older Christian to guide us.  While those are wonderful resources to have, I have learned the Holy Spirit is quite capable of discipling a child of God all on His own (1 John 2:27).  Everything you read on my blog I've learned under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.  I retired from writing romance in 2011 and these past few years have rushed by like a hurricane - God has restored the years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25) and used me to reach you.


Everything I do on my blog, I do out of love for my brethren in Christ.  I truly feel as if the Lord is moving through the candlesticks of His Church and fanning the flames in the hearts of every true believer.  I have an intense desire to urge His Bride to wake up, stand up, and look up for their Bridegroom and know Him as I do.  I meet a lot of disciples of Christ.  But it is rare to find those who are actively being discipled.

If you are a Christian, you must grow in the Lord.  Don't be content to be a withered little sproutling in a dark corner of the Lord's garden.  Endeavor to become a mighty oak, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither (Psalm 1:3).  Ask God to make you a Christian who abides in Vine, one who has the Word of Christ dwelling in them richly.  Ask the Lord to make rivers of Living Water flow from your heart.  Ask God to mold you and shape you into a mature Christian who actively seeks Him in both prayer and study.  

If you do this, then Christ can and will use you mightily for the Kingdom of God.  And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.



~~Becka

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Son of God - The Love of My Life

For everyone who's reading this, I wanted to give you a glimpse into my heart.  I have prayed often to God that He's the only One who truly knows the extent of my love for Him.  I rarely talk about Jesus among friends, as sadly I don't have many close, godly, Christian friends--at least ones who have a desire to talk about deep theology and the things of God.

So, like Mary, the mother of Jesus, I hide these things in my heart (Luke 2:19).


Upon reading a journal entry of mine that's about six months old now, I felt the nudge of the Lord that it was time to share it, that perhaps by my example, others can know there are more Christians out there like them.  Perhaps they can know they're not alone, that there are Christians who, like King David, pant after and long for the heart of their God.  There are those who aren't blinded by the emotional outbursts of some, or the false pretenses of others.  There are those with discernment and the gift of faith, who stand tall upon the Rock of their salvation--who see Christ high and lifted up, and magnify His holy name.

Or perhaps this can be an example to others who don't know Christ in this way, who have never considered loving Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.  Maybe they've stumbled upon this blog by accident, maybe they're a Christian, and yet have never beheld a mature believer who's not simply "on fire for Jesus", like many a charismatic may claim, but rather, has surrendered their life unto Him in total and complete trust and devotion.


Therefore, without further adieu, here is my own personal journal entry from March 20th, 2014:

After reading the account of Sarah Edwards and her love affair with the Lord God, I was inspired to write down my own thoughts and feelings regarding the Treasure of Heaven.

~*~
Yeshua Messiah is everything to me.  He is my all-in-all.  In Him, there is nothing I lack; I have all I need.  I see His beauty everywhere - the sky, the birds, the flowers.  He speaks to me in gentle, lilting ways, igniting my heart as well as my mind.  The angels speak true - the whole earth is full of His glory!  

The depth of my closeness to Him is as an ocean, bottomless and vast.  No matter how deep I go, there is more depth to plunder.  No matter how far I go, the far shore is never sighted.  And yet I know my finite brain has only seen God as through a key hole, just a glimpse of His majesty, just a taste of His sweetness.

But that is all it takes to make me hunger for more, a famine for the Word of the Lord.

The Bible is a feast - the Word is bread; it is the table that God has prepared before me in the presence of my enemies.  Every page, every word, a glittering gem, a thread, a rabbit hole of deeper and fuller understanding of the character of God - through Yeshua our Lord.

God's truths have been made manifest to me - no longer written in a Book, but upon my heart, real and everlasting.  And through these promises and knowledge of His character, I spend so much time in prayer, adoring my Maker, my Husband, the God of the whole earth.  The Lord of Hosts is His name!

The sky is His tabernacle; my heart is His Holy of holies.  He dwells before me, beside me, within me, closer than my very breath.  There isn't an atom in my body which does not adore Christ.  He is my daily pursuit, my magnificent obsession, the Lover of my soul.  No book is more precious to me than the Song of Solomon, of knowing Yeshua so thoroughly that I can say with confidence -- "He is my Beloved and my Friend, the Chiefest among ten thousand!"

And yet He condescends to love me unconditionally, the chiefest among sinners.

How can I not be fascinated by such devotion?  How can I not be moved to know that God Himself did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, that He counted it all as loss in order to win His Bride - to win ME?

God's love is better than life - now the psalmist speaks true.  To live is Christ, but to die is gain for we shall ever be with the Lord.  What sweeter reality is there?  What earthly promise can compare?

Communing with Christ brings Heaven to earth.  Entering His presence is both weighty and wonderful.  His love is tender, it is true, it is so fulfilling to heart and soul.  A saddened heart becomes joyous, an agitated heart becomes at peace, an offended heart melts with love.

Christ has saved the best of my walk with Him for now, when I can know and appreciate Him as my Bridegroom and not just as my Father, Brother, or Friend.  He has brought me into His chambers and His banner over me is love.  He has clothed me with the gold of Ophir and tells me that one glance from my eye ravishes His heart.


It moves me to tears to know I mean so much to the Starbreather.  That I reside within the heart of my God just as He lives in mine.  He is my Fortress, I am His temple.

I feel Him all around me - at all times - wherever I go.  He is my garment and my fragrance.  He has visited me in dreams, and He is glorious.  The longer I sit in His presence, the more aware I am of His holiness compared to my sinful nature.  I feel the divide between us, how far I am from Him in righteousness, and yet, He says, "Look at Me."

But I say, "No, Lord, do not look upon me, for I am black with sin."

He answers, "My dove, there is no stain upon you."

He has blessed me far beyond all I could ask or think - I am the object of His affection and at times feel Him very close to me.  He loves me, and while I know I do not deserve Him, He has given Himself to me and for me, so I may be with Him where He is.

I was created for Him.  I was created to worship and adore Him.  And I do, wholeheartedly.

He is the object of MY affection, and may it never be otherwise.  I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine.  I have found the One whom my soul loves.

Yeshua Messiah, Son of God, Lord of Hosts, King of Kings, Ancient of Days.

Words are not adequate to describe my devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.  I praise Him that He can read my heart, for He is the strength of my heart, and my portion... FOREVER.


~~Becka

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When Did Love Become Unconsuming?

In borrowing a lyric from the Sidewalk Prophets, I wanted to share with you a topic that's been on my heart lately.  When did love become unconsuming?  I'm sure you've heard people groaning about those who post endlessly about Christ on social media.  I certainly have, likely because I am one of those who endlessly posts about Christ on social media.  My Facebook, my Twitter, my blog...  I glorify Jesus all the time, and all the time, I glorify Jesus.


I'm not too worried about unbelievers who groan.  That is to be expected.  But since when has it become okay for believers to groan at the Word of the Lord?  I have noticed a few people who profess Christ on the one hand are jaded when it comes to glorifying Him outwardly.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, it's almost a "keep it to yourself" mentality.

Is there even such a thing as "too much Jesus" for a Christian?  Is that even possible?  My short answer is no.  Let's lay aside social media for a moment and talk about lifestyle.  Does Jesus mean everything to you, or is He just an accessory to your life, like the fish on your car?  Is He the center of your life or the cherry on top?

Many Christians would say, "Oh, He's the center, absolutely."  But their lives don't reflect this.  They're like people who look at their face in a mirror but when they walk away, they forget what they look like (James 1:23-24).  For all God has done for the sinner, He became flesh, lived a perfect life, taught us how to follow Him, died for our sins, conquered death, rose again and ascended back to Glory, is our contribution to His epic, awe-inspiring Love to merely say, "Yeah, I'm a Christian", or is it to live like one?

Do you not know that the true Christian is born again (John 3:3)?  He has new desires, new longings.  His gaze is now heavenward, not worldward.  He lives and breathes for Christ, his life revolves around Him, and it's obvious to one and all.  This isn't lip service.  This is true service.  Where is our zeal for the things of Christ, brethren?  Look around you.  The Church has lost her zeal.  Read the book of Acts and ask yourself if the Church of the 21st century looks anything like the Church of the 1st century.  Why not?

I read a LOT of books.  Some of my favorites are the Puritans of old, as well as a few preachers from the 19th century.  Their view of God was so high, it's like climbing Mt. Everest just to witness the same view.  These men had a singular focus, a song in their hearts, and an all-consuming love for Christ.  Men like Edwards, Brooks, Whitefield, Watts, and Watson.  Owen, Sibbes, Baxter, Goodwin, Brainerd, and McCheyne.  Spurgeon, Ryle, Moody, and Lloyd-Jones.

Where are folks such as these in today's pulpit?  What makes these men stand out when compared to our own preachers?  They were stoic men of prayer, devoted to studying the Bible, committed to the cause of Christ.  One doesn't have to be a pastor in order to have such zeal for the Living God.  Where is the congregation's zeal?  Why are people content to hear a message and go on their merry way as if this life is all there is?

Examine yourself and ask the question, "Does my life glorify God?"

"That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference: God, in His Word, greatly insists upon it, that we be in good earnest, 'fervent in spirit', and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion."  Romans 12:11, Deuteronomy 6:4-5
~~Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

Examine yourself and ask the question, "Does the love of Christ ignite my passion for Him?"

"Christ's love in us, is as the loadstone to the iron.  Our hearts are heavy and downwards of themselves.  We may especially know His love by this, that it draws us upwards, and makes us heavenly minded.  It makes us desire further and further communion with Him.  Still there is a magnetical attractive force in Christ's love.  Wheresoever it is, it draws the hearts and affections after it." 
~~Richard Sibbes, The Love of Christ

If not, why not?

Do you find Jesus boring?  Then you don't know Him.
Do you find His Word dull?  Then it is not manna to you.
Do you find those who love Christ with their heart and soul annoying?  They are not your brethren.
Do you think there's a time for Jesus, just as there's a time for chores, for work, and for play?  Then you are not fit for the Kingdom of God. 

Hard words, I know.  But I am hard-pressed to call nominal Christians "Christians" at all.  If you're not all in with your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then why are you "in" at all?  Christ said He will one day spew the lukewarm out of His mouth in disgust (Revelation 3:16).  This assumes those who are "lukewarm" aren't truly Christians at all, because Christ loses NONE of His sheep (John 6:37, John 10:14).

 "There is within each of us a terrible tendency to become neglectful, indifferent, and lukewarm towards the Lord Jesus Christ.  This common, sinful tendency of our nature must be marked, acknowledged, and avoided." 
~~Don Fortner, Discovering Christ in the Song of Solomon

So let me ask you again.  When did love become unconsuming?  Has your love for Jesus grown cold?  Redeem the time and stoke those embers while He may be found.  Ask the Lord to breathe upon you and ignite that fire again.  Don't be the one to hear the Lord say that you've abandoned your First Love (Revelation 2:4)  Rededicate your life to Him and seek the Lord Jesus Christ.  Follow in the tracks of the flock and pasture yourself beside the tents of His shepherds (Songs 1:8).  Go back to the rock from which you were hewn (Isaiah 51:1) and drink deeply from the wells of those who have gone before you. 

In Jesus' name.







~~Becka

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It is Impossible to Keep Faith in Christ Private

Recently I have heard people say online and in articles that they don't have a problem with Christianity, as long as believers keep their beliefs private and to themselves.  A particularly graphic article compared sharing one's faith with publicly exposing themselves.  In one sense, I can understand the sentiment, that those of the secular world don't wish to have Christian ideals forced upon them.  Christianity should never be forced on anyone.  In fact, it cannot be forced, as each individual must come to Christ by their own accord. 

However, by stating Christianity should be a private faith seems to impose the same "rule" society has about one's sex life.  "Don't tell me about it, I don't want to know.  That's between you and Him.  Keep it in your bedroom."  Going back to the article mentioned above, public belief is likened to be no better than a pervert flashing the populace.

But keeping things quiet between you and God is not what the Lord Jesus Christ had in mind.  In fact, keeping a private faith is not being true to His teachings.  True Christianity is about going into the world and making disciples (Matthew 28:19).  True Christianity is living the abundant life.


There is no such thing as a "private" abundant life.  What does it mean to have an "abundant" life?  Well, let's start with a life sold out for Jesus Christ.  When one loves another, how easy is it to keep that love private?  Doesn't it become quite obvious when someone falls in love?  The object of their affection is all they can talk about, think about, wonder about, learn about.  It is no different with Jesus.  Christians don't merely "believe" in Jesus like I "believe" the sky is blue.  Christians adore Jesus.  Their minds are staid on Him.  

The abundant life also stems from having a Christian world view.  It is impossible to keep one's Christianity private when their entire world view is shaped by their beliefs.  Everything they do will be affected by this world view.  

In other words, the true Christian cannot merely blend in.  If they claim Christianity and yet look no different than the world, something is very wrong.

 

In fact, we are called by our Lord to shine (Matthew 5:16). One cannot "shine" privately.  What happens when you turn on a lamp?  Do other people in the room know you've done so?  Is it even possible not to know when a lamp is turned on in a darkened room?  Christ told us that no one lights a lamp and hides it under a basket (Matthew 5:15).  And yet that's exactly what some are calling us to do!



Now, this is not to say we should beat people on the head with the Bible.  We simply shine.  The idea of being a light isn't to condemn your fellow man, but to live in the grace and truth of God and be a fisher of men.  It's to live in such a way that people cannot help but know there's something different about you.  Christ told us our hearts would overflow with rivers of Living Water (John 7:38).  How can THAT be kept private?  Simple - it can't.

The overflow stems from our love for God.  We cannot help but praise His holy name.  We cannot help but thank Him.  We look to Him for help, for peace, for grace, for love, for joy.  In fact, God is to be so much the center of our lives, that we would be willing to give up our families, even our very lives for Him (Luke 14:26).  We are instructed to deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him (Matthew 16:24).  That cannot be done within the privacy of our own hearts.  

The whole point is to put our lives on display for the glory of God!

Another reason we cannot keep our faith to ourselves is the intense joy loving and following Christ gives us.  The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).  It's undeniable, and likely the very light by which we shine.  How can we find our strength and peace in times of trial?  It's the joy of the Lord.  

Have you ever tried to hide pure joy?  

What do you do when you're joyous?  You crank the music.  You dance.  You laugh.  You whoop and holler.  You call your friends.  You scream and shout.  You jump up and down.  You hug people.  You smile, and most of the time, your joy is infectious.  Others want to be happy with you.  You bring joy into their hearts.  This is what the abundant life means.  This is what shining means.  This is the fruit of a life lived for God's glory.

That is not to say only Christians can be full of joy.  Obviously anyone can feel joy.  However, our joy is not dependent upon our circumstance, but upon Christ - and therein lies the difference.  

Christianity is a world view.  It is a lifestyle.  It is a conviction, a belief that permeates the core of your soul.  It is a joy, an adoration, an all-consuming fire that is impossible to contain.  How, then, can we keep things quiet?  We can't, bottom line.  

I am well aware there are many out there who give Christianity a bad name.  A lot of these people are the more famous faces of the faith.  But the heart and soul of true Christianity is all about being like Christ and magnifying His name.

And He most certainly did NOT keep to Himself in Judea!



~~Becka