Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Discard Darkness & Armor Up with Light

What does it mean to discard darkness?

How do we armor up with light?

"The night is nearly over and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:12, CSB)

There are a few words in this verse that really jumped out at me when I read them recently.

The first thing was where it talks about discarding the deeds of darkness. Other translations say to put aside the deed of darkness in this verse. For me, the word discard when I read it in this translation was what stuck, rather than saying put aside. I tend to see putting aside as leaving something to come back to it later, but discarding speaks of something more permanent to me.

We should be removing the deeds of darkness from our lives for good. We discard them and they're not there for us to take back up again. They're not something we can go back to.

This isn't easy, but it's necessary. This verse goes on to say what we should take up when we discard the deeds of darkness.

We put on the armor of light. I'd never really thought about light as armor before. Light exposes and reveals, but I didn't see it as something that protects like I think of armor. Light doesn't hide anything.

But, I guess that really is armor against the deeds of darkness. These deeds depend on darkness to hide them from view, so when we take up the armor of light, we expose them for the what they really are. In this way, it does make light armor - it protects us from being deceived into doing the deeds of darkness.

To discard the deeds of darkness, we first have to allow God to point them out to us. We go His Word and we go to Him in prayer and ask Him to show us the places where we are engaged in the deeds of darkness.

Once they've been revealed, we repent of them and turn to God's ways. We choose to walk in His ways, and that means we are walking in the light. Walking in the light is how we armor up with light. We refuse to walk in  the shadows, and instead choose to walk in God's ways and stay in the His light.

Where are you engaging in the deeds of darkness in your life? Are you willing to allow God to point them out?

Will you choose to walk in the light of God's truth and God's ways instead?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

More Than Conquerors!

What does it mean that we're more than conquerors?

How is this possible?

Romans 8:37 says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors."

The words "more than conquerors" jumped off the page at me when I read it recently. I've these words lots before, but it was like I was reading them for the first time.

As I looked at the context of this verse, I realized the whole passage is about the victory we already have in Christ! We get to live from a place of victory, not a place of defeat. The passage around this verse (Romans 8:31-39) talks about the victory we have in Christ.

This isn't a victory brought about by what we have done. It's brought about by the work of Christ on our behalf. This means there is nothing that can separate me from it. This victory isn't going away. It is secure.

When we fully understand this, it changes the way we live. It changes how we approach the daily battles when we know our ultimate victory has already been secured. We fight differently when we're not fighting from a place of defeat. We fight confidently when we know the outcome is victory.

It doesn't mean it suddenly becomes easy or that we don't have any battles to fight. We still have hard and bloody battles to fight. It's still messy. But, it does give us hope in the middle of long and difficult battles. A hope that helps us to keep fighting.

What battle are you fighting that you're ready to quit?

Are you fighting it from a place of defeat? Or are you standing in the victory that has already been achieved for you through Christ?

God's Word tells us we are more than conquerors. We get to fight from a place of victory.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Blessing in the Struggle?

I've written a lot about the struggles and challenges of living with an anxiety disorder. I've tried to share honestly about what it looks like. In doing so, I've also started to see a side of it that I hadn't thought too much about before now. In the midst of the daily battle, it's easy to just see the challenges. But, as I've written more about it, I've begun to more clearly see the blessing in it and the way God is using it in my life.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." I've always struggled with this verse - especially in regards to this part of my life. If God is about working for my good, then why do I have this struggle in my life?

But, I've recently come to see that this verse isn't about God only allowing good things in our lives. It's about God taking all that happens in our lives and using it for good - for His purposes. He will take it and use it to bring Him glory in and with our lives.

As I've begun to grasp this, I still don't think I would say I'm thankful for this particular struggle. But, I am thankful that it doesn't mean God can't use me and I'm thankful for what He has done in me through this. I'm sure God could have taught me some of these lessons in other ways, but I know I've learned them, at least in part, because of living with social anxiety disorder.

One of the biggest things I've learned is that there's nothing that prevents God from using you. I know that in my own strength, I can't do a lot of what I do. It's all God choosing to use me that way despite something that would seem to disqualify me from doing that.

I've had to learn to rely on God in a deeper way than I would without this. On the days when I'm really struggling to just keep going, the only way I can do it to rely on God. Sometimes all I can do is pray and trust Him to do it when I can't.

As someone who likes to be able to do it well on their own, this hasn't always been easy. And I haven't always seen it as a blessing. For a long time I saw it just as a weakness. But lately, I've been learning that it's a blessing to be completely dependent on God for everything. It's how we were created to live, and it's a much better way than trying to do it all on our own.