Like the Breaking of the Dawn: How Faith, Prayer, and the Holy Spirit Bring Spiritual Illumination

morningIn the Gospels, the disciples of Christ often appear as experts in missing the point. While seeing, they don’t yet see. Like an untrained miner, they do not yet possess and appreciation for the jewel that stands before them. Christ is the pearl of great price, the treasure of incomparable value. Yet, it took time for the disciples to perceive who Christ was and how he was bringing the kingdom of God.

The same might be true today. Although, we do not physically see Jesus Christ, we inhabit a world where the Spirit of Christ has been sent. While Christ’s absence may constitute some disadvantage to our understanding, the gift of the Spirit is a far greater advantage. As Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).

Thus, contrary to what we might think, to have the Spirit of Christ in this age is better than having the physical Christ. For to have the Spirit is to have Christ and the Father—for he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. And more, in having the Spirit of Truth, we have One who opens our blinded eyes, convicts our dull souls, and enables us to see and believe in the Lord. Indeed, by the Spirit-inspired Word of God we have access to knowing in ways the disciples struggled to grasp. Continue reading

Go and Hide No More

[This article was originally featured in our hometown newspaper, The Seymour Tribune].

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they hid. And we, their children, have followed suit. Without even knowing it, men and women hide themselves behind alcohol, drugs, clothes, makeup, cars, accomplishments, hobbies, sarcasm, aggression and on it goes.

Instead of using God’s created world to glorify God, we have become masters at taking his creation and using it to serve our own purposes. With money we attempt secure our future; with success we try to hide our flaws; and with entertainment we cover up our loneliness and disappointment.

And yet, spiritually separated from God, we can never mine from the world what we lost in the Garden. Like Adam and Eve, we attempt to look good with fig-leaf fashion. But this only increases our vulnerability.

How many things do you do in order to avoid failure, increase status, or preserve your reputation? Left to ourselves, we are enslaved to our hiding places.

But there is a way out. In 1 John 1:9, the beloved disciple writes, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Amazingly, the root cause of our fears —sin — is the very thing that God tells us to bring before him.

Amazingly, even as objects of his wrath, God is not looking for us to do good works to regain his favor. The Bible does not say that God is a friend of good saints. It says he is a friend of sinners.

For those who come to him confessing sin, he promises pardon and cleansing. And notice what he says. Forgiveness in this verse is not based on his grace but justice.

This is the beauty of Christianity. At the cross, Jesus made it possible for those who live a life of hiding to be legally pardoned from their sin and lovingly adopted by God their Father. In Christ, there is no penalty left to pay, and thus there is no reason left to hide.

In short, when a sinner receives forgiveness, it unshackles them from the prison of their own making. Instead of micromanaging their world to set up a persona that protects them, they can be who God created them to be, and more. They can reach out to others with the same love they have received.

Friend, sin hidden will destroy you, but sin confessed to God will free you. Will you put down your fig leaf? God has a robe of righteousness to securely clothe you.