Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let’s review what we have learned so far:
- Possibility – Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
- Remission of sins – Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.
- No Death – John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (NKJV)
Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. You will never die. That should change everything about how you deal with this temporary existence on earth.
- Complete Satisfaction – John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (NKJV)
Jesus is the pure water of life. Drink deeply, drink regularly, and drink exclusively from the Well of Heaven, and you will never thirst again. The Lord Jesus is the bread of life. Come feast on Him and you will never hunger. Just for Believers, you don’t ever have to hunger or thirst again. The physical promise will be entirely fulfilled when this sin-cursed world has passed away. The spiritual promise is yours NOW. If you are hungry, it’s because you aren’t eating, or you’ve traded bread for junk food. If you are thirsty, it’s because you aren’t drinking, or you’re drinking the wrong thing.
- Fruit Bearing – Matthew 7:17-20 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (NKJV)
Believers bear fruit. If there is no fruit in your life, do yourself an eternal favor, and evaluate whether you are truly a Christian, or a pretender. Remember the old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck – it’s a duck. If you walk like the world, talk like world, and act like the world, does it makes sense to claim you are a Christian? If you are a Believer, you have Christian fruit in your life. Learn to allow the Great Gardner, and Vine Dresser to prune you, cultivate you and fertilize you, so that your fruit may be plentiful and of the best quality (that’s a message for another series!). Remember, fruit is not to be left hanging on the true to ripen, rot and fall off. Fruit is meant to give life and health to those around the tree who can see the fruit, and pick it to eat. Through your witness, sharing the Gospel, your behavior, your language, your joyfulness, your humility and your servant-mentality, you will bless others with the fruit of your Christian life, and through it, bring spiritual life, health and blessing to those around you for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord and Master.
Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (NKJV)
Light… have you ever stopped and thought about it? Light is an actual “thing” whereas darkness is the absence of light. God is light. Light is necessary for life. Without light, we would go mad living in complete blackness, which by the way, is one of the states of punishment in hell (Matt 25.30).
When light is present, darkness must flee. Light exposes impurity as when a shaft of sunshine through a window shows all the dust floating in the air that you can’t see otherwise. Light makes things visible. Light clarifies. Light effects everything it touches.
Believers are called to be light. Wow, that’s a lot bigger consideration than most of us have ever thought about. Let’s take a quick look at darkness first, to help us understand even more fully what being light is all about:
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NKJV)
Satan represents darkness. He is the ruler of this “age”, the time in which God’s creation suffers from the curse of sin and wickedness is allowed for a short time to exist.
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, (NKJV)
Darkness has a hold over mankind. Darkness is the curse of sin and influence of evil entities including wicked humans, demons and Satan.
Matthew 6:23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (NKJV)
The unsaved are in complete darkness. Only the Light of Jesus Christ can make the “bad eyes” good and allow light to enter.
The Bible presents the imagery of darkness as representative of all things evil, wicked and sinful. Satan is darkness; God is light. Unbelievers are darkness, Christians are light.
Why is it important to understand that? Because the idea that most Christians have about us being “the light” in this world, conjures up thoughts of being happy, joyful and bringing smiles to faces. It is presented as something akin to opening up the drapes and letting the sun shine in and all the warm, nice thoughts and feelings that go with that picture. Of course, there is truth in those ideas. All of those aspects are certainly part of “being light”, but if we stop there, we really miss the meat of the matter.
As Christians, being the light of the world means coming against the darkness, exposing the darkness and shining lights where the world doesn’t want the lights on. It is not always sunshine and smiles when “the light” is turned on. Like suddenly being awakened at night with a bright light, sometimes the light is painful. Much like walking out into the bright sunshine not being able to open your eyes because it hurts until your eyes get adjusted to the sun.
Being a Godly light is much more than being happy and cheerful.
Being light in a dark world has many negative and costly aspects. Satan is the present ruler of this sin-cursed world. He and his armies of rebellious angels do not want your light. Sinful humans don’t like the light. The pleasures and secrets of the night do not want the lights turned on and to be exposed. The wicked human heart, full of deception, lies and rationalization, does not want a shaft of sunlight piercing into it exposing the dirt, dust and impurities that cannot otherwise be seen.
This sin cursed world loves the darkness because they are deceived into believing that the cover of darkness, the veil of night, will hide their wickedness from the prying eyes of the ever present Creator, whom they deny, but deep down instinctively know exists. Sin, wickedness and evil flourish and crave the secrecy of darkness because like mushrooms in a cave, it cannot grow and flourish when exposed to light.
This really changes the light-hearted (pun intended!) notion that for Christians to be the “light of the world” is simply the idea of spreading smiles and happiness. No dear Brothers and Sisters… being light is a very serious and dangerous business because you are coming against the Prince of the Darkness and all of the evil that would like to see light extinguished once and for all.
Being light means piercing the black veil of sin that covers the hearts of the lost who will frequently be unwilling, unappreciative and retaliatory in response to their wicked state being exposed. Being light means going against what the world wants, teaches and declares as truth. Being light means being persecuted. Being light means facing the wrath of darkness that doesn’t want your light.
No matter. God calls us to be light, to walk in light and to shine the light regardless of cost, results or discomfort. Jesus came to us as the ultimate Light, the original Light, and He saved us from the darkness of our condemnation. If for no other reason than gratitude for being saved from hell, it would remain our privilege to carry on the light of Christ to others who are still in the dark.
Much more than happiness and smiles, look at all the things that light represents in Scripture:
- Glory of God – 1 Timothy 6:15-16 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (NKJV)
- Purity of God – 1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (NKJV)
- Guidance of God – Psalm 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. (NKJV)
- Glory of Christ – Acts 26:13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. (NKJV)
- Word of God – Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. (NKJV)
- Gospel of Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)
- Children of God – Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (NKJV)
- Our Future Glory – Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (NKJV)
- Path of Good – Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. (NKJV)
- Our Joy and Hope – Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. (NKJV)
- The Truth – John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (NKJV)
- God the Father of Lights – James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV)
- The Eternal Light – Revelation 21:23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (NKJV)
You can see from these verses that being light for God is serious business. Look at the ways the light represents God, and YOU and I are supposed to be that light in this wicked world of darkness. It is a tremendous and all encompassing command. With all these thoughts, verses and ideas in mind, now read what God requires of you and I as Believers:
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (NKJV)
Lord God, Help us to understand what being light is all about. Help us to count the cost, follow You and take the Light of Christ to lost, dying and dark lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: As Believers, we are to be the light of God, shining His truth on the darkness of sin and evil. Being light is not simply being cheerful and spreading joy. It is using God’s truth to expose darkness and shine light into a world veiled in wickedness. It is serious and costly business.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?