Building the Body – Colossians 1:9-14

Prayer Is The Fuel For Spiritual Body Building

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Foundational Fuel

Everywhere you look in scripture, people are praying.  They are praying to worship God in praise.  They are praying to petition God for assistance.  They are praying for God’s will to come about.  And here, Paul and Epaphras are praying that the seed that was planted in the church body located at Colossi would flourish.

Prayer is the fuel and only offensive weapon we have in our spiritual warfare:

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Jesus definitively recognized that His disciples should pray.  Notice the words He uses when He talks about prayer:

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Jesus doesn’t say, “If you pray…”, or, “Should you decide to pray…”, or, “Perhaps you should pray…”.  Jesus says, “…when you pray…”.  One of the reasons that we are so weak is that we are not doing what our body-building trainer tells us to do – P R A Y!

Body Building

In this passage, there are several tips to successful spiritual body-building.  And just as Earthly body-builders need to practice and have workouts to keep their physical bodies in top shape, spiritual body-builders need to complete their workouts to keep their spiritual lives in top shape.  God is all about relationship.  Prayer is communication, which is a vital part of the relationship process.

Here are some of the tips and tricks provided to us to up our game in spiritual body-building from Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ:

Dominion of Darkness

Before God the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus Christ to us, we were in the dominion of darkness.  Satan was our father, for our deeds were evil and we neither sought out God, nor gave Him glory.  The world, the flesh, and the devil were our constant companions and our advisors.  We were born with a sin nature passed down to us from Adam.  It’s no wonder that we were slaves in bondage to sin.

Crown of Christ

Jesus came to rescue us from our bondage to sin and from sin itself, and reconcile us to the Father.  When we confessed Jesus Christ as Lord, we were moved into the Kingdom of Light.  We have been adopted as children into the family of God.  Jesus is our brother; we are his brothers and sisters.

This seems very basic, but it has profound meaning and implication in our lives.  No longer are we prohibited from experentially and relationally knowing God.  No longer do we look in confusion or bewilderment at who God is; God is revealing Himself to us through His Son in His word and through the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

To those who have been given much, much is expected.  How much has God given you?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I being faithful in my spiritual body-building exercises?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, the knowledge that You have adopted me into Your family is too wonderful for me to comprehend.  Just as an orphan is stunned after being adopted into a loving family, I am still stunned as I ponder the implications of being adopted into Your family.  You have done great and mighty things on and for my behalf.  You have given me an eternal future with You, access to You in Your throne room any time I need or just want to be there, and you have given me access to the royal treasury by blessing me with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  You have said that to those who have been given much, more is expected.  Father, what do you expect of me?  Show me that I may do all that you desire for me to do and become in gratitude for all that You have done for me.  Help me to remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, and pray fervently for them that they would be built up in Christ.  Give me Your love, so that it will be on display for all to see.  Help me to yield myself to you completely.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Secret Societies and God – John 3:19-21

Darkness HATES the light

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Liberating Light

Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world…”.  EVERYTHING that Jesus did was done in the presence of a great cloud of witnesses.  This was give great honor and glory to God.  Jesus frees us from the bondage of sin.  Sin tries to get us to hide what we are doing, for fear that others will see it and will judge us (or, in many cases, become witnesses when we are prosecuted for our crimes).

There is a difference between privacy and secrecy.  The marital relations between married people is to be practiced privately (it is the non-God approved physical relations among humans that are [generally] performed secretly…).  Passwords are to be private, because others shouldn’t know them (whereas hacking for passwords is done surreptitiously).  There are many other examples where things are considered private, but not secret.

When we operate in secrecy, we don’t wish anyone (even God!) to know what we are doing.  Even in the military ranks of most nations, there is a need to keep information compartmentalized because its public knowledge could possibly compromise a nation’s security.  But to keep something secret is something else.  If a military plan is created where its contents will not be made known to the highest members of military command, that usually indicates that it is not good.  God has NEVER once said in the Bible that “the end justifies the means”.  On the contrary, God expects holiness and righteousness to reign and rule in our lives, and if there are consequences, then God will take care of them.

Jesus exposed the deeds of darkness.  He never once engaged in them, for He WAS light.

Danger of Darkness

Darkness provides the veil and cloak of secrecy that evil so greatly desires.  Evil does not want to be seen.  It is much more effective working from the shadows, out of the public eye, where it can steal, kill and destroy.  Darkness becomes a place where people begin to justify what they are doing.  Because the light of truth is not revealing the nature and origin of their plans, many people don’t even realize that they have given over control of their lives to darkness.  Their fear keeps them in bondage, and they grow even more evil as the very voice that prompted them to do something in darkness is now condemning them and threatening them with it.  How terrible it is to be caught in the cloak of secrecy!  For when the truth reveals what has happened, the destruction and ruination that follows is inevitable.

Evil Exposed

Light exposes the evil in darkness.  By its very nature, light provides the resource necessary to reflect the nature of something.  And human beings, in their carnal nature, are salacious and gossipy creatures, greatly desiring the next morsel of impropriety and humiliation in the lives of others.  For some reason, this makes people feel good about themselves.

Everything that we do should be done in the light of truth.  If there is any doubt as to whether or not something would be perceived as inappropriate or damaging, it should be discussed with trusted, respected, Spirit-filled people who can ascertain if a decision or direction would cause harm to someone.  In every case, application of light into a dark area will cause the truth about circumstances to be illuminated and exposed.  It is better to expose something before it happens rather than deal with the consequences of it after it happens.

Tantalizing Truth

People have been lied to and deceived for so long and with so much, that ANY revelation of truth is received and embraced.  Since human beings were created in the image of God, we desire truth, even though our sin nature desires what it wants, which is to be ignored by truth and the light.  Otherwise, it cannot have its way.

Glory to God

Secret Societies DO NOT bring glory to God.   They clothe their actions in secrecy, in an attempt to make members feel as though they are special, because they have secret knowledge and support from their likewise-sworn members that ALL others (who are excluded) do not.  This is a divisive tool, used by the enemy of our souls, to divide us so that we can be more easily conquered.

Under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, Paul the Apostle penned these words:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

The information in the Bible is freely given to anyone who wants to learn (it costs money to print Bibles, so they may not necessarily be “free”, but anyone with access to the Internet can access the Bible for no additional fee).  The manual for most secret societies is closely guarded and members swear that they will not show it to others.  How can God be given glory if the deeds of men are done in darkness?

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

If you would like a more in-depth analysis of the compatibility (or lack thereof) of Christianity (discipleship in Christ) and Secret Societies, please take the time to read the analysis performed by the Christian & Missionary Alliance on the subject.

Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I shining light into the world, or cloaking it with darkness?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have brought Light into the world.  Help me to be light for You.  Shine Your glory through me, that others would be attracted to the light like moths.  I pray that Christ would be so apparent in my life that His character would be winsome to all who see You working in and through me.  Father, give me the strength to turn from any darkness in my life.  This may cause me financial, emotional, and relational distress.  I pray, Father, that as I turn ever more in alignment with You, that You would deal with all of these other issues.  Help me to seek you with abandon, that nothing would come between You and me.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Shock and Awe by God – Matthew 27:44-54

God Announces Significant Events With Signs and Wonders

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Drape Divided

At three o’clock local time in Israel, on April 3, 33 C.E.*, the temple veil was torn in two.  This is significant for several reasons.

First, the temple veil kept the innermost part of the temple, the Holy of Holies (in the Greek, the naos), separate from the rest of the temple.  It was holy – set apart for God and God alone.  Only the high priest could enter this area, and only once a year to perform the yearly sacrifice for sin for the Israelites.  When the veil was torn in two, it symbolically announced the arrival of the time that Jesus had foretold to the Samaritan woman at the well:

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Indeed – the time had come when all true worshipers would worship in truth and spirit.

Secondly, the veil was torn from top to bottom.  This signified that it was God who tore the veil, and not man.  God was the one who now changed the relationship between man and Himself.  No longer would there be a separation between God and man, requiring that people come to the temple to worship.

Thirdly, God changed the location of the temple.  The naos** was the location where the presence of God dwelt.  Up until the time of the death of Jesus, this was the tent of meeting or the Holy of Holies in the temple.  Now, God dwells in each believer.  God has forsaken the vessels built by man and is now inhabiting the vessel built by God – the believer’s body.  The temple is no longer a building but the very bodies God has given us:

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple** and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Enormous Earthquake

When God makes a statement, He generally tends to do it either softly (the still, small voice), or with a lot of panache.  On this day, God used a LOT of panache.  Not only did the veil hiding the Holy of Holies tear from top to bottom, but there was a great earthquake.  God wanted to make sure He got EVERYONE’S attention.  Signs in the Sun, Moon, and stars were going on, and if people weren’t paying attention, they would miss it.  God ensured that everyone in Israel would be stirred to attention to what had just happened.

Boulders Broken

Not only did the ground shake, the boulders shook as well.   They Bible says that the rocks were rent in two – the rocks had cried out and bore witness to the sorrow of the death of the Son of God.  Having no clothing to rent (tear apart), they tore themselves apart.

Death Defied

Not to be outdone, God wanted everyone to know that this was no ordinary day of events.  God raised the dead from their graves and sent them into Jerusalem.  The dead had risen – only The Lord God Almighty has the ability to raise the dead.  This day would not be soon forgotten by those who had witnessed it.  And just to make sure, God ensured that the centurion and others who were guarding Jesus on the cross bore witness when they cried out, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Heavenly Hosts

And God, who does not change, made sure that this event had a heavenly sign as well.  When the Moon rose that night, it was a full blood Moon, as prophesied by Joel***.  But the most interesting part was that at exactly 3:00 PM Israel local time, when Jesus gave His last breath, the Moon went into eclipse.  The people of Israel would not have seen the Moon until about 6:00 PM.  And when they did, they would have seen that the Woman rose with the Moon at her feet, and the twelve stars crowning her head.  But this time, she was not clothed with the sun.  She came in darkness, the most blackest darkness as befitted the death of the most Holy Son of God.  And the Moon, which first rose as a new, white-as-snow crescent Moon at the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit in Mary, a life just starting, now rose as full Moon, stained blood-red with Jesus’ death, a life fully lived.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I paying attention to the signs that God is placing in the sky with the Sun, the Moon, and the stars?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are faithful in all that You do.  You show us signs and wonders when You do significant things.  Help us to be a people who pay attention to Your word, and what You are doing.  Give me a sense of urgency in my heart for what troubles Yours, and help me to bring about Your plan that You have put into place to tell the world about You, Your Son, our sin, and Your desire to reconcile with us here on Earth rather than at the White Throne seat of judgment, where we will no longer have any chance to settle our debt with You.  Father, You are a holy and just God who cannot tolerate sin.  Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, for my sins.  Make my heart ache as I watch those who do not know you.  Give me a sense of purpose and boldness, that I too would testify about Jesus as Peter did at Pentecost and before the Sanhedrin.  And Father, help me to pay attention to the signs that You are giving that Jesus is coming soon.  For wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


Notes – This blog has been edited for clarity.

*Fred Larson has definitively identified April 3, 33 C.E. as the day of the death of Christ.  Using logic and clues from the Bible, he was able to accurately determine the date.  Using the software program Starry Night, Fred Larson was able to corroborate that this was the day by confirming that a blood Moon – a full lunar eclipse – occurred on this day as well.

**  The Greek word used here is naos, the same word that is used for the Temple’s innermost sanctum, the Holy of Holies.  God had Paul use this word because it was the only part of the temple that God could reside in.  It was declared holy – set apart for God’s plans and purposes.  In the same way, we are set apart as well.  Paul later reminds us of this in Romans 12:1-2:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

*** The sun turned to darkness is interesting.  From the perspective of the Earth, the Moon turned to blood.  If you were able to stand on the Moon and look at the Sun (a REALLY COOL feature of the Starry Night software program!), you would see that the sun was now in full eclipse as well – it would appear as black as sackcloth.  When Jesus died on the cross, and He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”, God the Father withdrew His presence, power, glory, and His holy light from His One and Only Son.  And indeed, from Jesus’ perspective (the Moon was blood-red, indicating that it was representative of Christ’s condition and position, so the Sun would represent God the Father’s position and condition in relation to the Son), the light had indeed turned to darkness. (Special thanks to Fred Larson for spelling this out in his movie, “The Star of Bethlehem“.)

Combat Training with God – John 8:31-38

Adhere To The Teachings Of Jesus Christ

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

Disciples are Devoted

The term “Christian” has been used for over a thousand years to refer to people who say they believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Originally, people referred to the followers of Jesus as chrestos, or “the kind ones.”  They were gentle and humble of heart.  Just after the crucifixion of Jesus, His followers did amazing things.  They would go down by the river to retrieve children that were tossed away by their parents and raise them as their own.  When plagues came to the cities, everyone fled, but the chrestos rushed in to provide relief and help, often to their own peril.

The term “Christian” was, at that time, a derogatory pejorative.  However, a more proper term for those who believe Jesus would be “disciple”.  Anyone can claim the title “Christian”, because all it means is that someone believes Jesus is the Son of God.  Even the demons believe, and shudder.  A disciple, on the other hand, would be expected to follow in their master’s footsteps, copying everything that their master did.  They were obedient to their master’s teachings, and not only professed to believe, but lived out their lives in a manner worthy of their master.  They were not merely claiming intellectual ascent to their master’s ideas and ways, they practiced them in such a way that they were indistinguishable from them, to the best of their ability.

Truth Triumphs

In a world where our leaders (and even leaders nearly two thousand years ago) would exclaim, “What is truth?“, we live in a time where culture embraces the idea that truth is relative to the person, and that there is no such thing as an absolute.  Rather, culture teaches that the end justifies the means, and whatever means necessary are not only valid but are required to ensure the desired outcome for anything that we do.

Jesus monumentally stated that when we know the truth, it will set us free.  And when we are set free by the Son, we are free indeed.  Sin keeps us in bondage to itself.  It is only by throwing off the yoke of sin and placing the yoke of Christ upon our shoulders that we are able to act freely.  This comes at a great price, as people scorn, persecute, and often execute those who do this.

Monumental Misunderstanding

The Jews that Jesus was talking to had claimed that they had never been slaves of anyone.  In their eyes, they had always been under the care and protection of the Lord God Almighty. It was He who was sovereign, and so if any difficulty came in the form of being scattered and sold as slaves, it was at the providence of God that it occurred.  Esther declared that they had been the slaves of others, but it did not bother them:

“For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”

Even she has admitted that they were sold into slavery, yet in their minds, they were the children of God, and merely being disciplined.

Slavery in Sin

Sin entraps those who choose it in a terrible, invisible prison of slavery.  Once we sin, we have become its slave.  Each and every time we say yes to sin, we become more inured to its effects.  Our thinking becomes clouded, and we being to justify what we are doing.  We are unaware of the hardening of our hearts, and the destruction of our souls.  King David went down this path when he raped Bathsheba.  He began a terrible string of errors to cover his sin that eventually led to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband.  Only a public rebuke by God through the prophet Nathan was able to get him to realize the extent of his sin.

Sin whispers that it is too late, and there is no recovery.  We often believe the lies and become its slave for a time.  But thanks be to God for His Son, Jesus Christ, who has overcome sin, the world, and Satan.  We have repentance through His blood and access to the throne of God to repent and again throw off the yoke of slavery that we bear in sin.

Phenomenal Freedom

Jesus Christ tells us that if the Son sets us free, we are free indeed.  The sacrifice for sin in the precious, sinless blood of the lamb of God was the final, complete, and unconditional payment for our sin in full.  In that blood, we are declared righteous by God; and once exonerated (pardoned), the crime can no longer be held against us.  When we are freed by Jesus from our sin, for all sins past, present, and future, no one can lay a charge against the elect of God – they have been declared sin-free.

We must now live out the freedom that Christ paid so dearly for with His blood in our daily lives as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God.  It is through obedience to the teachings of our master that we the bondage and slavery of sin are shrugged off as we walk in the truth that sets us free.  For when we no longer walk in darkness but in the light, we are freed from the slavery that the absence of light perpetuates, for the darkness hates the light; the light has freed the captives.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Is there anything in our lives that is holding us in darkness and keeping us as its slave?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have freed me from the bondage and slavery of sin, and I thank and praise You for Your sacrifice.  Thank You for showing me the light of the world, and the eternal truth that is Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me, Father, to walk in the light as I willingly give myself to You fully so that Your purposes may be displayed in me.  Transform me with Your word through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Help me to walk in truth, and to free myself from the slavery of sin.  I cannot serve two masters, and willingly choose You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Holiness of God – John 3:20-21

Step Into The Light

20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Dwelling in Darkness

We who were once evil shunned the light.  And ALL of us were once evil.  Even now, those who are evil try to avoid the light.  They stay as far away from God as possible.  And they not only try to hide what they do from plain sight, they intentionally wait until it is dark so that people cannot see them.  It is not that they just seek spiritual darkness, they seek physical darkness as well.

Full of Fear

Whether we realize it or not, we are filled with fear when we walk in darkness.  People are rightly afraid to bring show their deeds in the light.  How many people would willingly show that they were running a Ponzi scheme?  Or brazenly murder people in front of cameras?  We fear the repercussions of our actions, and rightly so.  God has placed people in authority to punish the evildoers.

But what happens when evil people get into the positions of power?  They operate openly.  They no longer fear God nor man, as there is no one to restrain them.  The more they get away with, the more brazen they become.  That is why it is incumbent upon all people who live in societies where they have influence in the selection of their leaders to participate in the process and keep the ones who would operate openly in evil from reaching positions of power and authority over them.  Unless the people themselves love the darkness and seek leaders over them who will continue to turn a blind eye to their evil and reward them for what is done in darkness…

Burst into the Brilliance

We need to come to the light.  Regardless of what we are doing, we need to bring our deeds into the light.  This provides us with both accountability by others and by God.  And we have no fear of operating in the light because what we are doing is being done through us by the Spirit of God for the glory of God, the deeds will be seen as being done by God through us.  When we come into the light, God will be rightly glorified and praised.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Is there anything that I am doing right now that is not being done in the light?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have provided us the light of the world in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to bring everything that I am doing into the light, that You may be rightly glorified.  Help me to yield more fully to Your Holy Spirit, that He would work in me and through me to accomplish all that You desire to be done.  May You receive all of the glory, and may Your name be praised because of the work You are doing in me and through me.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Combat Training with God – Romans 13:11-12

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

 Awake and Alert

Sin is like a blanket that shuts out the light.  It can make us feel tired and feeble, and unaware of its consequences.  We need to awaken from our slumber.  It is not right to sleep during the day, for the day is for working.  In the same way, we need to be aware of the time, so that we will do what we need to do.  Jesus has warned us to be found doing the master’s bidding when He returns:

35 Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

The time has come to make sure that everything is ready for the master’s return.  We shouldn’t be doing things that are unwise, for Jesus’ return is imminent.

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

Decry Darkness

We were once in darkness, and clothed ourselves with the deeds of darkness.  We spoke the language of darkness, and identified with the darkness.  The light had no place in our lives.  We may not have even liked where we were, but we felt trapped and held in bondage.  If we feel that way now, we need to throw off the deeds of darkness that bind us.

It is unbecoming of God’s people to walk around in darkness.  We are ambassadors to this world, not of this world but in it.  We are the image-bearers of God who have been shown how to properly bear His image and be a light on top of a hill.  We have been given the opportunity to be salt to a bland and tasteless existence without God.  When we walk in darkness, we suppress the truth with wickedness: we deny that God is holy through our very actions and speech.  It is only after we take off the clothing of darkness that we can put on the armor of light.

Amazing Armor

Once we have shaken off the clothing of darkness, we need to put on the armor of light.  Darkness and light don’t mix.  Where light enters into an area, the darkness flees.  That is the power of light – to dispel the darkness.  Light exposes the darkness for what it is, and gives us the ability to see clearly so that we can move intentionally and with purpose toward the direction and goals that become visible to us.  If we forsake the light, we forsake the tool necessary to awaken from slumber and the ability to work.

Let us put on the full armor of God, and when we have done every else, to stand:

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I doing what my master has asked me to do in preparation for His return?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are light and dispel the darkness around us.  Search me, O God, and see if there is any wrongdoing within me.  Cleanse me of my sin, and show me the path to truth and righteousness, that I would bear Your image in a manner worthy of You to all people.  Help me to be a light on a hill.  Strengthen me as I wade through darkness today that I would not be affected by it, and cleanse me when my feet get dirty.  Remember me, O God, that I would honor and glorify Your name in all things at all times.  Forgive me when I fall short, and restore me in Your presence.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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