Exulting in Our Shadow

 

So that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Acts 5:15-16, ESV

 

Astonishing!  It was Peter, who denied the Lord—three distinct and definite times. Since we are moving past Good Friday and our celebration of Easter, so we should rest for a moment and consider Peter, and think about this “rascal.”  He really isn’t magical, or a “miracle worker,” Peter, quite precisely is a definite loser.  The best you can say is that he is a displaced and “has-been”  fisherman, who hasn’t really got a good track-record.  He tries hard, but he always muddles it up.  He falls very short.

Peter’s shadow reveals the power of unconscious influence.  His shadow wasn’t magical or possessed a healing virtue.  In a deep sense we all influence people around us–for good, or for evil.  Our imprint on others is quite significant.  Our impact is quite noticable.  Watchman Nee in his book, “Release of the Spirit.”  Nee compared our influence to the “ring” we leave in the bathtub.  Everyone leaves his mark.  Looking at that we can understand (to a degree) what that particular person is really like.  But the reality is, we all leave behind some scum.

J.R. Miller relates this thought.  “There is a legend of a good man for whom was asked some new power. He chose that he might do a great deal of good and might not be aware of it. So it was ordered that when his shadow fell behind him, where he could not see it, it should have healing power, but when it fell before him, so that he could see it, it should have no such effect.”

We need to view this thing closer.  How exactly do we influence others?  What manner of people are we to acheive such attention?  Do we really deserve “the praise of men?”  Do we go as far as to exult  in our shadows?  If we really want to powerfully affect others, we have to be humble, perhaps even dismissive of the good that may follow behind us.  (It doesn’t belong to us.”)   When we become really conscious of our significance or sway, we are in mortal danger and risk spoiling everything.

The kingdom is not big enough for Jesus, and than us–who takes over the center stage?  There is a disturbing assumption that we are most significant.  We stack-up our blocks and create a facade of being quite exceptional people.  The reality is this–we are all very much like Peter, our lives belie what is truly real.  But our authenticity really is found in the “blood of Jesus,”  which covers our wickedness.  That dear one, is our “claim to fame.”  Essentially, due to the proportion of our pride, determines the glory that the Lord receives.  We often eliminate him from our consideration.  Your pride determines His glory, plain and simple.  So step up, who goes next?

Insist on the Light

I’m starting to raise my voice now.  Please, in regards to your discipleship.  Please insist on the light.  Demand–don’t try to live without it!  There will only and always will be sore regret and dark confusion if you move through your life, “sleepwalking.”

We need for people to “shock” us and guide us to the certain truth of the Gospel.  This world system impedes us, and blocks our progress.  It is a deep dark mist that separates us from the light.  The darkness is a confusing presence.  It is most difficult to deal with.  Our race (the human race) is most crippled and handicapped by the presence of evil.  It scatters us and than it seeks control of us.

The one thing that can save us is to insist on the light.

“He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.”

2 Thessalonians 2:10, NLT

 

The battle is fierce and it is long.  Someone is hunting us.  Satan‘s great strategy is too bring us into even more confusion than we are even now experiencing.  His specialty is to lead us right into the dark.

I have many brothers that have been drawn into the dark.  They’ve now grown accustomed to it, and they say they were just going “through a phase.”  I’m deeply saddened, for Kelly, and Allen, and Jonathan.  They were, and still are my brothers.  I am ripped up inside because of their apostasy.  I know they can’t be happy.  And, part of me waits for them to rejoin the faith they once professed.  It has been 30 years since we worshipped together.  I miss them.

We must insist on the light.  We really can not compromise on anything less.  His light guides and delivers us into his hands.  Second Thessalonians speaks about having “a love for the truth.”  Could that be the reason so many have stumbled?  To “love” someone of something implies devotion or committment.  We are to become “lovers” of everything that is true.

The dark is sticky.  It more or less grabs you, and you can’t get it off your hands.  The love, power and blood of Jesus is the only thing potent enough to remove it.  Since we go through this life “hurley-burley” and a bit confused, we will need to rely constantly of God’s remedy to cleanse fully.

I exhort you most deeply and certainly, love the light.  Welcome it and seek its control over you.  Abolish any attempt on finding another way.  Be illuminated and throughly affected by the light’s presence.  There will be many who violate and distort the light.  Do not believe them.

 

 

The Sin That Sticks

                     

“If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
         And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents.”  NASB

“And give up your sins– even those you do in secret.” CEV

Job 11:14  [in two versions]

 ***

“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.”

Eccl. 8:11, NIV

 

We know it, deep inside of us.  Our sin and iniquity, those things that stick to us, must be renounced and stripped away.  I think it’s interesting that Job is working from the assumption that each of us has sin issues.  I don’t think scripture is ever really shocked by the depth of our iniquity.  We are sinners, and we will sin, but the Holy Spirit is never surprised or caught off guard by our sin and deceit.  But we are, most certainly guilty.

This verse in Job emphasizes “renunciation”.  That means relinquishing or repudiating the evil that we love doing.  I think that in Job’s thinking it means abandoning our sinfulness.  We are to let it go, releasing it to the grace of God.  We are not to sin in secret.

We privatize our favorite sins to make ourselves acceptable.  I think that this is a truism:  “We care more for what people think of us, then what God thinks of us.”  Our sin thrives in solitude, its like a warm and humid greenhouse for our evil.  Secretiveness just causes it to grow, our hiddenness is “Miracle Grow” for our darkness and ugliness.

Job is very much concerned I think, by the contagiousness that sin has.  We transmit the sin virus to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we have a hidden darkness, we will most certainly sicken those we touch.  Our Churches have been decimated by private and hidden sin.  I’m thing of Achan in Joshua 7.  He secretly desired nice things, and it destroyed him and his family.

What judgement will you bring on to your loved ones, and your church?  What are you hiding?  Often, I have heard questions like that, and it temporarily moves me.  But it seems the change is not permanent (I desperately wish it was.)  But I suggest that you go into your “tent” and bring your deceitfulness out into the full light of day.  And then, put it to a merciless death.