Monday, March 14, 2016

Let it Shine

I John 1:5-7
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

Yesterday during On the Mount, this verse became very real to me. I was thinking of my past, and the way I was raised in the church. For many years of my life, I felt like a phony; always wearing a mask. I was always told that I was such a good girl— precious, innocent, pure— but no one really knew the real Charis. They only knew what I was putting on every single day. No one knew that for the majority of my childhood, I was filled with rage and suicidal thoughts, nearly throwing myself off of my roof every week. No one knew that the more and more they told me I was ‘good’ and ‘innocent,’ the more and more insecure I became, and the more worthless I felt. I am not saying that I didn’t have a relationship with God, or that I didn’t believe in Him, but I was certainly not the girl everyone expected me to be. I had my mind made up that I would never, ever be good enough, but in hindsight, I was looking at it all wrong. My heart was so deceptive; I had no idea the unimaginable light I held inside of me. We all have it. We have all been made in the image of God, we all bear the marks of his workmanship, we all have his light within our hearts, it is just a matter of when. When are we going to let it shine? When are we going to allow God to invade our hearts and tear apart anything and everything that goes against his nature? When will we let Him expose our darkness? When will we be free, and lift the shade off of the lamp?  When will we get over ourselves, and realize that our worth comes from a life that is hidden in Christ? It is simply a matter of time. As I grew older, the weight of my sin fell off of my shoulders, and Jesus became real. One of my favorite verses  says that God is clothed in an unapproachable light, and even still He draws us near, and calls us to come to Him, every second of the day. His glory is so radiant, that I cannot even begin to walk towards it; but God, rich in love and abundant in grace, wants me to come to Him, and if I could catch a glimpse of Him, even for just a second, I wouldn’t be able to help but shine. On the margin of my bible, I found this quote: “The object of our shining is not that men may see how good we are, nor even see us at all, but that they may see grace in us and God in us and cry, “What a father these people must have!”” Jesus, may I be so wrapped up in you, that you are what people first see in me. It is not about what I can do, or how good I am. My heart is desperately wicked, and devoid of anything lovely and true, but when I let you in, and allow your light to captivate me, I am transformed and renewed into the image of your likeness. May I reflect you, radiate you, and be found in you, Father. 
During my High School graduation, I had the opportunity to speak. My entire speech was about this theme of light and darkness, and it was centered around the lyrics of my favorite song called, Emphasis. It says, “The smartest thing I have ever heard is that I don’t have all the answers, just a little light to call my own. And though it pales in comparison, to the overarching shadows, a speck of light can reignite the sun, and swallow darkness whole.” These words pierce me every time. Do I believe in the power of Christ inside me? Is the Light of the World, enough? The darkness within myself and the darkness in the world, is suffocating. I feel like I am drowning, like I am trapped in a prison, incapable of finding any way out. But have I already forgotten: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” “A speck of light, can reignite the sun and swallow darkness whole.” A spark can set a whole forest ablaze. Twenty one little fires can set twenty one forests ablaze. We all come from different backgrounds, with different struggles, but one thing we have in common that binds us together, is the light of Christ, the spark to everything. We only have this one life, and I would like to be able to say that I lived, and dwelt in the most marvelous of lights. God, may I do something bold, and something bright with the grains of sand within my hourglass of time. May I live passionately, love persistently, and never shy away from shining. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:9-11) 

Application: I want to dwell in the light, and have the darkness within me exposed. Today I will tell one person about past/present struggles, that I have never told anyone about. I will ask that they will hold me accountable, and from it, greater trust will be built. 

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