Monday, October 03, 2005

Light and Life

The following is really free form thought. I'm sorry if I lose you along the way but please, please stick around until the end and comment. I want to hear your thoughts (even if you disagree - I freely admit I do not have all the answers - in fact I have very few). There is another post below this one that is short and funny if you are here for a quick kpinion fix. Feel free to scroll down and read that but come back later and read through this one too. Thanks guys (and comment, comment, comment).

Man is a horrible witness for Christ.

A sunset does a better job of displaying His glory, the oceans show His power so much better, the mountains covered in snow and valleys adorned with flowers show His beauty, the stars and heavens His immenseness.

What is man that He would use us as a display of him? We are faulted, wretched, and most of all we have chosen self over Him. Even in a state of utter helplessness and need I question why God would choose me to reveal Himself to and be a witness to this world. Why would He ever draw near to someone who questions His righteousness, who loves this world more than Him, who rebels from the very God who created me?

But then again, I am human and the concept of grace and love are often lost on me. Now I know that I cannot fully comprehend the width and length and depth of God’s love for man, or the all encompassing covering of His grace, but I can know them in my own life. I can tell you of how His grace has freed me from the sting of sin, how His love has overwhelmed me in moments of loneliness and desperation, how just to know Him has changed my life forever.

But back to man. Why did God choose man? Why does he use us when we are so faulted, so incompetent, so ill fitted to accomplish the task at hand?

Well, there is one thing I have learned about God (many things in fact but this one is important here), I do not question the wisdom of the Lord. He chose man. That’s enough for me.

He chose man with all his faults, with all his incompetence, with all the junk that we see in this world. He chose him at creation to be the physical representation of His glory and He chose him to know Him, to be loved by Him, and to be the voice of the one crying in the wilderness proclaiming the name of Jesus.

Wow. Take a moment and chew on that. Take a moment and realize the love of the Father that He chose us despite ourselves to be His witnesses. It humbles me and it draws me to His feet.

But here is a major point to notice. God did not choose man alone. He did not choose man to go out into this world naked, ill fitted, and a lone cowboy to be His witness. God chose man to be used by Him. God never intended man to be the world’s savior. He never intended man to be the end vehicle that would draw others to Him. God alone is what draws others to Him. Oh we might get to tag along on the ride, we might get to be a witness to His work in others lives, and we might, just maybe get to say we were “there” when this miraculous event occurred. But we did NOTHING to bring another person to the throne of Christ.

Now I want to be very clear on this point. God uses us in other’s live, I fully believe this, He places us in the world because He desires to have man interact with man for His glory. He even ordains, make that commands, that we speak of His great work in our own lives and tell others of the truth that we know – that through Christ in His sacrifice we may draw near to the Lord and be adopted as children safe from the eternal death of our sin. But we have no part in salvation. We bring nothing to the table. God and God alone works in the hearts of men, calling them to Himself, changing their hearts, redeeming them, saving them from the damnation of a life apart from Him, forgiving them, and reconciling them unto Him. We are only observers. We are those who have come before and know the way but we do absolutely nothing in the work of salvation.

Again, I want to clarify that I am not saying that man does not have a role in the process but he does not do the work. We are vessels used by God for His glory. That’s it. When we take on the role of savior we spit in the face of Christ. That is harsh, I know, and I am talking to myself more than anyone. He alone calls, He alone redeems, He alone saves.

I’m studying Genesis in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and there is a running theme of light throughout the whole Bible that has walloped my heart and mind these past few weeks. I just want to think this out here and I would love to hear your comments.

Genesis 1:1-3
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

This is my visual picture. Up until this point there was nothing, at least nothing created. There was God in His glory and the realm in which His glory resided where angels worshipped Him and there was also the realm in which Satan resided apart from God (whole other topic there so we are going to just pass on by that mother of a subject).

Then God did something that only He can do. He created. He made something from nothing. He spoke things into being.

There was darkness because apart from God there is nothing. That image of utter darkness, loneliness, desolation. And then a glorious thing occurs. Light. And not just any light but a light that can only come from God.

I also like to picture that light burst forth into the darkness. We’re not talking about turning on a lamp and a little bit of illumination occurs, it’s more like being in pitch black darkness and the most pure, bright, and glorious light you could ever imagine bursts forth blinding anyone with the intensity of it. It wasn’t revealed, it wasn’t slowly peaking or rising, it was instantaneous light pushing out the darkness and enveloping everything in its glory.

And the light never recedes. Oh there is darkness but not utter, complete darkness. This world has been exposed to the light of the Father and we are promised to have it continue for eternity.

Now look at this:

John 12:46
I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

Now take that same image of light bursting forth into darkness and look at man’s heart. It is in utter desolation, complete darkness. And then upon the knowledge of Christ, upon the turning of one’s heart to His offer of grace and salvation, light burst forth into that emptiness. It doesn’t slowly evolve, or reveal itself bit by bit, but salvation, the covering of our sins by His sacrifice is instantaneous, it is miraculous, it bursts forth unto our heart as His light fills the darkness of our soul and we are illumined to His glory.

And He makes a bold statement, “everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness”. What a promise. Christ bursts forth into our lives and never recedes. He never will leave us in darkness. In Him we are revealed to the glory and majesty of being a child of God.

So what’s the thing that ties these two together? Well look a bit further in Genesis.

Genesis 1:27
God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 2:7
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

God created man. All of the rest of creation ends upon the creation of man. It was His final work in creation, His greatest work, His most personal. God brought forth light and then He brought forth life. The light was His glory, the life (man) was who He desired to share His glory with. He breathes life into man that he may experience the glory of the Father.

In the same way, God gave Christ to this world as a light and sacrifice for the sins of man, and to man he gave the light of Christ so that once again with man He may share His glory and He breathes eternal life into our souls once again.

Our God is so amazing. He is so beyond anything I can imagine, I can comprehend, I can even begin to understand. He is bigger than me, than you, than the earth, than the creation. He is able to do so beyond when I can even begin to dream. God is not limited by our weaknesses, He is not stumped by our incapabilities, He is not hampered in His will by the works of our hands.

God is God. There is no other. He brings forth light unto His creation. He brings forth life unto man. And through his immeasurable love and grace He brings the light of Christ and the breath of eternal life to a wretched, faulted, broken girl like me.

Our God does not need us to speak of His glory, the creation does that for Him. Our God does not need us to speak of His salvation, the heart of man yearns for it. But for reasons beyond my understanding He chooses to allow us to participate in a small part of the salvation of others by speaking of the One we trust in, by living a life that glorifies Him, and that is what we are called to do. To speak of Him, to live for Him. But remember we are not what calls this world to Him. We are the vessel that He manifests himself through.

2 Cor 2:12b and 14
. . . when a door was opened for me in the Lord.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

God opens the doors and then God manifests himself through us. We, by His mercy and grace, get to give off the sweet aroma of Him.

It’s all about Him.

It’s nothing about us, but all Him in us.

Thank you Lord.

15 Comments:

Blogger steve said...

Holy smokes

Tough to just "comment" on this monster. It is such a wonderful post. I love some of the imagery in this... I love the concept of Light/Dark... complete opposites. Darkness in my heart and soul was something so real and that "Light of Life" isnt something that can be described... it has to be lived and experienced. The TRUE love of God can't be explained by man. It just can't. No matter how hard ANYONE tries they will never explain it. It has to be felt and only God can provide that.

10/03/2005 1:00 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Oh K-T. What a beautiful description of our Lord and Savior.

I do not disagree with you on any of the points.

We are so priviledged to be able to be take part in leading others to Christ, but yes, we must remember that we are able to take part in it only because He first saved them and then called them to Himself.

So many people have issues with Christians being hypocrites. But aren't we all? We are sinners that have been called by Christ, forgiven, but still live in a sinful world in an earthly body. "The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?" We must also remember to "keep our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking lies". May we continue to encourage each other in our faith and "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another".

I am so glad we're both studying Genesis. I love how with the rest of creation he spoke it into existence, but with man, he physically took the dirt and then breathed into his nostrils, bringing him to life with his very air. Totally awesome.

I loved how you shared about His light. This world was once darkness, and our souls once were darknened. May we not turn away from His source of light. Remember the song? "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine". The great thing is that it's not a little light, it is more brillant than we can imagine.

This is one of my favorite posts so far K-T. Keep shining my friend.

10/03/2005 1:07 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Thanks guys for your encouragment and then more for your thoughts.

Keep talking, I want to hear your minds and thoughts. I wish I could just throw out a topic and say discuss and everyone would throw in their two cents.

10/03/2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Ok also out of complete nerd-like interest I tried to figure out how long it took you to read this marathon post, you both seemed to comment 30 minutes after you clicked on my site.

I'm sorry it is so long. I need to learn to be more brief. Thanks for hanging in for the long haul.

10/03/2005 1:14 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Wow. Seems that it is just a festival of "free form thought" out here in blogland. Your "form" was "slightly" (heh. TOTALLY and COMPLETELY) more put together than mine, lol and I appreciate it. Because I'm still processing. So I'm glad someone else has given me something solid today that I can wrap my mind around and really comprehend and chew on besides my own whirlwind of thoughts, emotions, and musings.

Katie, your beautiful spirit is just radiating today, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts. What you're offering up here - your underlying theme to all of this - humility - is beautiful. I read in an entirely different post of yours about men who are "Christians" but who don't take ownership of the role, the responsibility: who aren't good men. I parallel this only because it takes humility to be in a place of understanding God in a bigger way than the selfish place of understanding that we Christians often find ourselves in. It's very easy to get caught up in our lives, in our ministries, forgetting the very notion of God beyond a simple purpose which drives our desire to help others. He IS THE PURPOSE. And like you said, we are just a conduit. Nothing more. And to be humble enough and reverent enough in ALL things we do in the name of Christ is a battle: It falls under the same category of "dying daily to our flesh". We need to daily kill that desire within us to satiate the the selfish desire to glorify ourselves. Because it's not about us. It's all about him. Glory be to God, that is such a beautiful concept: and what a way of presenting all of that Katie. I think I could go on and on and on some more about this "monster" as Steve put it, but I think I've said enough for now. Thanks again, K-T. Good stuff.

10/03/2005 1:17 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

You're so sneaky like that K-T. Spying on us and how long we read your post! I bet my stats are so random and quirky you probably think I'm stalking you. I looked earlier and I had not one but two K-Pinion windows open at the same time. To the same post. Craziness. It did take me awhile to read it, but I was also checking email and working in between.

Kinda like this comment. That took me 5 minutes!

tniojy - tiny joy (so untrue, I have so much joy right now!)

10/03/2005 1:28 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Ha JCol - I wasn't meaning to be sneaky and I really don't monitor my stats (except to check for creepy stalkers) I just wondered how long this post took to read. I feel bad sometimes that I write such long things and I'm sure people get sick of seeing mammoth post from me constantly. Just trying to be considerate of my readership.

10/03/2005 1:47 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

And . . .

Stephanie your comments HUMBLE me. I have nothing to offer, not a stinking thing, and I am all too often reminded of the massive amounts of sin and selfishness that are Katie. Thank you for your kind words, I am encouraged by the body of believers that I get to call friends and each of you show me so much wisdom and truth that my heart rejoices.

And everyone feel free to run with your thoughts. I really do want to hear them (on anything in fact). I like listening to your hearts and minds.

10/03/2005 1:50 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Well, this readership, for one, likes both short and long posts. Sometimes I have to come back to finish it, but I always like the long posts.

10/03/2005 1:51 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I'll second that motion Amstaff. I LOVE your heart, Katie. You do: You just radiate. And "I [too] am encouraged by the body of believers that I get to call friends and each of you show me so much wisdom and truth that my heart rejoices". Me too me too! I can't say that enough! Thanks for saying it for me K-T! lol

10/03/2005 2:00 PM  
Blogger steve said...

i just always half to look up sum of da wurds

10/03/2005 4:32 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Steve - whatever, the wisdom and insight in your posts put mine to shame.

What words?

10/03/2005 4:36 PM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Nice KT, very nice. Perhaps you should start writing books or various Bible themes. I know Jimmy is doing one and he is done I believe. The cool thing about doing a project like that is that it doesn't have to be written for anyone but you and through it God can stretch you and grow you. It is obvious you already have the ability to write, this post alone could be chapter 1.

What a great and Mighty God we serve. For of him and to him and through him are all things... to him be Glory.

10/03/2005 5:11 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Katie-

What to say... you just gained like 50 smart points here... Each day I come here and each day you knock me of my feet. The reason that the Lord has included man in His plan to display His glory is because He knew that there would be people like you to represent Him. I need to go back and re-read this post... I love the imagery you portrayed when you talked about when He created light:

"I also like to picture that light burst forth into the darkness. We’re not talking about turning on a lamp and a little bit of illumination occurs, it’s more like being in pitch black darkness and the most pure, bright, and glorious light you could ever imagine bursts forth blinding anyone with the intensity of it. It wasn’t revealed, it wasn’t slowly peaking or rising, it was instantaneous light pushing out the darkness and enveloping everything in its glory."

So cool. Love this. I am sure it was blinding brilliance... also, to then make the correlation of Christ "bursting forth into a world of darkness." And when a person accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior... Light bursts forth within and immediately changes a person. Light is everywhere.

Such a great post. You challenge me daily and I am so thankful the Lord put you in my life. Thanks Katie.

10/03/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger Sydney said...

WOW!!!....

I am going to come back and read this again when I am not so sleepy but it was great the first time. I will be back. I think that is what makes christianity so hard for some people to accept! Because we DO NOTHING other than say yes. We are so used to and geared towards having to make ourselves better. Anyways don't know if this makes sense... a little sleepy these days...
Great post!

10/03/2005 10:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home