Jesus said: You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father. (Matt 5:15-16 TLB)
The past two weeks we learned in the Bible Study at Life’s Simple Blessings that the mental walls of self-protection (strongholds) hide the light and sometimes no matter how we try to control our behavior our actions can not be called “good deeds.” Our behavior seems to be controlled by something that we do not understand. “Why did I act that way? Why did I say that? I didn’t mean it! If only I had kept quiet! I pray, I rebuke the devil, I read my Bible, I quote the Bible. Why do I continue to repeat this unacceptable behavior?”
Good news! We are not without hope; we are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony! This is the victory that overcomes the world; even our faith. God has given us spiritual tools so we can tear down, crush and destroy the strongholds of rigidity, denial, emotional isolation and silence that have controlled our behavior..our deeds that others can see.
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. 6 Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Cor. 10 The Message Bible)
The writer of the book of Romans reveals to us that one of those weapons is the love of God that has been poured into our hearts (5:5). This same writer gives us a description of this kind of love in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. It was years ago while reading this chapter that I made the decision to walk in love with everybody! Oh yes!! I love this chapter, don’t you? It’s time to see how I am doing.
From The Living Bible I sit back and begin: I am very patient and kind, (“very?”) I am never jealous or envious, I am never boastful or proud, I am never haughty or selfish or rude, and I will no longer demand my own way. (“I think I can do this.”) I am through with being irritable or touchy, and I will not hold grudges. (“OK, time to wipe the slate clean.”) Why, I hardly even notice when others do me wrong. (“Really? How healthy can this be?”) I am never glad about injustice, but I rejoice whenever truth wins out. (“Hum…now that’s pretty good. I like that.”) Then I read the hard stuff: If I love someone, I will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. I will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand my ground in defending him. (“Really, God this is the love Your Holy Spirit has poured into my heart?”)
What happens if I tear down the strongholds that have protected the pain of past abuses? Last week we uncovered and defined other strongholds from Liberty Savard’s book Shattering Your Strongholds: unforgiveness, anger, disbelief, pride, distrust, doubt and control…and later for me personally: passive aggressive behavior and procrastination. (“Oh me, there are other strongholds?”)
As my eyes were opened I saw a major stronghold that has controlled my life (“thank You Holy Spirit!”). Passive aggressive behavior has not worked for me for many years. It interferes with healthy relationships and with my daily activities. This survival mechanism that worked for me as a child is now a prisoner. How do I dismantle these walls, overcome this and walk in freedom?
A second weapon that’s been given to us is God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit! Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18 AMP).
Hallelujah! The Holy Spirit lives in me and I am assured that where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, emancipation from the bondage of procrastination and passive aggressive behavior. The choice is ours to walk in liberty or continue to live behind strongholds that interfere with our everyday-staying home-going to work lifestyle. We are a free people…we are light in a dark world who looks for faith, hope and love!!
Jesus said that you are light! Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matt 15:14-16 The Message)