One  of the family projects that our family maintained in years past is the garden. Naturally our children would join in different aspects in gardening from helping to prepare the soil, weeding, and watering. While they would once in awhile mildly object to the tedious nature of gardening, they enjoyed those moments when they first saw the green of budding sprouts emerging from the soil. And we would look forward to the experience of seeing those sprouts come to full maturity, finally reaching the point when their fruits are ripe for picking.

On one occasion, we were planting corn, with our expectations of our children’s success in keeping with the age and ability of each of them. Under their mother’s supervision, they soon had three rows of evenly dispersed corn seeds along each furrow.

But as the fourth row was being planted, with my wife taking more direct involvement in it, our enthusiastic daughter (very young at the time) took the stick for making places for the seeds, and very passionately and liberally dotted the furrow with extra holes, dropping extra kernels in most of them (more or less all behind her mother’s back who had temporarily become preoccupied with other aspects of the garden). When I came along and looked at how things were going, my wife laughed and said, “I have no idea where the seeds have actually been planted in her row.” Together we counted about four or five times as many seed holes as the other furrows possessed.

Our daughter, wearing soil on her clothes and in her hair as proudly as if it were a badge of honor, stood by the garden beaming proudly as if she had just sown the whole thing herself. Her mother and I looked helplessly at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and then congratulated her on her hard work. In time, we had quite a row of corn, not just of stalks, but of clumps of stalks. The harvest from that row was quite an interesting experience!

Our garden adventures (or misadventures as the case sometimes was) sometimes reminded me of things that Jesus taught. The Lord often compared the workings of the Kingdom of God to the workings of a garden. In John 4:34-38 Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

As I watched our little girl “running amuck” with the seed, I saw someone who was sowing literal seed as we ought to sow the seed of the Word of God. Naturally, the preparing of the “soil” of hearts is chiefly done through the cultivation we invest in relationships that God affords us in our families, co-workers, neighbors, and every other “life-on-life” engagement we have with others. Love, courage, and integrity are powerful farming tools that break up even the hardest of hearts. And as we “till the soil”, we sow the words of God as we go, pointing out His holy attributes, His will for living life, and His promises for those who will trust Him with their hearts as they repent of sin and allow Him to be Lord of their lives.

In time, our daughter did indeed have a measure of success in her labors in the garden as those stalks sprang up and produced fruit. In a much more profound and important way, when we liberally and generously sow the seed of God’s Word, we may not know which seeds will ultimately bring a harvest, but we do know that some of those sprouts will come to full maturity, finally reaching the point when their fruits are also ripe for picking.

When they do, those who have sown and those who have reaped will together rejoice just as God Himself rejoices in the harvest. It’s a hard, hard thing though… the waiting. I was very impatient at times with the apparently slow rate at which things would grow in our little garden. How much more so were our children. But their mother patiently reminded them that things worth having are things worth waiting and working for. So we continued to wait and work among our little plants, weeding and watering, pruning and tending as needed.

The golden fruit of faith is far harder to wait on and work for than are the fruits of the garden. But it is worth so much more than the reddest and juiciest of tomatoes, the largest and coolest of cucumbers, and biggest and sweetest of apples!

In the fields that surround your life, are you tending the soil of others’ lives through the relationships with which God has entrusted you? Do you grip the “garden tools” of love, integrity, and courage as you live life, trusting God to use you to spread the seed of His Word in the hearts of others around you? Consider how barren things would be if there were no seed sown. Think of the famine in the land for a lack of knowledge of God’s love if you and I were faithless in our Lord’s fields?

If things seem dark and hopeless to you and the times are troubling, take heart in knowing that God is yet Lord and is still at work. He continues to use circumstances to strip people of their confidence in things that cannot eternally save them and create an opportunity for the seed of His Word to be sown into their lives and perhaps result in a harvest of eternal life! His Spirit continues to soften hard hearts and heal wounded souls allowing His grace to come and make new and whole what was once broken and ruined.

Join other Believers in the world today who recognize that they have been sent into this day and age to be messengers of God’s hope! Like Jesus Himself, find your nourishment for daily living in the doing of His will for your life! Are you about your “heavenly Father’s business?” Is His agenda, YOUR agenda? If not, take a good long look at your priorities and prayerfully allow God to reshuffle them for you so that you do not squander your brief stay on earth on things that will not and cannot follow you into eternity.

Make your goal in life to “finish His work” (John 4:34) and just wait and see what God can and will do through you!

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

My schedule like that of many, many people today is proving to be so crushingly crowded that I have a tendency to feel overwhelmed. It isn’t simply the number of things to do but also the diversity of things that need to be done. So little connects these things that making sufficient prioritization of those competing “to do’s” is more like juggling a dozen flying China dishes than a nice, neat process that always works as it should.

ArtOfJugglingMy oldest son learned to do a little bit of real juggling several years ago – a feat that I was never able to manage. The skill necessary to do so was simply beyond my ability.

Juggling multiple responsibilities and demands isn’t an easy feat either. In fact, in our mad effort to try to keep a dozen plates in the air, we often lose sight of the fact that some plates we are tossing up are plates that we definitely don’t want to drop.

Just think about it a moment! Would you want to risk your great-great-great-grandmother’s ultra-rare banquet dish that came over from the “Old World” and has been in the family for generations? If you could juggle plates, would you allow that family heirloom to be treated as if it were as common as the inexpensive dishes you could easily replace in a quick trip back to Wally-World?

I doubt it. But that is the very thing we do with the treasures of God. Chief among such treasures is the intimacy with God that Jesus’ atonement has purchased for us through the cross of Calvary.

In a lifestyle of juggling too many activities and responsibilities the one plate we (at best) try to juggle as if it were one among many, or (at worst) the one we drop altogether, is the one that is the most precious of all: that of attending to our relationship with God through private time with Him in the reading of His Word (the Bible) and in prayer. The second plate that we often endanger or neglect is maintaining time with and for our family and the third is that of corporate worship and service with other Christians.

These are three plates that we should neither keep in the air with the others nor drop them from the focus of our efforts and energies. We should treat them as non-negotiables, holding them near and dear to our hearts as well as at the top of our schedules.

But, again, the chief “plate” that we should guard and cherish is that personal relationship that Jesus died to grant us. Frankly, all other plates are expendable in comparison. I am not saying that they are not important but that if keeping these other plates in the air means letting go of one that is in truth of more value, then we must learn to say no to even the “good” things that steal away our devotion to God.

Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 ESV).

Love for someone, especially God, is not measured by good intentions but by the choices that we make. The time that we spend is our own to choose how to spend. If we spend no time with God then we are basically saying that we do not love God more than the other things that have crowded Him out of our lives. If you’re like me, that realization is definitely an uncomfortable one. Schedules that are too busy to make time for God are the non-verbal messages that we send to Him that we just do not love Him all that much.

We must therefore start right now to make time with Him a top priority. Get up fifteen minutes earlier so you can read some in His Word! You’ll be amazed at how you’ll suddenly begin to hear Him speak to you if you’ll simply give Him the time of day! Make serving Him and worshiping Him in the company of other Believers your Sunday non-negotiable (no matter how tempting it is to sleep in and catch up on the rest you missed earlier in the week). Give God a “first fruit” offering of your time and trust Him to bless you (not necessarily with monetary gain, but with spiritual riches of grace and strength, joy and peace).

Are you worried that doing so might mean you drop some of the other plates you’ve been trying to keep in the air? If you drop one or two, so what? At least the non-negotiable priority of your relationship with the Lord will still be there to help you put in perspective those things you spent so much time worrying about needlessly. This is why I think Jesus tells us not to worry.

“I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 ESV).

The modern-day equivalents of this passage may indeed still be worrying over food or clothing, but would also likely include our children’s well-being (even if we don’t get them into every sport this year), our yards and houses (even if we can’t manage to get that new paint job, or our not receiving that promotion at work (which would mean going from a fifty hour work week to a sixty-five hour one even if we got it).

Remember that Jesus teaches us to keep things simple and keep our lives focused upon Him. A little juggling is all right as long as we don’t lose track of what matters most. And what matters most is our relationship with God and the legacy of spiritual fruitfulness that He desires to cultivate within us, for ourselves, our children, and our neighbors. Make God the “main thing” in your life and then trust Him with the details.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

The Son is shining in the Kingdom of Ever After. A rainbow, the sign of divine promise, perpetually encircles His throne as His face radiates a holy light like an arc of lightning that never fades. On the crystalline plain about Him stand countless legions of knights in shining armor, men and women devoted to their King who stand with glittering swords raised high and polished shields mirroring the glorious radiance poured down upon them. Here sits the Eternal Victor, having established His plans and purposes before time even began, accomplishing a salvation so mighty that time cannot contain it (“… The Lamb Who was slain from before the creation of the world….” From Revelations 13:8).

From Him come the weapons and armor that are borne by His children as well as the strength to wield them in the conflict that even now wages about us. For dragons and giants walk the land indeed, devouring and enslaving the descendants of Adam with flaming whips, venomous darts, and poison apples. Setting up their petty domains in defiance of the great and glorious King, they lash out in rebellion against Him, spreading the insurgency of the great Serpent himself. To the fray, the great King has called His children, hidden heroes with courage that comes from the wellspring of fellowship with God.

Ever AfterCan all of this be merely a fairy tale? No. It’s the real thing. The battle wages around us even now. But who has eyes to see it? And who has ears to hear it? Here we are, encased in mortal flesh, wearing our everyday clothes, doing our everyday things. Yet, if one has been born again, he dwells at once in both worlds, a foot in the world of everyday happenings and one in the Kingdom of Ever After!

Let us shake off then the blindness that shields from our eyes the epic tale into which is written the story of our lives! Let us turn our ears to the clarion call of our great Captain as He rallies us to His banner of His love!

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV).

Our king invites us to join in the holy quest of seeking out slaves who are enthralled by the deceits of the enemy, imprisoned by snares of pride and selfishness. He sends us out to set free the forlorn captives of gruesome giants of despair, awful ogres of anger and bitterness, and devious dragons of fear. Just think! In the adventure before us are treasures of love, joy, and peace just waiting to be unearthed by faithful service to our God! And while we may all too easily dismiss such ideas as being fantastical notions of an overactive imagination, take heed that this is a reality that is more fantastic than fantasy!

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6: 12 ESV).

So clean the rust from your sword! Put on your armor! Polish your shield! One cannot do battle without weapons and one who attempts combat without armor is certainly doomed to be wounded.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:11, 14-17 ESV).

Let us take up the cause for which our Savior, the greatest of all heroes, gave His life! Let us embrace the power bequeathed to us that also raised Him from the dead! Let us bear the mantle of His Holy Spirit, which both marks us as God’s own (see Ephesians 1:13) and equips us for the quest!

Jesus read to everyone in the synagogue, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor….” (Luke 4:18-19 ESV).

And let us remember that for those who have been made God’s own children through faith in Jesus Christ, there is an eternal destiny of joy, peace, and healing. That is truly the land wherein we will live happily ever after!

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

“But I’m almost done with college and God still hasn’t done anything,” protested the young woman across from me in the campus coffee shop where I often held “office hours” as a campus pastor (many years ago). Her voice was louder than she had intended and people at nearby tables cast a glance in our direction. Heedless of what others were thinking, she went on.

“You say that God has a plan for me, but I don’t see it. I want to be with someone so badly and it feels like God doesn’t care,” she said.

“But He does care,” I replied. “Just think of His promise in Romans 8:32, ‘He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”

“Well, I don’t know,” she responded. “I feel like I’ve got to do something.”

We talked a little more, then prayed and parted company with very little resolved, unless it was the resolve that she already had in pursuing a relationship that was not Christ-centered.

My heart hurt for that Christian woman, partly for the pain of her loneliness, but mostly for the pain I was sure that she would suffer in forging her own path outside of God’s plan for her: it seemed to me that her life was about to turn a tragic direction.

Sadly, it did go the way I was afraid it would for her as it has for some other men and women I have known in the last twenty-five years. The paths that they have chosen have been full of heartache and brokenness although, I am glad to say that in some cases, God has brought good out of tragedy.

Still, I pray for those who suffer from the snare of loneliness that besets men and women today (and not just college-age ones) and the strength it has in turning people’s hearts away from God.Dont throw away your confidence2

Trusting God with our relationships seems to be a tricky thing. I imagine that it is in part due to the fact that the world (the devil’s megaphone) likes to tell us that if we are single then something is wrong with us, either in looks or in personality. We are filled with impatience as it seems that everyone around us has “someone special” with whom he or she is living life. Impatience mutates into desperation which, in turn, becomes blinders upon our eyes, and leads us from the path of faith.

But singleness has the potential of being a very special place to experience the love of God. First, it allows us to celebrate the “centrality of Christ”. I simply mean the fact that there is no relationship that is even remotely as critical (and wonderful) as our relationship with God. Remember that the “Greatest Commandment” is to “love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, and mind” (see Matthew 22:38) and it is to a true relationship with God that you have been called.

The fact is that many people are looking to another man or woman to provide what only God can. Unconditional love and acceptance, however, cannot be truly found in any human relationship (no matter what movies or songs tell us), unless they are first grounded in the love of God Who HAS loved us unconditionally and accepts us with all our faults – as Jesus’ dying in our place proves.

But secondly, our singleness will be a place where we exercise the faith to which we have been called. Consider what is at stake. God has a plan especially crafted for a “special you” and your spiritual enemy (the devil) would like for nothing more (and wants nothing less) than for you to be derailed from that plan, partly to steal your joy and peace, but also to try to sabotage your fruitfulness for God.

Solomon’s wisdom was known far and wide, but he gave his heart away to women who did not share his love for God (it just made sense from a worldly perspective). In consequence, his heart turned away from the Lord and he forfeited, wise as he once was, the fullness of God’s blessing in his life and the lives of his children (see 1 Kings 11).

I am not saying that if you are single that God is necessarily going to bring the man or woman of your dreams into your life, but if you will not succumb to the unbelief that impatience and desperation will foster in you, then you are infinitely better positioned for God to bless you and increase your joy and peace.

Besides, if the Lord has in His plan for you that “special someone”, then that “special someone” shares your calling… a common vision and a common mission to know God and make Him known.

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

Primacy of will of GodSome time ago, in a personal time of devotion, I was reflecting on the will of God and where it falls in my plans and priorities. I wrote, “The words ‘not my will, but thine be done’ (from Mark 14:36), echo in the valleys, mountains, and flat lands of my life’s experiences like a haunting voice carried by a restless wind. There is no arm pulling me irresistibly into compliance with Your will, Lord, nor is there a cosmic boot kicking me down the center of the street of your plans and purposes. No whips lash my skin, no rods bruise my back, no hand strikes my face commanding me to yield to Your commands, O King.”

“There is simply a voice that calls to You, a voice that I would have as my own, though it is still not quite mine yet. There is a longing within me to want what You long for, a desire to yearn for what it is that You desire. Old man with his old ways (Romans 6:6 & Colossians 3:9) cries out, ‘The cost is too much! The way is too hard! The pain is too great!’ while the will of Your heart that you would give me whispers, ‘No price is too great for the sake of knowing You.’ Fearfulness whimpers, ‘Not yet,’ while hunger and thirst to see Your face cries out, ‘None too soon!’’”

So just what does “the will of God” mean to those of us who say we seek it or to those who say they know it? Too often it means an agreement between ourselves and the God of the universe Who we treat as a mere “co-pilot’ or “co-regent”. Too often we perceive Him as nothing more than a partner in the managing of our lives which we deem should run smoothly and efficiently, helping us in making life profitable for its business partners and providing a lucrative benefit to us.

Sadly, such alliances with God are nothing more than self-serving contracts, complete with conditions for our cooperation and limits to our responsibility. Yet the words that Jesus breathed on the dark night on which He was betrayed had no taint of the rottenness of self-serving spirituality or fawning religiosity that nauseates the stomach of the Almighty (Revelation 3:16).

Jesus’ meaning in the words, “Thy will,” was nothing less than the whole will of God the Father, the complete and utter consummation of the desires of His heart. It meant (and means) that which the King of Glory intends, however sorrowful the road and whatever toll must be paid. The Lord’s will is not what we necessarily desire for ourselves, dream for our lives, or plan for our futures. His will is will. And as we comply with His will, we must ultimately give way to His divine image at work within us by the consecrating blood of Jesus Christ and transforming work of His Holy Spirit Who lives within the heart of the Believer. We pursue “His will” daily when we obey utterly His commands for holy living and love others as He has loved us. His will. And as we comply with His will, we must ultimately give way to His divine image at work within us by the consecrating blood of Jesus Christ and transforming work of His Holy Spirit Who lives within the heart of the Believer. We pursue “His will” daily when we obey utterly His commands for holy living and love others as He has loved us.

When our own plans come to nothing, we do not grieve but rejoice instead because our God has other roads for us to tread that will reap greater harvests of glory for Himself and bounties of hope for those that He has undertaken to save.

There are but two paths for each of us to consider: our own way or His. Our way leads to short-term benefits, promises comfort, and requires the least work and cheapest price to pay. His way, on the other hand, leads to eternal benefits, promises a reward for our suffering, and ultimately requires all that we have to give.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death…. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Proverbs 14:12, Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV).

Let our hearts cry out, “May my own will crumble before Your purposes, Father!” Let us agree with Jesus’ declaration, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me,” (John 4:34). The “old man” (the worldly, fleshly self) will tremble within us should we seek to make God’s will our own for it fears both the cost and our own propensity to turn aside after our own plans and old desires. But let us be reminded that such paths lead to nothing but tepid compromises that mean little to our King and yield little of worth for eternity.

So again, let our hearts cry with earnest passion, “Thy will be done, Lord,” and let our hands and feet hurry to render to Him the humble offerings of faithful and trusting obedience as we seek to become what He would have us be and what the world desperately needs to see in us.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

Hungering for More

My children, over the years, have enjoyed my wife’s cooking immensely, almost as much as I do in fact. Comparatively, when their mother has on occasion decided to trust me with her kitchen, they could only tolerate mine. I enjoy occasionally trying my hand at various meals, but my experiments have usually involved lots of meat and potatoes (in other words, a bit more grease than is probably ideal). My kids could appreciate only so much of said grease, and even though they might politely sample the fare, they could sometimes do little more than pick at it. Alas, cooking has never been my forte! So when I would cook, you could definitely count on lots of leftovers!

I don’t really mind that they would just “pick” at what I set before them. I also would much rather eat my wife’s cooking than my own. But I think that it’s a real shame that God’s children seem to have a tendency to do the same thing with the banquet of blessings that has been prepared for them. When we do little more than pick at our spiritual food, we miss out on the exquisite feast of spiritual treasures that He has for us. By being just “church attenders”, for instance, we’re just “playing with our food”. As a result, we get little more than a few measly sips of the “spiritual basics” and miss out on the nutrients that build us into healthy spiritual beings. In fact, the Church, in our culture is as a whole rather malnourished and ill-prepared for the vigorous exercises of faith required of it in today’s world.

Too often we come to our church meetings seeking to only nibble at the “desserts” of forgiveness and other positive language we do indeed find in the Bible, but we inadvertently cheapen them because we use them selfishly. As a result, we habitually fail to move on to the meaty but satisfying dishes of genuine discipleship. Sacrifice, perseverance, holiness, and mercy for others are all well and good, we deem, but we’d much rather have another helping of uplifting music and encouraging devotional thoughts.

Now don’t get me wrong! We need the “treats” as well as the “meat and potatoes”. My children, growing up, have known that I believe strongly that desserts make the meal fun and they are convinced that my passion for cookies and cake is off the chart. But I have always wanted something more filling than just desserts in my meals and I certainly want something more filling than a mere dabbling in Christianity can afford me.

By not giving God’s “meals” a chance, we miss out on deeper experiences with God, greater victories in our struggles, and wider opportunities for influencing others towards the kingdom of light!

Of course, the irony is that God is a great cook (if you will pardon the expression)! By not giving His meals a chance, we miss out on deeper experiences with God, greater victories in our struggles, and wider opportunities for influencing others towards the kingdom of light! It’s sad but our propensity to want to try and live only on either the basics of the faith or the “fluff” is that our spiritual lives become powerless and lethargic.

But if we truly do hunger for more, then let us allow Jesus to become our passion! Let us permit His Word to fill up our lives with His love for the Father! Let us drink deeply from the cup of grace and then share from its bottomless depths with those around us who are parched for hope and famished for truth as we prayerfully seek practical ways to touch their lives! Let us flex muscles of courage and wisdom as feeding on His Word “beefs us up”! And let the humility of Jesus grant us a daily grace that whets the appetite of those around us for the life-changing hope that we have in Jesus Christ.

The Church (which is made up of anyone and everyone who genuinely receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) should want more than superficial spirituality. Many who leave the Church think that there isn’t anything more than the rut and routine of attending service or sparse participation. But there is. We’ve just barely scratched the surface. We’ve only begun to sample the meal that God has prepared for us.

Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. Seek out the infinitely satisfying Savior Who died but rose again from the dead so that you could have “life to the full” (see John 10:10). Discover what He longs for you to know, that trusting God with all aspects of your life is wonderfully filling and delightfully nourishing!

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst’” (John 6:35 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

A distinctive effect of the presence of light is that it reveals whatever it shines upon. At the risk of “over-stating the obvious”, the only way to see the true nature of something is for light to shine upon it.  We even have specialized “lights” to help us see further and deeper when there is need to ascertain the truth of specific things.  In medical fields, for example, X-rays, Cat-Scans, and MRIs are all “lights” that help a medical practitioner to see matters of concern in regard to their patients’ physical well-being.

Our spiritual well-being is dependent on the same sort of thing, only we do not use light from the ultra-violet spectrum to see inside us, but rather the light of God’s truth.  In a way that is similar to physical light, God’s Word, the Bible, “illuminates” our condition before God.

If we only compare ourselves to others, we compare that which is in shadow to other things hidden in the shadows of hate, pride, and worldly confusion. Rationalizations, excuses, and justifications cloud our perception until we can see neither ourselves or others with any clarity or discernment.

But when we compare ourselves to God’s declaration of reality given to us via the Bible, we see ourselves as we really are: fallen, depraved, proud, petty, cowardly, and so forth.  Our thoughts, attitudes, actions, words and even our hearts’ desires cannot hide from the discerning eye of God nor can they be portrayed as anything other than what they are:  sinful and selfish.

The “upside” of this is, of course, our spiritual maladies are revealed and we can then partake of the remedy that God gives us in Jesus Christ, Who is Himself the Word of God in human form (John 1:9). The Bible says of God’s Word in Psalm 119:130, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (ESV).

So if we choose to remain “simple” (foolish and uninformed) and we run from the light of God because we fear what it might reveal about us, we cannot receive the benefits of His truth working out in us God’s good will towards us.

Not only that, if we run from the truth of His Word, we limit the good effect our lives might have had in the world around us. In fact, we cannot truly love others unless we are in His truth, certainly not in the way that God defines love.  If we squirm away from the pain of God showing us what isn’t right in our hearts and lives, we cannot truly give ourselves over to someone else selflessly.  When we try to “love others”, but do not step into close proximity of God’s truth, we cannot see how our own selfishness is counteracting even our best efforts.

Even our greatest and most magnanimous demonstrations of serving others are riddled with corruptions that puff up our egos and flaunt themselves as love. But really they are the methods we employ to obtain what we instinctively crave for ourselves.  These gains may not take the form of material gain or physical pleasure (although they sometimes do), but instead may be things like the acceptance we crave, the approval for which we hunger, or power over others that makes us feel like we have power over our own destinies.

But 1 John 1:10 says, “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (ESV).

This tells us that loving others goes hand-in-hand with our living in the light of the knowledge of God. Before I can truly love someone else, I must see myself as I really am and the only way to do that is to step into and remain in the light of God’s truth.

Too often, we reach out to others and find our love falling short of the effect we desire. We reach out in loving words or deeds, yet find that it seems to have made no difference.  Could it be that there is a glaring inconsistency within us?  Could it be that there is something flawed in our thinking that hinders what we want to do for someone else?  Could it even be that what we called love is only an effort to control another or have them meet a need in our own lives?

This is not what God desires for us. He longs for us to live so fully in the light of His truth that we can be set free from those things that hinder our walk with Him and limit the fruit of our lives.  He wants us to live full and free in this life as an investment in the one to come.

But we never really know or understand ourselves unless and until we step into the light of God’s truth and allow Him to show us through His Word what is really going on inside our own hearts and minds. Such a journey is not for the “faint-of-heart”, surely, but it is for those who desire to know God or to hunger for more of what only God can do through us if we allow Him to bring us into the light of His love.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan