January 9, 2014

John 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

This fundamental truth explains a lot of human behavior. It is also a demonstration of that little thing called a conscience. No one tries to hide behavior they think is honorable and good. Sometimes they might try to do good things as quietly as possible to avoid people making a big deal of them, but there is certainly no shame in their motivation. On the other hand, when people start parading behavior that is reprehensible for one reason or another, their “consciences have been seared as with a hot iron,” to use Paul’s phrase. (1 Timothy 4:2) Recent studies have shown that even small children have a sense of right and wrong, and even altruism, wanting to help others to no particular benefit to themselves. That’s how we were created, but the sin factor gets in very quickly, and we suppress the good impulses for the sake of momentary or perceived gain. That’s the human dilemma, brought on not by our Creator but by our choices. God has provided a magnificent solution to that dilemma, expressed famously in verse 16, but it must be received by faith. We have to believe that God is love, and let that love drive out our fear of being found out as evil. (1 John 4:18) When we really grasp the love of God, as well as the fact that all have sinned, so we are not unique in that area, (Romans 3:23) then we will rejoice to come to the light to be cleansed of our sins and walk in the righteousness for which we were created.

As a pastor I see the whole gamut of human behavior, but then I’m just as human as the next guy. Any time I sense a reluctance to step into the light in myself, I need to examine why that is, and probably repent. I’ve got to remember that repentance isn’t just being sorry, it’s turning from something bad to something good. As a pastor, I need to help people see and understand what the bad and good things/factors are in their individual situations, so that they will better be able to make the choice to turn from the bad to the good. Modern psychology has done us a great disservice by trying to remove personal responsibility, explaining all behavior by past events and influences. That comes from a desire to deny God and our accountability to Him by denying absolute values. I am not to attack people who have been polluted by such thinking, but I am to let the Lord use me to open their eyes so that they may see themselves and see the love of God, and repent indeed.

Father, this is absolutely huge, and it’s something I’ll have to deal with for as long as I’m on this earth. That certainly makes heaven attractive! I need humility, wisdom, and simple guidance to deal with it all, both in myself and in those to whom I minister. Help me walk in the light myself and encourage others to do so as well, so that together we may enjoy all that You intend for us, (1 John 1:7) for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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