Sons of the day.

“For you are all sons of light and sons of the day.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5

What is the light and what is the day representative of? In context of vs 1-11, it’s the Lord’s day. So when He says “sons of the day”, I believe Paul’s referring to the Lord’s day, when Jesus Christ comes back for us. It fills my heart with longing. I know that when He comes, the darkening power of sin will be forever crushed. I won’t have to struggle with it anymore. Only Christ will be the true power dominating all hearts that have accepted Him. And I can be close to Him and unashamed because He wiped away all my sins. But in this passage, it says that we can live as sons of the day today. We don’t have to wait. We might fall asleep or become drunk with wine (distracted by worldly cares) but that is why He said to be sober. To be awake. To live. He looks at us and says you have all authority over sin now. I give it to you. Jesus said this at the end of Matthew 28. He wants us to live in His light now. Like He’s coming, because friends, He is! Our God is coming to us, like the sun coming closer to the earth, or a beam of light shining on us. Christ, our morning star. You can be assured that He is coming. So let that fill your heart with hope and strength to be sons of the day and sons of the light.

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised with Christ to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above the heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth which have only temporal value. For you died to this world, and your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

  1. Keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is
  2. Your new, real life is hidden with Christ

Remember those times when your heart and your soul and your body was so near to Christ? Not that He ever left you but you made an agreement with your heart, soul, and body, that you wanted Him and nothing else. “With my whole heart I have sought you,” the famous psalmist said. Not everyday do we live in that agreement. Not everyday do we seek Him. Oh but how our heart does seek. Because your heart knows it needs depend on for life or else it dies. But our heart is untrained. It only knows sin as a way to live. We are programmed for death. That is what happened at the garden of Eden. Not only are we separated from God bu we can’t get back to Him because our minds so obscured by the filth and grime of the fall that we can’t tell left from right. How do you expect blind men to find their way back? It’s only through Christ. He sought us. He pursued after us who wandered away. In the New Testament, we see a lot of broken people coming to Jesus. Did you know Jesus went after people as well? Like the woman at the well, Zaccheus, the disciples, the possessed man, Saul! Jesus went after them, and He still goes after people today.. He is seeking you. He trains our heart, and He shows us how to live. He brought us close to Him through His own blood so we don’t have to fear Him ever leaving our side. 

I love this quote by CS LEWIS and I hope and pray that it just melts your heart in love for Jesus Christ:

“An ‘impersonal God’-well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads-better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap-best of all. But God himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, King, husband-that is quite another matter.”

Live alive.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (worldliness, manner of life), GOD MADE YOUR ALIVE TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, having [freely] forgiven us all our sins, having cancelled  out the certificate of debt consisting of legal demands [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and uthorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal prodession], having triumphed over them through the cross. (Col.2:13-15)

God did it. Not us. I have to remember that. My mind knows but my heart is unsure. Sin does that. It not only trips you up when you make a mistake but it has you revisit that mistake over and over again. Hell in the present. And there’s no way out. The principle, “a dog returns to its own vomit”, stands at my heart. How does God have the power to forgive and keep forgiving me of all my sin? Not that I want to be continually sinning to continual receive His forgiveness, but I’m kind of over this whole sin thing. Like when is this vicious cycle gonna end?! It slows me down from running this race. I wish I could make better decisions and more consistently choose Christ.

Here’s the game changer: Christ chose me. He ran the race for me. He forgave me eternally before I asked. He cleaned up the vomit. He overcame Hell. All of this inner talk… it has already been finished. That’s old news. Live in the new. See the mind is a powerful thing. We can keep reliving the past as much as we want. And we can stay there if we so choose. But the reality of today is that God made us alive in Christ. And whenever He does things, it’s not just for one moment in time, but for all of the moments. Whatever He does lasts forever and ever and ever. Heart, trust God. Lean in to Your Savior and be filled with His everlasting love. Live alive. 

Leverage.

I’m reading Esther now, and Mordecai said some really strange things to her:

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish [since you did not help when you had the chance]. And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this [and for this very purpose]?” (Esther 4:13-14 AMP)

Esther, you have no choice but to save us. I am not the one pressuring you; Death is. However, even if you don’t save us, a Savior will come eventually. But for right now, for your life and ours, let’s bank on the fact that the king likes you. Try to save us anyway. See, Mordecai based his advice on the law of leverage. I think it’s very important for us to understand what leverage is because I believe that’s how salvation comes: not through us, but through our Leverage. What is it?

Leverage (via Merriam-Webster)

  • influence or power used to achieve a desired result

  • the increase in force gained by using a lever

    leverA-50

 

This is an example of a class 1 lever. The board of the see-saw is the lever. If there was a heftier boy sitting opposite from him, the first boy would move upwards. In order to gain leverage, the first boy would need to either a) gain weight greater than the other boy or b) sit further from the fulcrum. The fulcrum cannot move.  However, even if the boy sat further, it doesn’t ensure that he will gain leverage over the other. The other may be heavy enough to maintain the leverage.

The fulcrum is the law of God. It is how He created and structured the world. We disrupted His order, and therefore, on the balance of His holiness, we were outweighed by our sin (Daniel 5:27). He cannot change His law (move the fulcrum) so we were at a great loss before Him. We could die for our sin, but guess what? We could never gain the favor of God. Our sins are too heavy.

However, Jesus came in to the picture and tipped the scale dramatically. God had favor toward Him, like the king’s favor towards Esther, because God is the Father, and Jesus is the Son. This love was before the world was created. Jesus Christ outweighed our sin  (John 8:54). Exponential force!

My heart is thrilled! My heart is bubbling with joy and freedom! My God made a way for me to live in this world and the next, and it’s not going to change ever. I give you my life, God. I have nothing to be afraid of in coming to You. Thank you for our Leverage: Jesus Christ!

Dedicate.

Dedicate (via Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  • to set apart for a special and often higher end
  •  solemn and exclusive devotion to a sacred or serious use or purpose

 

As I’m reading about the dedication of the wall in Nehemiah, I am also sitting at my workplace getting ready for my eight-hour shift–my active, always walking, always pushing, hustling-hard eight-hour shift. This is probably the most physically-demanding job I’ve ever had (apart from dance..  but that’s passion-driven so it’s in a whole other category). This job is my version of building a wall. Time goes by very slowly; it’s monotonous. It feels like hell, but what redeems the whole process is the end.

Before, the end for me was my paycheck. As long as I got it, it didn’t matter how I much or little I engaged with people, how present I was in my workplace–just finish the job well and leave. This did nothing for my inner person, my heart, who I was: you know, the thing that really counts. That’s what God dropped into my heart one day. I only looked out for myself. I did not connect with people or my co-workers. I just wanted to do this as fast as I could, get paid, and get out. And that caused me to miss so many opportunities to dedicate this wall. So I had to find a greater purpose by answering this question: who am I doing this for? If I can answer that, then I’ll understand what exactly it means to dedicate something. And we must dedicate our lives to something, because it’s the only way we have true meaning. If we cannot answer why, we cannot expect ourselves to continue on with the what. Not for very long, that is.

So my end is this: I am doing this for God. I’m doing every little thing I am tasked to do in this banal job to the best of my ability and loving every single person along the way as God would love them. In fact, God loves this more than any great thing I could do. It is the fact that I see it as so little–for then I have nothing to boast about except what makes it great: my God! Crazy, right? With God’s help, I hope that you can find your end today too and start dedicating the wall that you build everyday.

Weep no more.

Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Law10 Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.”Nehemiah 8 (AMP)

Why were they weeping? And, before I submit my thoughts to any commentary, I want to start answering this question. People were weeping when they heard the words of the Law. From what I gathered, Israel is scattered under another’s territory; they do not have a place of their own because of their ancestors’ disobedient choices. They have no understanding of who they serve and who they are: basically, a lost identity. They do not know what God required of them. They live in a time where they can serve Him and other gods. They can intermarry with God’s blessing (time-sensitive law). The original law seems to be blurred and they have no discernment.

Ezra the priest enters in with some assistants to read and explain the Word of God to the people. As understanding settles in, they begin to realize how far off they were in following God’s Word. So they wept, because they thought they were living like God’s people, but they only wore the elegant royalties of it (“we are God’s people”) yet having no authority. Kind of like how young child may put on mom’s dress, mom’s lipstick, mom’s heels and jewelry, but not ever taken seriously as a mother. It’s just a child in ill-fitting clothes and they realized that they were foolish pretenders.

With the use of Matthew Henry’s commentary, I have found that:”people were wounded with the words of the law that were read to them…Therefore when they heard it they all wept (Neh. 8:9): it was a good sign that their hearts were tender, like Josiah’s when he heard the words of the law. They wept to think how they had offended God, and exposed themselves, by their many violations of the law; when some wept all wept, for they all saw themselves guilty before God.”Also, Barnes’ notes:”The people wept … – Because the Law brought vividly before them their sins of omission and commission.”And Antique Commentary’s notes:”The people sorrowed (Neh_8:9) because they had not kept the Law: they now rejoiced because they were able to understand it.”

Upon reading this, it seems that Israel perhaps even forgot who they were altogether. It seems like they might not have been pretending at all but totally in the dark. They were blind. The point is.. God would have them see. I think that’s why Ezra and Nehemiah were telling them rejoice! Have joy in the Lord again. Remember Him as your God and how good He is! Turn to Him again. Don’t live as captives anymore. You don’t have to pretend. Come to me. I think in the same way as if a child ever gotten into trouble, like running into the street, she could run back to her arms and be safe again.

God gave them a reason to not weep anymore: all of Himself. His desire? Them and nothing less. So why were they weeping again?

 

Gaining ground.

14 When I saw their fear, I stood and said to the nobles and officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; [confidently] remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and [with courage from Him] fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and for your homes.” Nehemiah 4 (AMP)

Here we see meditative prayer and action combined. Nehemiah reminds them that “our God will fight for us”(vs 20) but also fight for yourselves! We are able to fight not just on our own strength, but we have another, running parallel: God’s strengthening power in us. That is their basis; that is where they will have better footing, something solid to stand when adversity heads their way: God backing them up. We’ll never know what exactly God will do, and we can’t count that He will do the same thing twice, but we can count on that He is doing and will do something and it is always very good.