“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out” John 1: 5.
I have been reading the book of John and the more I read it, the more I see the saving message of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, in line with what Pastor Billy Graham is saying in his book The Holy Spirit.
When I commit sins [and I do every day], I sometimes feel a sense of despair; sometimes it is resignation that I am weak and I should be able to do better. If it is despair that I am feeling, it is over the fact that I am not going forward with a life in Christ; I have veered off the tracks. I have taken a turn that I did not anticipate. I have listened to a message in my mind or in my heart that is wrong, hurtful and not productive. I have turned away from the message that God gives me, the message of freedom, hope and joy.
It is hard to explain, this “veering off the tracks.” Is it the spirit of rebellion? Is it thoughtlessness? Is it a misguided quest for some thrill? Is it born of jealousy? Is my sin from my endless quest for attention? Is it due to my greed? Maybe it is gossip that I share, gossip that makes me seem like an insider, a member of the group. But when I gossip, I am judging others, hurting others to make myself look more important.
I start condemning myself. I feel like hiding from God, but boy is that a faulty idea. No one can hide from God. He knows all about us. In John, Jesus is referred to as existing before John the Baptist was born. Earlier in the book we encounter the words “Before the world was created, the Word already existed; He was with God, and He was the same as God. From the very beginning the Word was with God….The Word was the source of life” [John 1: 1-4]. It takes little imagination to figure out that the Word refers to Jesus. It is no wonder that as Jesus met His disciples He knew about them already; He had always known them. He knew of them before they were born, He knew them when He met them and He knew what they would do in the future. Andrew introduced Simon to Jesus and He immediately called him Cephas / Peter. Jesus knew He would meet him and He knew that Simon [the pebble] would become Peter [the rock]. Jesus met Nathanael and Nathanael asked “how do you know me?” Jesus answered “I saw you under the fig tree before Phillip called you.” Nathanael was impressed by Jesus’ foreknowledge and had an interesting response; “You are the Son of God!” Jesus said “Do you believe just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?”
Then the most important words: “You will see much greater things than this!” In essence, your faith has set you free. The future holds great things for you.
Sin is truly a setback. We all think that when we profess our belief in Christ, our sins will begin to diminish and maybe they will. But for some, the battle is just beginning. Sinful behavior seems to be taking over, but just as Jesus knew His disciples before He met them, He knows you and me. He knows our failings, our weaknesses, our desires that are not based on His values; He knows we are following the ways of the world. Sometimes as we commit to Christ, the attitude is “I believe in you Jesus, but please let me alone!”
It does not work that way. He will not stop in His effort to save us from ourselves. He wants the professed Christian to work for His Kingdom, warts and all. There is real hope in all of this. John the Baptist says in John 1 “He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit” [verse 33]. Jesus “is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” [1-29].
You see, no matter how weak we are, God has given us His Helper to steer us through the hard times. He has come to take away our sins; the ones we have committed, the ones we are committing and the ones we will commit. He knows He can use what we are going through to further His kingdom.
I truly believe what the Apostle Paul writes about in Romans, that “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
I am sure He is disappointed when I sin, but yes, He can use my sin for a greater good……
Yes, even when I veer off the tracks, that is useful for my edification.
I can be more than I am; He knows that there will be a better tomorrow.
I will see much greater things than this!