“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.””
Ephesians 5:8-14 NKJV
Illness sucks. Probably not the most holy thing I could say in a devotional. It is aweful, because it draws my attention away from the things of God and toward the lesser concerns, toward those things that serve to ground one in the flesh, and not the Spirit. This past week, I struggled to remain focused on spiritual things even as my body battled infection.
My sight was lowered, as fever and momentary concerns drew me away. It was all about meeting those lower needs, such as sleep, wellness and figuring out what was wrong. I battled to put out a devotional, to pray, to even consider spiritual things. In those moments, there was danger of the flesh running to sin, of my looking to lower things, there was also a residual righteousness provided by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Deep inside, I still knew what was acceptable to the Lord.
Had I not been sick, all hell would have broken loose.
As I became more healthy, my appetites were awakened within me. Thankfully, there are great limitations in the hospital setting, and there was plenty of green jello to tied me over.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.”
Colossians 3:1-7 NKJV
In the potential weak times, is when I am thankful to have the Helper, the One who governs me from the inside. Regular time in the word, in prayer, and worship, helps me to train my inward parts to follow the ways of God, so that my first impulse is to follow Jesus. Through such trials, the renewing of my mind is manifest, shown more clearly against the contrast of things I may have done in the past.
With Christ, I have the highbeams on, scanning ahead for obstacles and potential sin areas, having a preset escape through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is all a part of God making me new, of His changing who I was into who I am, in Him.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
It is an ongoing process, as will is submitted, body is sacrificed, mind, renewed, leading to more surrender, and on it goes. What is lost is mere vanity, emptiness, but what is gained is peace.
Brothers and sisters, let us soak up the goodness of God, that we be so marinated, that in times of trouble, weakness and temptations, we naturally seek the Lord. Let it be second nature.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
Happy whatever day it is….!?