Gross Darkness?

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I thought I understood the gross darkness of Isaiah 60:2 until a question arose in my spirit that made me reconsider:

Do we really understand why we need Jesus and all He did – beyond our surface behavior to the very root of the sinfulness?

I don’t think so.  The Bible states that we all fall short of the glory of God.  God’s glory – beyond outward behavior appearing to meet God’s law.  God’s glory – complete purity, from the inside out.  Every law completely fulfilled from the intent to the outward manifestation of it.  It’s totally impossible for us to achieve, yet we continue trying, blind to our total helplessness and hopelessness without Christ.

Our righteousness is as filthy rags.  Not our righteousness in Christ, but our personal efforts at righteousness.  In this life, we will probably never see it exactly like God did before He sent His one and only Son.  The more we focus on Jesus, however, the clearer it will become.  Perhaps we need to ask God to help us see a tiny sliver of the gross darkness of fleshly actions.  Any more than that would overwhelm us.

Think about it.  If we feel good about (aka “are proud of”) ourselves for having made a godly choice, we’ve just fallen short of God’s glory.  We’re looking at ourselves as if it’s something we’ve done.  In reality, we’re seeing darkness again.  Oh, but don’t despair.  I didn’t write this to make us feel like worms – only to help us see more clearly the depth of our previous worminess.  We have been forgiven and are new creatures in Christ!

Light and Life is already ours in Christ – despite (and because of) the depth of the darkness of our flesh.  How great the finished work of Jesus Christ!  How great are His grace and mercy!  How great is our Father’s love for us!  Glory to God!

Romans 4:7-8 NIV  7“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

Verse 7 is present tense, not future.  Whatever it is, in Christ it is forgiven – covered in such a way as to be completely eliminated, not just hidden.  Verse 8 is future tense.  If we’re in Christ, no future sin will ever be counted against us either, for it is already forgiven.  Now, consider the Isaiah verse in full:

Isaiah 60:2 KJV  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

We are the “thee” when we are in Christ!  How much brighter we see His glory when we realize how dark was our gross darkness.  Thank You, Jesus, for the fullness of Your sacrifice for us!

The End . . . or the Beginning?

You are probably familiar with the dilemma of a glass being half-full or half-empty.  It’s obvious the glass has only one amount of liquid, but it’s a person’s perception of it that colors their outlook.  Someone who considers it half-empty probably sees that there is only so much left before it is all gone – and “then what will we do?”  On the other hand, those who see it as half-full probably think, “Wow!  I still have half the glass left to drink!”  I couldn’t help but see myself in this principle during a time of change in my life.

While I recognized the hand of the Lord in the changes, I was focused on the ending of things, resulting in a sadness permeating everything I did or thought.  As I prayed before bed one night, however, knowing the next morning would be the first day following the “end”, the Lord spoke to my heart that it was really the first day of the beginning I was facing.  I was actually stepping into something brand new, not just leaving something behind.  It is an understatement to say this simple sentence changed my whole outlook!  Though I still didn’t know what I was beginning, and things really were ending, I now saw it from God’s perspective.  I now saw my glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.  Further, I could see He was beginning the process of filling it up again – with new and different experiences to add to those He had given me before.

Philippians 3:13-1413. . .Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Had I continued to dwell on the endings – with a half-empty glass mentality – I’m sure I would have missed much of what the Lord had for me in the changes.  I couldn’t have pressed forward with my all because I’d have been looking backwards – and that makes progress difficult, if not impossible.  God’s Word changed my perspective so I could see the glass as half-full, awaiting His refilling, no longer half-empty and running out.  Sadness was replaced with excitement and anticipation about the new things Daddy had for me in this adventure of life in Christ, because it’s not the end, but the beginning!

Proverbs 3:5-6 “5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”  AMP