[The Lord speaking to Paul] "I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
Thoughts for Today:One of the more challenging things to do in businesses is to write a mission statement (a few sentences that effectively communicate and encapsulate what the business all about, the values it represents, and its purpose or its reason for being). It's not an easy thing to do because there is so much to say; and so many things that can be said. I absolutely love our passage today because it succinctly and elegantly expresses our purpose as Christians on this earth. It is God's "Heavenly Vision," or rather God's Mission Statement for us, and it is twofold:
"Open their eyes"
I'm sure you probably remember the story of Samson and Delilah. After much pestering, Samson finally revealed the secret of his strength to Delilah -- his hair which she promptly cut off once he fell asleep. When the Philistines attacked, Samson awoke to fight but was not aware the Spirit had departed him (the Spirit was the source of his strength, Judges 16:20). As a result, the Philistines were able to capture him, bind him, poke his eyes out, and turn him into a slave. Sin is just like that -- we know it's bad for us but it can be entertaining or even enjoyable for a while; then when we finally wake up, we find out its too late because we're already overpowered. I think the really sad part of this story is Samson was so involved and preoccupied with sin that it blinded him far before he ever lost his eyes -- so much so he didn't even notice when the Spirit left him. He was blinded and bound by sin far before the Philistines ever attacked to seal his fate.
"Turn them from darkness to light"
God told Paul/us that it is our mission to turn people from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. For Jesus there was no middle ground. No grading upon the scale, no tolerance for alternative beliefs, and certainly no excusing because of parents or societal issues. Sin is a human fault; we all suffer from it equally; and there is only one solution: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Mathew 12:30, Jesus said, "He who is not with me is against me." I think that's pretty clear.
In this our final step to recovery from whatever ails us, it's really pretty simple: we open our eyes to sin (which the previous 3 steps allow us to see with clarity), then we turn from darkness to light (from the power of Satan to God). It's a choice we all must make either we cave into the darkness of depression, despair and hopelessness, or turn to the light and our hope of glory in Christ Jesus. Which choice will you make?
Questions to Ponder:Have you opened your eyes to sin today? What is the Lord speaking to you about right now? As the Lord casts His Holy light upon our sin our next step is very simple: we must make a conscious decision to turn away from sin and to the Lord. Will you turn now? The Lord is waiting to forgive and rescue -- all we have to do is ask and accept.