Tag Archives: darkness

Shed the Shroud

alisha041Perhaps it comes as no surprise to most of us that even dedicated Christians find themselves subject to depression, sorrow, and shame.  What’s more, the burden of guilt for feeling depressed, sorrowful, and ashamed is often worse than the feelings themselves.  After all, aren’t Christians supposed to be the happiest people on earth?  Based on God’s Word we can be confident that Jesus has set us free from sin and released us into a new life permeated with His Presence.  By His Holy Spirit, He is readily available to us — as near to us as the breath we breathe.

Yet somehow, many of us labor under an all-too-familiar shroud of sorrow and shame that we cannot seem to shake.   In fact, we tend to think that that sorrow or shame is part of who we are, our cross to bear, our thorn in the flesh.  As such, we endeavor to simply cope with the heaviness and own it as our just due, as something unchangeable this side of heaven.  

However, that shroud is a cloak of death thrown over us by the enemy of our souls.   His goal is to choke off the joy God has made available to us and to blind us to God’s perspective on our lives.  The enemy blankets us in darkness and hopelessness; he loves to convince us that his heaviness is, in reality, part of who we are, a part we are powerless to change.   

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He called him forth from death into life. Lazarus emerged from the grave; however, he was still clothed in the grave clothes in which he had been wrapped prior to burial.   Jesus instructed Lazarus’s friends and family to remove the grave clothes and let him go (see John 11).   Sometimes I think I neglect to ask others to help me remove the shrouds that the enemy persists in tossing over me.  I think I should be able to toss them off by myself — which I only rarely am able to do!   Often, I muddle through a week or so without recognizing that the shroud is NOT part of me, my personality, or my calling.  It is a dark cloak of death that suffocates everything the Lord has breathed into me!

Jesus, help us to speak life to one another and remove the shrouds of futility, hopelessness, depression, sorrow, fear, and shame that so readily block our vision and drag us down.   We choose to step out from under the heaviness of those grave clothes and into Your marvelous light!   Thank You for delivering us from the undertow of our past and the dark thoughts that would like to chain us to darkness.   You are truly our Deliverer! Empower us to shed the shroud and to yank it off one another!  Thank You for Your resuscitation station that enables me to shed the shroud of darkness and shun the shame!  You are glorious and full of hope, and I thank You for Your light and life that conquers every shred of darkness!

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 NLT)

 

 

 

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Mantled to Dismantle

clothed-in-light-300x168[1]In the midst of a society that seems to grow more hedonistic and perverse on a daily basis, I have at times become radically self-protective in an effort to avoid being stained by what I see around me. In fact, in an effort to protect myself and my family from  the rising tide of wickedness in our culture, I have been guilty at times of allowing my God-given discernment to morph into judgment and condemnation.   Almost without realizing it, I can paint myself into my own personal legalistic corner and wonder why none of my unbelieving acquaintances sense the love of Jesus in me enough to join me in that tight corner!

Somehow, I forget that my own judgments and efforts to pursue holiness do not defeat darkness.   Instead, the glory, goodness, and love of Father God are the weapons Jesus used (and still uses) to dismantle wickedness.  The Blood of Jesus shed on the cross is a powerful expression of His love and His heart to redeem me from the darkness resident in my own soul.   If God’s love, light, and goodness defeated wickedness and sin on the cross, surely those same weapons are equally powerful today!

Paul assures in Galatians 3:26-27 that those who are baptized have “put on” Christ, that believers are clothed (or mantled) in Jesus Christ Himself, which includes all He is!  Isaiah 61 :10 also speaks of being clothed in Him:  “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”  My task is to remember who God is — His goodness, kindness, righteousness, mercy, love, holiness, light, and glory — and to literally clothe myself in Him.   His character trumps all the powers of darkness that could ever stand against me.   His power and Presence in me and on me are capable of transforming the people around me and even the city where I live.

It doesn’t matter how difficult the challenges are or how dark the darkness.   Jesus is far greater than any darkness I will ever confront.   I am learning to put on Christ and to remember the One Who clothes me with salvation, righteousness, and glory.   He will use me to dismantle structures of darkness and to defeat whatever spiritual adversaries I may face.   His goodness will touch the hearts of those I meet as I trust all my conversations to Him.  Father, help me to remember that You mantle me with Your goodness and that Your Presence in and on me is more than able to dismantle the enemy!   I want grow in my awareness of Your nearness and Your all-powerful love!

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