“The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.”
This is a powerful word. Jesus enlightens everyone? How? Even before He came into the world, He enlightened everyone? What does this mean?
Inside every one of Adam’s children, at the deepest core of our being, inside, where the spirit of man dwells, the spirit that was breathed into Adam at the creation, the spirit that died (was separated from God) through sin, the spirit that distinguishes us from the animal kingdom, “the true light enlightens.”
In every culture of the world there is that residue of rightness and wrongness on our internal hard drive. That residue may be polluted and warped, but it’s there, waiting to be touched by God’s Spirit, brought back to life, born anew in Jesus so that the Spirit is restored to us as the original intended control panel of our anatomy.
This is particularly important as we pray for people to come to know God, to know Jesus. This is why God said that only a fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). That faint residue of faith is still present even in the heart of an atheist who dares to move past the mind into that intuitive core of one’s own self-identity. This is why, when on the streets of Communist Russia, after the fall of communism when evangelists were out on the streets with Bibles talking to people who were trained as atheists, many received Jesus the first time they heard the good news. Why? The message of God, the message of Jesus, is self-validating to the fallen human spirit.
This is also the reason why, even in the most decadent culture or sub-culture where killing and all forms of sexual immorality are rampant, there is still, within that sub-culture framework, certain “codes of ethics” beyond which members of the sub-culture dare not tread. Polluted “enlightenment?” Yes, but still that residue of God.
Lord, yes! We pray for those who have heard the message of Jesus, but who have rationalized the message away. We pray for Jewish people all over the earth to know their own Messiah, the One Who is the Fulfillment of the words of the prophets. We pray for the nations of the world to know this Jewish Messiah/World Redeemer. You who enlighten everyone, shine brilliantly even into the hearts of the most vicious enemies of the cross. Give revelation in the night hours when the world is still. Give revelation in Jewish liturgy. Give revelation when the message is preached. Give revelation amidst the rituals of Muslims, Buddhists Hindus, animists! Shine brilliantly into the darkest recesses of our being.
And Lord, yes! Beam brighter in and through believers throughout the world! Enlighten us more! Enlighten others through us! In Your Name Jesus we pray! Amen!
“We also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Word works in those who believe! The Word does not work in those who do not believe.
“No matter how many promises, they are ‘Yes” in Messiah. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
We activate God’s promises through our agreement with them – through our “Amen.”
“We also have had the gospel preached to us just as they did, but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4:2).
Hearing without faith is of no value. The Word of God is filled with promises, often unfulfilled promises. We receive those promises through faith.
Let us listen expectantly for the promises, and see those promises fulfilled in our lives through our faith-filled “Amen”!
”Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to and his descendants will inherit it.”
A different spirit! An opposite spirit! Twelve men from the twelve tribes had gone through Canaan investigating the land the Lord was giving them. Ten of them returned quaking with fear because of the strength of the enemy, the giants that must be conquered. Only Caleb and his young friend Joshua had a different spirit and were allowed to possess the land, even though their entry was delayed by forty years because of the disbelief of the nation.
Some years back, during the month of January, I was invited to speak at a pastors’ conference. I was to fly out early one morning, and was to be the principal speaker at the evening gathering. On the morning of the conference, I received a telephone call from the host. He was very agitated because of the extreme icy weather conditions, which, so it seemed to him, could even call for the cancelation of the entire conference. He advised me to stay home. I immediately left for the airport.
Why? Because I realized that this brother was speaking from a place of frustration and disbelief, not from a place of joy and faith. Truth must lie in a different spirit – the opposite spirit.
I arrived at the university fifteen minutes before the evening meeting began, and spoke to a full house.
We, as believers in Jesus, like Caleb of old, must learn to walk in a different spirit, an opposite spirit.
In times of famine, we share.
In times of danger, we serve.
In times of poverty, we give.
In times of adversity, we sing.
In times of stress, we rest.
In pools of hatred, we love.
In times of persecution, we bless.
When assaulted, we forgive.
We are invincible when walking in the different spirit, the opposite spirit, the Jesus Spirit!