I had great intentions of maintaining super straight teeth forever after wearing braces for many years. But, eventually I got pretty tired of wearing my retainers so, I’d skip one night here and there…and it seemed to be OK. So, I started skipping two nights, three, four, a week, then a month. Sure enough, the retainers became more and more difficult to put in and they would hurt now, often for days. Eventually, I waited too long and they just wouldn’t fit into my mouth anymore. My laziness, then, gets the blame for my crooked teeth!
How easy it is to do the same thing with God. I John 1:5-7 tells us God is light, absolutely unchanging, beautiful light. There is no sin in God, never was and never will be. But, here we are, able to be forgiven of sin in general but remaining sinful creatures throughout this life. Do we see the potential conflict here?
We need to remain in God’s presence so our sinfulness can constantly be subjected to God’s purifying and correcting. When we do, mostly we notice small tweaks to our thoughts and words, a nudge about our attitude. It’s really not bad, considering we remain in the presence of the holy, almighty, perfect God! Without his mercy, that would otherwise have resulted in immediate death!
But just like those retainers, this bit of effort on our part can get “tiring”, or feel old, if we let our attitudes veer from thankfulness to concern with what this world offers. And we start missing a day here and there of our time with God. We seem OK but, without accountability, we can stray further and further from our loving God. We do notice that when we are back in God’s presence, his corrections seem harder and more painful. We’ve allowed our sin to grow stronger as we stay away from God so it’s harder manage. How long will we stay away from God’s light? How lazy will we become? The nice thing is, God always allows us back, no matter how long we were away, at least until Jesus’ return. But we can really lose our taste for his refreshing water. The enemy is sure to have all sorts of other options all around us to grab our straying eyes. And we are weaker than we know!
So why move from his light, ever? There’s no better place to be! In truth, it never needs to get old or feel tiring. It’s not just correcting God does as we sit in his beautiful presence, he’s
refining our tastes,
purifying our desires,
teaching us more about himself.
And what exactly is our part? Just staying there, keeping our eyes and hearts focused on God. He really doesn’t expect too much of us! Nor was taking two seconds to put in my retainers in too much to keep my teeth straight after my parents paid thousands of dollars.
So, let’s commit to our small task of staying in God’s light. God gives us .0000000001% to do and he does the rest. It’s totally do-able then, to open your Bible, to thank God for your day, to choose something you know encourages you to love God over dwelling on your old bad habits. And it is just today after all! We don’t have to worry about our whole lifetime right now –
Be can be faithful today, make those couple good choices today. Let’s remain in God’s amazing light today. He miraculously puts all these “todays” together and shows us our progress when we need encouragement.
Oh, and wear your retainer too!
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.