When you are blinded, you cannot see things as they really are, even though others around you see them clearly. You cannot experience the full reality of all that is around you. You may feel you are experiencing all that there is to life, yet you may be unaware that you are missing what God desires for you. You may even be in danger because of your blindness and not know it.
Paul warned that the “god of this age” can blind you to the reality of Jesus Christ. Christ’s presence can make a significant difference in your life. However, if Satan convinces you to doubt that Christ can do what He promised, he will have blinded you to the reality of what your life is really like and to what it could become. Others may see what your unbelief causes you to miss, but you will be unaware of it. Your life may be steadily moving toward disaster, but you will be oblivious to it.
Christ comes to you as light (John 1:4, 5, 9). He illuminates your sin so that you see its ugliness and destructiveness. He reveals Himself so that you can appreciate the glory of His person and the marvelous riches He brings. His presence lights your path so that you can see impending danger. Don’t let the god of this age distort your spiritual vision. Don’t be fooled into thinking that everything is as it should be when, in fact, you are missing out on so much that God wants to do in your life. Ask Christ to illuminate your life and let you clearly see your spiritual condition.
Entering a saving relationship with Christ is a life-changing experience! All things become new! Not some things, but all things (2 Cor. 5:17). For the first time in your life, Christ is Lord; God is Master. When you become a Christian, Christ’s presence will affect every part of you. You will have new thoughts, new attitudes, new values, and new sensitivities. New priorities will dramatically affect your relationships. You will view everything in your life from a Christlike perspective. Christianity is not something you add to your life; it is life!
Nicodemus thought that salvation meant performing certain religious exercises and holding to particular religious teachings. He had no idea of the all-encompassing nature of salvation! When you become a Christian, God gives you a new heart so that everything becomes new! God gives you a new mind, like that of Christ, so you think differently. He gives you new emotions, so you feel deeply about completely different matters. You become sensitive to sin, so you are no longer comfortable with it. Your recreation will be affected as you are made aware of what is honoring to God and what is not. Your relationships will now be guided by the Holy Spirit. Destructive habits and attitudes, previously immune to change, will be transformed.
Have you noticed the changes God has brought to your life since you entered a vital relationship with Jesus Christ? These changes should be very noticeable as a testimony of the new life you received when you trusted Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
The most dramatic changes in your life will come from God’s initiative, not yours. The people God used mightily in Scripture were all ordinary people to whom He gave divine assignments that they never could have initiated. The Lord often took them by surprise for they were not seeking significant mandates from God. Even so, He saw their hearts, and He knew they were trustworthy.
The Lord spoke to Abram when He was beginning to build a nation dedicated to His purposes. Through this nation would come the Savior. God appeared to Moses at the very time He had purposed to deliver Israel out of slavery in Egypt. God found in Jesse’s youngest son David a godly man who could lead His people. God surprised Mary when He told her she would be the mother of the Messiah. God’s Son selected the twelve disciples, all ordinary, uneducated men, when He was ready to take the good news of His salvation to the world. Through the ages God has taken the initiative in the everyday lives of people to accomplish things through them that they never could have imagined.
The Lord may be initiating some new things in your life. When He tells you what His plans are, trust Him and walk closely with Him. Don’t let the busyness of your present activity keep you from experiencing all that God has in store for you. You will see Him accomplish things through your life that you never dreamed were possible (Eph. 3:20).
As God has walked with His people through the generations, He has progressively revealed His nature according to His purposes and the needs of His people. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as God Almighty, because they needed His mighty power to protect them from their enemies. Moses and the Israelites learned that God was Lord, Master over every nation and every thing. God not only delivered them from the most powerful ruler in the world, but also brought them into the $>Promised Land. They came to experience Him as Lord, preeminently powerful over the pagan gods of their day.
God will continue to reveal His character to you according to your needs and according to His purposes. You will come to know more and more about Him as you obey Him. When you grieve, He will come to you as Comforter. When you are in need, He will demonstrate that He is the Provider. When you face a serious challenge, He will reveal that He is God Almighty.
Your understanding of God’s character ought to be greater now than when you first became a Christian. You ought to know Him today better than you did five years ago. Sadly, some Christians continue to live year after year with the same basic knowledge of God that they had when they first began walking with him. Whatever your present situation, view it in the light of what God is teaching you, through circumstances, about Himself and you will come to know God in dimensions you have never known Him before.
Your relationship with God ought to bring you more joy, satisfaction, and pleasure than any other relationship, activity, or material possession you have. Scripture exhorts you to delight yourself in the Lord, finding your greatest pleasure in God and the things dear to His heart.
How can you find pleasure in what God enjoys? Only as you spend time with Him will you begin to take delight in the things God loves. As you spend intimate time with God and allow Him to show you your situation from His perspective, you will begin to see things as God sees them. As you adjust yourself to God, your heart will begin to desire the same things God’s heart desires. When you pray, you will find yourself asking for the very things God desires. Matters foremost on God’s heart will be preeminent in yours. Your first request in prayer will not be for yourself, but for God’s name to be exalted and His kingdom to be extended (Matt. 6:9–10).
Have you been asking God to give you the desires of your heart without first seeking to understand what is on His heart? God places this important requirement for those who pray: that we seek His priorities and make them our own. This great qualifier prevents us from asking out of selfishness. As we find joy in the Lord, we will see what is truly important, and we will long for these things as the Father does.
No one is more precious in the Lord’s sight than a godly person. God is pleased whenever He finds someone who strives to live a righteous life and bring glory to Him. God sets such people apart in a special place in His heart. They are always kept before Him, and He stands ready to respond to their faintest cries for help.
Sin separates us from God, causing Him to close His ears to our praying. It is futile for us to pray when we are knowingly practicing sin. But the opposite is also true. God chooses to honor us by listening to our every cry when we are living a godly life. An abiding security comes with living a blameless life. The righteous person never has to wonder whether God has listened to his prayer (1 John 5:14–15). The godly person has confidence that God has indeed heard her prayer and will immediately respond in all of His power.
It is exhilarating to be set apart by God, knowing that God observes your consecrated life and is pleased with what He sees. What a tremendous privilege to know that your life holds a special place in God’s heart! The world may not accord any special status to you, but you will know that you are cherished by God. The world continues to find new ways to honor people, but even the world’s most extravagant accolades are pitiful compared to the unfathomable blessing of holding a special place in the heart of God!
One of the many truths of the kingdom of God is that if we will honor God, He will honor us. If, however, we dare to treat Him disrespectfully, we will also be treated as least in His kingdom. The initiative rests with us. Our response to God determines His response to us.
Eli had been the priest of Israel for many years, and he knew the standards for righteous living that God required. Yet Eli faced a dilemma, for his sons were living in direct opposition to God. As their father, Eli had to decide whom he would honor. He could not defer to his immoral and ungodly sons and also exalt the God he served. By default, Eli chose to honor his sons, for he did not insist that their behavior conform to God’s standards. Eli would have pleaded that he still loved God but that he simply could not bring honor to God with his family. Yet God viewed Eli’s behavior differently (1 Sam. 3:13–14). Eli revealed his own heart when he failed to honor God before the people of Israel by the way he dealt with his sons. This is why God punished Eli and his sons severely (1 Sam. 4:17–18).
God is not pleased if you praise Him at church but not at your workplace. It is not acceptable for you to revere God when you are with other Christians but not in your school or neighborhood. He expects you to honor Him completely, with your words, with your actions, with your life. If you honor Him, He will honor you.