John 3:19-21 (MSG) “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
Our family relocated from the city to the county a few years ago. I became friends with someone who grew up here. She essentially knows EVERYONE. I lovingly and jokingly refer to her as the “Commissioner.” I can rest assured that no matter where we go in the county – she knows someone if not everyone in attendance. There is comfort in navigating the unknown with the Commissioner. I am seldom the stranger in the room because she is my friends so others readily accept the new girl. There is comfort in being accepted. To be affirmed by others as socially acceptable. The fear of rejection is daunting when exploring new places and faces. My friend is well-liked and even loved by others. This has made our transition much easier. The Lord definitely placed her in my life on purpose.
It is human nature to loathe obscurity. Those who embrace isolation are generally in bondage to fear of things like rejection. Cultures and cliques alike will push folks out often unknowingly because everyone is fighting to be seen yet unseen. Take social media for example, so many filtered and altered images of “perfect people” living a “perfect life” when in reality it really is just like everyone else’s or maybe even worse. Comparison is a joy killer and suffocates light in the believer. God made us to be unique. The enemy fights to make us feel obscure.
To live in obscurity is to outside the Will of God. Obscurity means to be ambiguous. Uncertain and of meaning or expression or to be unknown. It defines a person as unknown or unimportant. It is marked by darkness, dimness and in distinctness. “Obscure” as a verb may give us some insight as to who really tries to influence us in this area as it means to conceal by confusion or to make dark, dim or indistinct. Oh yes, it is the liar and deceiver who is the enemy of the human soul that attempts to lock us in a cell of insecurity and obscurity that puts out the Light of God’s Love within us to surrender to the darkness of a lie. Not today, satan. Not today…
We are Children of the Light. God did not put the Light of His Love in us to quickly shove us under a basket. We are to be bright beacons in a lost and dying world. “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness… Why do those created as conduits of Light run to the darkness? Fear. Lack of faith. No truth. There are a variety of reasons catastrophic to our soul. The Light of God’s Love will remove every shadow from our heart, mind and soul if allowed to penetrate the darkness within. Even the most broken heart can shine a radiant light to those around them. We cannot hide from God’s Love or put out His Light without risking eternity.
Ephesians 5:8-10 (MSG) You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.
When I was 14 years old, I moved from my mother’s home to live with my father and step-mother who then moved from Georgia to Florida. I moved a lot as a child. I was always the new kid attending 11 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 3 high schools in all. Yet nothing prepared me for my parent’s revelation. I had not regularly attended church up until this time. My mom informed me that I would be going to a youth retreat with the high schoolers of the church. We pulled up the church and there were three travel buses and hundreds of teenagers. I told my mom that I was not getting out of the car. Well, I did along with my suitcase. She introduced me to her close friend, Millie, who would be my Sunday School teacher and left me. I was petrified.
Our family is visiting a new church. While signing up for a class exploring membership, I noticed a brochure for a women’s retreat. Though this church is not as large as the one attended as a teen, it is still over 500 members. I could feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart. I am supposed to attend this weekend with all these ladies I do not know. Ugh! I made many friends that weekend as a teenager but things are different now. I am not stuck. I can choose to do whatever I like – because I am grown or can I? Will I obey? Stay tuned.
I believe the pathway to obscurity is not clearly marked but tiny steps of disobedience that lead us from the Light of His Love into the darkness of isolation. We can put on a pretty face and perfect outfit for the crowd but fearfully hide in pain and agony that someone might see through the facade. Religion often is a great mask to cover real people with significant problems and deep rooted pain. It is in our relationship with Jesus Christ that this is overcome. Our connection to Christ will inevitably lead to real relationships with others because we are to be the Body of Christ. It is unity that He is after because He is building a Kingdom not kingdoms. His Grace is enough for me. His Grace is manifested in my weakness including insecurities. I am not insignificant. My life matters. Christ deemed me worth dying for. I must overcome my own fear by putting faith in its place to make the connection to Christ that produces Light and live for its continuation which is spreading it all over the world. Your sphere of greatest influence is right where you are. Where you live, breathe, exist and do life. How can we be the Light of the world when we cannot even bring ourselves into the Light of His Love completely?
Philippians 2:14-16 (MSG) Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
To end obscurity one must live on purpose. Our purpose is to do the Will of God. We over complicate it to allow for excuses. It’s not that hard. “In fact, this is love for God; to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” (I John 5:3) The burdens born in life are those that are chosen. In Matthew 11, Jesus invites us to live a like yoked to Him. That means do what He does, go where He goes, and be who He called us to be. Easy right? I have been married for more than 20 years. Marriage is essentially the same concept. Two people who love each other who make the commitment to walk in unison for the rest of their natural life. Two individuals who must decide to walk together despite mind, will and emotions. It’s not easy. Have you seen the marriage statistics? You cannot have your way all the time. To walk with Jesus is more difficult in some ways because He IS the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is an act of total submission and surrender that comes at the end of self. Yet it is the most fulfilling because it always leads to a rich and satisfying life.
Sitting in church with hundreds of strangers, I feel small, insignificant and a bit obscure. When worship begins, I feel the veil of insecurity begin to fall away. I still don’t know many people in this place maybe a handful. The enemy would like me to go home and hide in my feelings. But I am beginning to see that the Light in me is made to shine wherever I am. I do not have to find a place in the crowd to feel important. I am important because God created me to bring a spectrum of light to His Kingdom that no one else can produce but me. I may not see my place in this picture right now but because I am a Child of God – I don’t have to. When the time comes, God will reveal His Purpose and Plan for me in this moment among these people. Until then, the pressure is off to make a way or even find one. All I must do is take the little steps of opportunity each day to walk in the Light of His Love. The choice must be made in each moment to obey. Simply obey. This is the road less traveled that will lead us from obscurity to purpose. All for the Glory of God!
I Thessalonians 5:4-8 (MSG) Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.