“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”
–Matthew 5:15 (NLT)
About a month ago, I tried out a new iPhone app called Path of Adventure, and I’ve become pretty addicted to it since then. It’s a classic text adventure game in which your character explores dungeons, ruins and caves. You get to collect treasures and fight monsters as you pursue your quest to find the Castle of Doom. (Is that a great fantasy name or what?”
As you navigate this game’s traps and treasures, you’ll encounter the Knight several times. He’s not what you would call competent by any means. Whenever you meet him, he’s always trapped somewhere. He may be chained to a tree, tethered to a ball and chain, shackled to a dungeon ceiling, or locked in a prison cell. Somehow he was dumb enough to get himself into a fix, so he implores you to set him free. If you do this, he’ll reward you with a valuable item which will help you on your quest.
If you happen to return to your meeting place a few adventures later, the knight will unfortunately be stuck in his self-made prison again. “You wouldn’t be so kind as to free me again, would you?” he plaintively asks.
In our own walk with Christ, most of us are very much like that Knight. Whenever we catch ourselves sinning in some way, we run to our heavenly Father and ask for His forgiveness. If we truly confess our sin, He will forgive our sins because He has everlasting love for us. But sin is like a magnet which constantly pulls us down, and if we’re honest, we tend to let history repeat itself. even if this isn’t our intention, before too long, we’re back in our sinful ways again, straying away from God’s love.
According to the Bible, we can always come back to God, and He’ll hear and forgive us once again. While this is true, we have all presumed on that forgiveness. Sometimes I wonder if He ever shakes His head and says, “There my child goes again!”
Think of a child who has his hand in the cookie jar when his mother comes in. He wails through his tears that he’s sorry, but is this true repentance, or is he only crying because he got caught? How can God have such great patience with us?
If we have become His children through faith, God’s love is unimaginable, and nothing can separate us from it. Because of that love, God’s mercies for us are new every morning, and He is ready and willing to forgive each of our sins against Him. No matter how often we mess up in life, He forgives us–that is, if we are not like the child who was caught red-handed, afraid of being caught.
So while none of us are perfect, and we’ll always have repeated run-ins with sin, we can allow Him to mold us into His image. We do this by running to Him, and asking for His help to overcome the sins which have held us down. I have heard this likened to breathing. We exhale our sins on a moment-by-moment basis, and we breathe in the new life which Christ has to give.
Our Christian lives are similar to the Path of Adventure Knight in another way. As God’s children, we have our own valuable gifts we can contribute to the world. We are like fresh fruit trees in a corrupt and dying world.
According to scripture, we are all meant to place our light on a stand in the open, instead of hiding it under a basket. In other words, we’re meant to glorify Him by showing off our talents to the world, instead of hiding them inside ourselves. God has called each of us to reveal our gifts so that other people will see Him through us.
So, if you don’t think you’re worth anything to anyone today, think again! God loves you so much, and he’s ready and willing to forgive your sins. If you don’t yet know Him, or you’ve been away from His loving arms for a long time, take comfort from His promise that He will grow closer to you if you’re willing to come to Him. Tell Him that you know you have sinned, and ask Him into your heart. Then, make it a habbit to study His Word, for that is the primary way in which He speaks to us today. You might want to start with the gospel of John, as it is easy to understand, and it contains all of God’s basic truths.
Next, pray to Him. Talk to Him as you would speak with any good friend, but don’t forget to listen as well. Then, once you’ve found your way to Him, you can know that He will never leave or forsake you. He’ll be closer to you than your own breathing.
Without God we can do nothing, but through Him we can do all things. We all have a lot to give because of what He has given us. So once we’ve been enfolded by God’s loving arms, He wants us to show the world what He can do through us. Some of us may have talents in writing or the arts. Some may be great at leading others, volunteering or serving people in other ways. Whatever your gifts may be, demonstrate them to others in your own unique way, and give all the glory to God, because the world is starving for His loving presence.
This week, I pray you’ll never forget that you are valuable to God and to others in this world. I also pray that you’ll come close to God, so that He can take you in His arms today and you can set off on your own adventurous path together.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6499. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.