Isaiah 60:1-3 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
What a great passage! What a great promise! That’s God’s promise to us each and every day. I remember the voice of my mother every morning all through my childhood, “Rise and shine …!” Well this passage is God’s call to each of us every new day and depending on where we are in our journey on any given day, “Rise and shine ..” can mean a lot of things.
It’s time to step out. To come out of hiding. To let your true colours shine. To be who God made you to be. It’s time to be fearless. To be courageous. To be passionate. It’s time to take a risk – to move from your calm safe grounds to unsteady risky rocky terrain. Terrain where you feel vulnerable – where you know, by yourself, can’t stand on your own. Why? Because too much is on the line not to – and the idea of not taking that adventurous step means living in mediocrity. It’s so worth it.
I have known many people over the years who have spent a good amount of time in hiding. Sure, they went to church, they were in small groups, they had Christian friends, but they stayed on safe ground. Ground where no one really questioned them. Ground where they drove in a perfect straight line, rarely branching off the beaten path. Such people kept on this straight and narrow for fear of getting hurt. When a conversation veered into sticky areas or when they felt too vulnerable, the warning light would go off in their mind:
“ … do not venture there, you may get someone upset. Don’t speak too passionately; you don’t want to be “that” person. Don’t seem too knowledgeable, others will feel less than. Don’t bring up topics that could make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t run the risk of angering that person, it’s better to just let them continue feeling miserable as they go the wrong way. Hide who you are because you don’t want to be judged, hurt or rejected.”
I have also known many people who found a way to ‘rise and shine’ and come out of hiding. They came to realize something life changing. In their attempt to set others free of their bad feelings, they only succeeded in trapping themselves. They locked away the unique person God created them to be. When you in that closet, you miss the opportunity to love deeply; you miss the opportunity to speak the absolute truth in love; you miss the opportunity to walk in faith, rather than fear; you miss the opportunity to rely on Christ when others may feel irritated at you; you miss the chance to encourage others because you are too worried about preserving yourself.
In Jesus’ name listen: you only have one life; one chance to pour out love; one chance to give all you have – to be all in, no holds barred; to share grace; to encourage in truth; to live without fear; to give with faith; to help those in need. This is your chance. Life is not a dress rehearsal – this is it.
Are you sick of living trapped, beholden to this world? At the end of the day, when all is said and done, you will never, ever regret living all out – full of love – for God. You won’t do this perfectly, by any means, but that is the point. That is why we need Christ, and when we rely on Him, we find peace – we find safety, despite the unsafe rocky terrain beneath our feet. I hope to stand in front of God with full confidence that I shared His love, peace, and joy with all of my heart to people who hurt so deeply. I want to stand knowing that I spoke His wisdom – according to His timing – no matter what the risk. This authentic living is adventurous living. We can’t do it on your own. But, as we rely on Him, we will find we are truly free.
Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…”
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
God’s truth is what heals us. If it was hidden, we never would be touched. We never would grow. So why do we think we need to hide truth? Rather than hide, we need to lay down our pride. It is not about us or preserving our image – it is about people who are hurting and need to hear truth spoken in love. When we are who God created us to be, we finally find true freedom.
John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”