The Paint Saga, Part II: Is that the color I picked?

 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 cleanses us from all sin  (1 John 1:7).

Something didn’t look right.

This year, I embarked on an extreme painting project in order to cover over nearly eight years of child debris speckled on the walls of our home with some fresh paint.

I began in the dining room.  You can read all about that color-choosing nightmare here: The Paint Saga (Or why my dining room is now chocolate).

Fresh off the eventual success of turning my dining room into a chocolate bar, I decided to paint the kitchen.  This time, though, knowing I’d probably make a disastrous color choice if left to my own devices, I enlisted help from a trusted source–namely, my mom.

I handed her a pile of about 10 green color swatches.  Showing her the color I had picked, she picked another.

The lady at the paint store oohed and aahed over the cheerful green-as-grass color mixed up in the paint can.  In fact, it inspired her to paint her bathroom in the same color.  This, I was certain, guaranteed success.  I carried the paint home confidently, tucked my toddler into bed for naptime, and began covering every wall in my kitchen with “dillweed.”

All seemed to be going well.  The paint was fresh, clean, cheerful, and on most of the walls, it was what I wanted.

But I hadn’t considered the light.  There’s something tricky about the lighting in our home, something that makes paint look one color on one wall and a totally different (neon lime green) color on another wall.

My husband arrived home to my surprise paint job and asked me if I liked it.  Did I like it?  Well, I liked it when the lights in the kitchen were off and I liked it on the walls farthest away from the window.

But right there in that one corner of the kitchen, I felt like I needed to pop on some sun glasses to combat the glare.

The problem isn’t the paint so much as the unevenness of the light on the paint.  So, I’ve spent about two weeks trying to work in the dark of the kitchen as often as possible.  With the lights off, the lime green effect is muted and hidden and I begin to think, “It’s not so bad!” Then, when I finally concede blindness and begrudgingly flick on the lights, I shield my eyes and ask, “How long can I live with this?”

Are there areas of your life where you feel pleasantly cozy in the dark, but when the lights shine in, you feel embarrassed by the glaringly obvious wrong?

Or are you astonished and bitterly hurt at times by the hidden darkness surrounding the deeds of others as you try your best to live in the light?

Scripture assures us that:

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops (Luke 12:2-3).

When I’m speechless at the machinations of others, when I’m disgusted by the secretive shams and the deeds performed in dark corners and shadowy alleyways, when there’s sneaking around and avoiding authority, I pray.

I ask God to “shine His light on all the deeds done in darkness so that nothing remains unrevealed.”

This isn’t just about justice or seeing misbehaviors punished.  It’s about redemption and repentance because until the light shines in, sin can remain untouched and happy while slinking around in the dark.

Unfortunately, it seems at times like sin gets ahead, like underhanded deeds succeed and good people trying to live in “all that is good and right and true” sometimes get trampled on as darkness flourishes. Sometimes the good guys lose and the bad guys dance in triumph.

Yet, the assurance that God’s light will reveal truth is our hope, assurance and comfort.  We can rest in that and pray for it.

If we do, though, we must be prepared for the inevitable shining of the light on our own lives.  We can’t just point accusatory fingers at others without first asking God to assess us.  In Ephesians, Paul challenged the church to:

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (Ephesians 5:8-12).

I tell my daughters all the time, “Everyone makes mistakes” and so we do.  But when we’re intent on burying the mistakes and returning to them, we’re no longer trying “to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”  We’ve become more comfortable in darkness and when we prefer shadows to sunrise, we know we’ve got a sin problem.

Oswald Chambers wrote: “The secret of all spiritual understanding is to walk in the light–not the light of our convictions, or of our theories, but the light of God” (p. 18, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount).

If we’re letting our feelings or gut or impressions or opinions guide us, we’re bound to live under an uneven light source.  But the light of God is consistent, bright, and revealing.  There’s no uncertainty or confusion with Him. Life in the light brings true freedom and joy.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Online Bible Study: Week Seven (Chapters 13 & 14)

Welcome to week seven in the study of Priscilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God.  I applaud you all for sticking with us this summer as we read through her book together.  I know you’re busy; I know you have a million other things vying for attention.  And yet, you have set aside time for this book and I am praying for God’s blessings for you as a result.

If I can give one piece of encouragement, it’s don’t give up!  Don’t leave the book half-read or this study partly done.  If you’ve fallen behind, please jump back in as you are able because I don’t want you to miss some of these great chapters at the end.  You can comment on any older post as you catch up on the reading.

My Thoughts:

“Hello. Thank you for calling heaven, where your eternal destiny is secure.  Our menu options have recently changed . Please listen closely to all of the options before making a selection.

Para Espanol, por favor pulse dos.

Please speak or press your 10-digit salvation account number.

Thank you!  Did you know that you can access God’s perspective on many things at any time from the comfort of your own home?  Your heavenly user guide or Bible is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To check your good deeds account, please press one.
To request forgiveness, please press two.
For automated guidance about your account questions, please press three.
For doctrinal information, please press four.
For help with health, finances, and relationships, please press five.
For all other prayer requests, please press six.

If this is an emergency, please hang up and call your pastor.

To repeat this menu, please press zero.  If you would like to speak to a customer representative, please press nine now.

All of our customer representatives are currently busy.  Due to abnormally large call volume, your wait may be delayed.  Please hang on the line and we’ll be with you shortly.

Elevator music.  Cheerful ads.  More music to which you drum your fingers.  The doodles on your paper have now progressed from swirls and cubes to intricate designs and flowers.

We’re sorry.  All of our customer representatives are currently busy.  Please hang on the line and we’ll be with you shortly.”

I’ve been on hold with companies a lot lately and the routine is the same with each call.  Press buttons.  Answer questions.  Listen to annoying music and assurances that they will be with you as quickly as possible.

Priscilla Shirer writes this week that God’s “entire goal, since the beginning of time, is to have a personal, intimate, loving fellowship between the two of you.”  That means that He longs for us to commune with Him all the time about everything we’re facing and He responds to us both by listening and answering with love and grace.

He isn’t putting us on hold.  He isn’t creating go-betweens to filter out calls until we really prove we need to talk to the Supervisor on Duty.  He wants to spend time in relationship with us both in the times that we experience joy and the moments we feel pain and He’s always listening as we cry out to Him.

All that we experience is subject for prayer.  In her study on Daniel, Beth Moore notes that Paul encourages us to pray and give thanks “in every situation” (Philippians 4:6).  We’re compartmentalizers some times.  We think, this I can handle, but this I can’t so I’ll pray about it  This I can think through, but this I’m lost on so I’ll pray about it.  This is too small to pray about, but this is big enough to mention in the Sunday School prayer time. This the doctor will answer, but this I’m going to have to leave to God.

There’s not some stuff that fits into a God category and other stuff that doesn’t.  In the sorting bins of our needs, emotions, and thoughts, there’s just one basket and it’s got a big fat label on it marked “God’s.”  Praise God that He is responsive, loving, gracious, and accessible.

Chapter Outlines:

Chapter 13: A Fatherly Voice

  • God has a personal message for us and we cannot assume that He has the same plan for others that He has for us.  Obviously, on basic doctrinal issues, on the matters of sin that His Word clearly addresses, the standard is consistent.  But, on questions of personal choices–who to marry, where to work, whether to work or stay home, and more, we must remember that we “run the risk of becoming legalistic and placing other believers in bondage” if we believe what God has told us applies to everyone (p. 153).
  • God’s voice may be convicting, but it is not condemning.  He doesn’t harp on your sins of the past.  “He desires to bring healing and restoration by forgiving my sin and throwing it into the sea of forgetfulness” (p. 155).

Chapter 14: A Challenging Voice

  • God isn’t always talking about how to make us feel comfortable.  In fact, He’s pretty frequently asking us to step out of comfort and into faith.
  • The quote from Oswald Chambers on p. 163 is pretty challenging: “Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult for you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all.”
  • We may feel ill-equipped for the task God has called us to, but “it is through your inability that He reveals His power” (p. 164).

Your Thoughts:

  • What were your favorite, quotes, passages or Scriptures from these two chapters?
  • Have you ever made a choice that you knew was God’s will for you, but also knew it wasn’t God’s will for everyone?
  • Do you ever struggle with feelings of condemnation versus conviction?  Is it easy for you to accept Christ’s forgiveness and move on or are you sometimes trapped by guilt?
  • When has God called you out of comfortable and into faith?  What has God taught you in those situations where He asked you to do something that was beyond your natural ability, experience, training, gifting, etc.?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.