That’s quite an idea. What’s your first response what you hear that God’s light is seeking to expose everything within you? Does that intimidate you? Scare you a little maybe? Does it encourage you? Does it make you want to draw closer to him? Or draw away from him?
This passage from John is releasing about the nature of God’s light and how people respond to it.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
God’s light is simply his presence that reveals truth. What’s interesting about the context of the condemnation that unbelievers experience is that they’re afraid they’ll be exposed. It’s not necessarily for fear of their evil deeds being exposed but what’s in them that is the root of the evil deeds.
God Is Pursuing Everyone
Some folks say that God is only calling a few select folks to be saved. The truth is, God is calling to everyone, offering everyone the opportunity to repent and believe in the authority of Christ. John tells us the reason some folks stay away from God is that they’re afraid their darkness will be exposed.
If they knew that God’s light would actually save them and deliver them from their darkness they would no longer resist his light, but the world largely still doesn’t understand God’s heart of love toward them. Toxic religion has told the world that God is holding your sins against you and is seeking to judge you. The truth is, God judged Christ for all mankind and is now pursuing everyone, to draw them into his cleansing and healing light.
Toxic Religion tells the world that God is too holy to be near your darkness so he separates himself from you until you admit you’re a sinner and ask him to forgive you. The truth is this, God has forgiven you in Christ and is seeking to invade your heart and the deepest parts of your soul with his light to deliver you from darkness, whatever that darkness may be.
If folks knew that God would gently, kindly and mercifully remove their darkness and nurture his own light within them, they would be more receptive. That’s our role, the role of the body of Christ, tell them of God’s kindheartedness toward them and create an environment in which their hearts will be receptive to his light, life, and truth.
God Is Not Threatening You with His Light
God is not threatening you with his light. The context of the condemnation unbelievers face is their unbelief, not their evil deeds. Evil deeds are the result of the unbelief. God will not condemn unbelievers for their evil deeds but for their unbelief.
So if he’s not condemning unbelievers because of their evil deeds, he’s certainly not condemning believers for their evil deeds. Yet toxic religion tells believers otherwise.
If you hear the phrase, God’s light is going to expose everything within you, and fear or shame rises up, that’s from you, not God. God wants to help deliver you from that guilt and shame. He wants to help you remove the issues that are still allowing darkness to live within you. By darkness, I mean anything ungodly, whether that be an emotion, an action, a sin or simply an irrational fear.
Toxic Religion tells believers that God may judge and eventually condemn you for too much sin. This in no way condones sin in any form of frequency, it simply contextualizes God’s treatment of people properly, by their faith.
God Offers Rest, Not Threats
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Toxic religion burns you out, it causes you to always feel incomplete like you’ll never be enough. The truth is you are complete in Christ, you are fully accepted in Christ already!!
Jesus beautifully articulates God’s heart toward you in these passages. Jesus assures you that he’s not seeking to condemn you, he’s offering rest and guidance. Toxic religion says that God is allowing your life to be difficult for some grand plan. Jesus says life with him is easy and light.
My prayer for you is that you learn to get away with Jesus and allow him to refresh you. You can do so because he’s not going to condemn you, you can open your heart and be vulnerable to him. You can expose every aspect of your heart and soul to him. You can admit your faults without fear of retribution. You can trust God with your heart!
Trusting God with your heart means being honest with him. Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden because they were afraid of his judgment. Unbelievers are staying away from God for fear that their darkness will be exposed. It’s time for you to stop hiding from God and drawing away in fear. There’s nothing to be afraid of. God is kind and merciful, he’s eagerly waiting to extend mercy and empower you with his grace.
Be honest with him, tell him everything, he already knows anyway, what you’ll really be doing is finally becoming honest with yourself.
This doesn’t mean that you degrade yourself and try to tell God how dark you are, it means that you are willing to allow him to love you in the midst of your struggles. When you get honest with God and yourself, you are in a position to heal.
How to Let the Light In
Allowing God’s light to touch the deepest parts of your soul can be scary. Maybe you’re not even sure how to do it. Here’s one way to expose your heart to God and allow him to heal those broken pieces…
When you’re falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning, your brain works a little slower, you’re in the alpha state, which is the frequency of brain function.
In this state, you’re more aware of what’s in your subconscious and your heart. Think about it, what does falling asleep look like to you? Do you peacefully relax and drift off? Or do you have to create distractions, like the tv, your phone or something else?
Why do you need distractions? Because the thoughts that come into your mind otherwise are too difficult to face at times. Do you feel like your mind races when trying to fall asleep? It’s time to pick a lane and deal with each issue, one at a time.
You know what I’m talking about, those things that you don’t want to deal with or think about because they’re too overwhelming, painful, confusing or heavy in some way. In the very moment that you’re avoiding those thoughts can be the same moment, you find your greatest deliverance.
Assure yourself that God is not going to condemn you, he’s not going to draw away, you can let his light in and lift the burden. In those moments your inner man serves up to you those things you’ve stuffed down, let them bubble up and give them to God one at a time.
Admit and own each one of them. Admit that it’s an issue. Tell yourself the truth. Then ask God to help you move past the burden, whatever that looks like. If a passage comes to mind, allow it to replace the fear. If a promise comes to mind, stand on it and let the heaviness drift away.
In this powerful time of mind-renewal, you can experience profound transformation. Let his light in, be honest with yourself, and watch Jesus show you how to take a real rest!!