It is said you can’t come close to God and not be changed. The way I look at it is like radiation heat transfer in Physics. As an object gets closer to a heat source it’ll absorb more heat. As we try to climb the mountain of the Lord(Psalm 24) we will get closer to His glory, and we’ll absorb more of it.
In radiation, good absorbers also make good emitters. So as we climb the mountain of the Lord and seek God’s face we will emit more of His glory into this dark world we live in. But there is always the danger of reflection – that we pour so much out, but don’t keep anything for ourselves.
If we reflect God’s glory into the world we won’t grow spiritually, as it is only by absorbing His glory that we can grow. It is by absorbing God’s glory that we get the strength we need to climb the mountain of the Lord. We need to absorb His glory, let it nurture the ‘spiritual shoot’ in our hearts, and then let it into the world. If we simply reflect it our spiritual ‘shoot’ gets neglected. If we aren’t absorbing His glory we will either halt where we are, or start to slide down. Life is short, and the mountain tall. We do not have time to climb parts of it twice. If we want to ascend it we need to absorb God’s glory and emit it, rather than simply reflect it.
So how do you tell if you are emitting or reflecting? Ultimately only you will know. On the outside they can appear similar – absorbers and reflectors will do the same good deeds, however inside the motives will be different. Reflectors will be doing them because they feel they have to be good to get to heaven. However this is a form of idolatry, as you make yourself your salvation. No-one can get to heaven by good deeds alone. Emitters do good deeds because it gives them a chance to show God’s love to the world. They will not be looking to see what they can get out of it.
If you want to absorb more of God you need to spend more time speaking to Him. Prayer is so vital to us, yet so often it gets neglected. If you want to get to know someone at school or at work better you spend time speaking to them. If you want to climb the mountain of the Lord and seek His face, you need to spend time praying to Him. The power of prayer is often underestimated, and it can often by used as a last resort when thinks are going badly. However if we are to grow we need to use prayer as more than an emergency distress call. We need to share everything with God; no matter how trivial it seems to us, for if we are worrying about material matters we can not be fully focused on Him. Philippians 4v6 says ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’ (NIV). When we share everything with God we will be able to fully focus on His glory, absorb it into our heart, and emit it out into the world. If we are not spending time praying we will not top up what we are emitting in the world and we will end up draining our reserves of spiritual energy, and won’t have the strength to climb the mountain of the Lord. After a period of not praying you won’t have anything left to emit, and you will either stop showing God’s love to the world, or will only reflect it, and will not be growing yourself.
Delirious have a song that goes “Now is the time for us to shine, shine with the face of Christ divine’. We only get one shot at life – we can’t afford to waste it. We know the awesome truth that is the Gospel, but thousands of others in Northern Ireland, millions in the UK, billions in the world don’t. It is up to us to change that. James 5v20 says ‘’Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins’ (NIV). We have a huge responsibility to spread the Good News to save others from the pits of Hell. How terrible would it be to get to the throne of God and have nothing to say when asked “What did you do with my Word? What did you do to reach out to the lost?” We must ensure we don’t waste our lives.
I believe the best way for us to reach out to the lost in our country is through our actions, by being walking adverts for God. I say this because through school assemblies and street evangelists most of them already know the message of the Gospel, just not how much they need Jesus. We need to show them that for us ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1v21).
This means not caring what others think of us, as only what Jesus thinks is important at the end of the day. It means dying to self, to materialistic desires, and letting Jesus live through us.
To let Jesus live through us we have to offer up our whole lives to Him – not just when it’s easy at SU or Church or when it suits us, but 24/7 365. This means when we know people will persecute us. When we know it involves sacrifice. When the going’s tough. But it means that people will see just how much Christ means to us that we don’t care what they think of us, we only care about pleasing Him.
So what can we do to please Him? In Matthew 25 Jesus says “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’ (v40). In Isaiah 58 God tells us ‘to loose the chains of injustice’, ‘to share your food with the hungry’, ‘to provide the poor wander with shelter’ and ‘to clothe [the naked]’. He says that when we do that ‘Then your light will break forth like the dawn.’
The implication of these verses is that when we carry out good deeds to those in need the glory of God will be emitted into the world though us, and we will be doing them for Christ himself. As good emitters make good absorbers by emitting God’s glory into the world will also absorb more of it as we become more Christ-like in our actions, and we will be able to ascend the hill of the Lord.
This can be the generation that seeks God’s face. But it’ll only happen if we are willing to shine with His glory, and to make NOW the time. We don’t know how long we have left to live. We have to reach out now; we can’t afford to put it off, otherwise we run the risk of wasting the potential He has given us. Don’t risk wasting your life.
If we want to be the generation that seeks God’s face we need to start making more out of what He has given us. Life is short – we do not know how long we have left, and so we cannot afford to put things off.
If we want to reach out to people we have to be unashamed of the Gospel. We have to be willing to face ridicule to tell them the Good News. And we need to get out there and start evangelizing to them. Meetings are important, but what we do outside of those meeting is even more important, as it is not in the meetings, but outside of them that we will reach out to the lost in our generation. We need to follow the advice in the Delirious song Did you feel the mountains tremble?
‘Open up the doors and let the music play, let the streets resound with singing’ If we want the world to see God we need to keep the “music” playing when we leave the meetings. We can’t be one person at church, and another outside. We have to be God centred all the time. We also need to be doing things for the right reason – emitting God’s glory rather than reflecting it.
The streets will only resound with singing if we open the doors in our life. We can’t keep Jesus hidden, locked deep in our hearts until we are in the safety of church, youth group, Summer Madness etc. We need to keep the doors open all the time if we want the streets to resound.
So what should we sing? Delirious tells us ‘Songs that bring your hope, songs that bring your joy.’ As our hope and joy should be in God that means we need to be constantly telling people about Him, about what He has done for us, particularly at Christmas, and how they can be with Him forever.
However making the most of now isn’t just about singing, it’s about living a life of worship. This means using all your talents for God’s glory, whatever they are. God has given all of us masses of potential – who are we to waste what he has given us? If you have a talent for singing by then sing, if you have a talent for speaking, use it to tell of His glory, if you are creatively gifted make things that honour Him, if you are good at encouraging people, go out and support people. Whatever your talents are, use them for God’s glory. If you have a talent and are using it for God’s glory then you are “singing” ‘songs that bring your hope…(and) your joy’.
An important point is that while you may not see the potential to use your talents for God’s glory, they are there. Most of us will probably end up working in a secular occupation. Our talents will then be used for God’s glory by staying strong in our faith and reaching out to non-Christians co-workers.
One final point from ‘did you feel the mountains tremble’ on how we can make the most of now. After talking about the songs we need to sing it mentions ‘dancers who dance upon injustice’. Usually dancing and music go together – where there is one there is the other. Therefore while we are “singing” of God’s glory there is a dance we need to do along with it – a dance upon injustice. This ties in with what I mentionned about Isaiah 58 telling us ‘to loose the chains of injustice’, ‘to share your food with the hungry’, ‘to provide the poor wander with shelter’ and ‘to clothe [the naked]’.
There is so much injustice in the world at the moment, and we are the ones who can change it. We can be the generation that works to find a solution for poverty, that sees how ludicrous it is that in a world of excess people are dying of want, that works to combat the spread of HIV, that tackles the problems of drug abuse, that fights the constant lowering of standards in the media, that brings God’s glory. It won’t be easy, it won’t be simple, but if we are to climb the mountain of the Lord it is what we need to do, and we need to start NOW. We can’t put it off ’til we’ve finished school, got through university or got a job. We don’t now what will happen to us before then, or if Jesus will return before then. We need to make the most of now to emit God’s glory to ensure we don’t waste our lives.