READ: Proverbs 20, Luke 8, Jude
IN THE LIGHT
Our bondages cease to awe us after a while and begin to comfort us. We prefer our pigs and are afraid to be free (Luke 8:26-39). When sin settles in it becomes bondage, and to the bound deliverance is more intimidating than slavery. Slavery is predictable and in that twisted way, assuring. Deliverance, while liberating, casts us into uncharted territory. It is often more convenient to live bound–you don’t have to labor, think, risk, or care–than it is to live free. Those that seem to be free often have secret bondages–their apparent liberty but a façade for their addictions. Licentiousness is but the highest form of bondage. To those secretly bound Jesus issues a warning: “Nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (v. 17).
Jesus does not allow vice and sin to remain hidden, especially in His servants. Because Jesus is light and truth, because Jesus is forming us into His image, anything that is not light or truth within us must be exposed and dealt with. The devil deceives God’s ministers by insinuating we are too important to be disciplined, that the ministry is too vital for God to remove us. God steadily insists that His nature is too holy to allow us to continue to represent Him when we are bound and dark within. Jesus guarantees that all secrets will be known, then immediately says something intriguing: “Therefore, take heed how you hear” (v. 18)! Biblically, hearing is conjoined to obedience, thus Jesus is really saying: Your obedience is going to be examined. Why and how you obey is going to be brought into the light. Your motives are going to be exposed; your fruit is going to be examined; your works are going to be manifest; and all will see what is real and what is false. Jesus goes on to say, “whoever hears [obeys], to him more will be given.” This really is revolutionary. Jesus is saying that our obedience is going to be examined (motive, impact, effect, intensity, alacrity, etc.). Those that have obeyed well will be given more to obey. Those who have not obeyed well will not be given further assignments.
Our ongoing use in the kingdom is dependent on the quality of our obedience. God is a fair but tough employer who holds us accountable. God examines our obedience and determines future assignments according to past compliance. We cannot expect to be given further and greater responsibilities in the kingdom if our past assignments do not pass muster when held up before the searching light of God. It is demanding to work for Jesus. Jesus is relentless in His requirements of obedience and quality of service. Our bondages are not an excuse He entertains. Jesus exposes our bondages and weakness that we might be free of them and equipped to do the challenging work of freely obeying.