Have you ever been afraid at night? Think back to when you were a kid in your room, and the lights turned off. As you looked around the room while your eyes were adjusting, your brain made up some scary figures and imagined crazy things. That’s usually when fear enters and people get scared. That’s also when you yell for your parents to come back to turn on a light. There’s something comforting about having light when you’re scared. It helps you feel at peace, it illuminates those shadowy figures and let’s you rest. The problem sometimes is that fear often paralyzes and keeps us from turning on the light or asking for it.
In 2 Samuel 11, David was walking on his rooftop when he saw a beautiful woman taking a bath. He summonsed her to his castle and slept with her. When she sent word that she got pregnant, fear came in and he tried to cover it up. He brought her husband back from war, but he refused to go home to be with his wife. Fear then escalated David’s behavior to the point he had her husband killed at war so he could marry her. It was then that the prophet Nathan came to bring to light what David had done. He repented and wrote Psalm 51 in the process.
John 1:4-5 says, “The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out” (GNT). When we sin, fear wants to push us away from God and His Word, but that’s exactly what we need. He is the Light that shines in the darkest corners of our lives. His light drives out fear, brings peace and illuminates things that need to go. Fear tells you that you need to keep those things in the dark, but fear also complicates our lives like it did for David. If that fear has been controlling you, call out to your Heavenly Father to come turn on the light through His Word and find forgiveness and rest for your soul.
Several years ago my wife and I felt like God asked us to make a change. The problem was we liked where we were. It was comfortable and we didn’t want to make this change. God let us know again that we needed to make the change. We explained to God that we didn’t want to, hoping He would understand. He didn’t. Life began to be uncomfortable. We became more miserable the longer we held out. Finally we agreed, but we wanted it to be on our terms. We made the change even though we were unhappy about it. It took months for us to figure out God was trying to bless us, but our comfort and stubbornness were standing in the way.
2 Samuel 11:1 says, “In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites…However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem” (NLT). The next verse says David was so comfortable there that he took a nap. He was supposed to leave Jerusalem and go to war, but he put his comfort ahead of his calling. After he took his nap, he stepped out onto his balcony and saw Bathsheba taking a bath. Because he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, he committed adultery with her. Then when she got pregnant, and her husband wouldn’t sleep with her when he was called home from the war, David had him killed. He faced severe consequences for his disobedience that started on the balcony of comfort.
In Luke 24:49, Jesus told about 500 people to go to Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Acts tells us about 120 of them went to the Upper Room and waited. Then after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, Acts 2 says that Peter and the disciples went outside on the balcony to address the crowd. About 3,000 we’re saved that day because they had obeyed what Jesus had spoken to them. This balcony reminds me of the blessings of obedience. Jeremiah 7:23 says, “Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!” Your obedience is more important than your comfort. The balcony of obedience leads to God’s promises.
Have you ever got a stain in your clothes? Did you try to get it out immediately or let it sit until you washed it? I’ve done both. I’ve also sat at the washing machine with it trying every combination known to man to trust it so it would come out. There have been stains that no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get them out. I finally have to give up, throw it in the washer and hope it comes out. Doing that is often how we approach sin in our lives. We see the stain and try everything to remove the consequences it leaves on our lives. They’re like stains that everyone can see. No matter what you or I do though, we can’t remove the guilt from it. Only God has that ability.
In 2 Samuel 11, it says that the annual time for kings to go to war had come around. Instead of going with the army, King David stayed home. He sent someone else to fight his battles. While he was home, he saw a beautiful woman and sent for her knowing she was married. She became pregnant after their encounter. David tried every combination known to man to remove the stain, but nothing worked. He then had her husband murdered to try to cover it up. God wasn’t pleased and sent the prophet Nathan to call him out and to bring judgement. Immediately 2 Samuel 12:13-14 says, “Then David confessed to Nathan, ‘I’ve sinned against God.’ Nathan pronounced, ‘Yes, but that’s not the last word. God forgives your sin’” (MSG). Nathan continued to tell him he would still face consequences.
In his repentance, David wrote Psalm 51. In verses 1-3 he prayed, “Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.” Confession and repentance are the keys to removing the stains sin leaves behind. Forgiveness is admitting you’ve done wrong and repentance is changing your way in order to not do it again. While God doesn’t always remove the consequences of our actions, He does forgive them. No matter how stained your life is, it’ll wash clean with God’s forgiveness. Quit trying to remove the guilt and stains yourself. Give your dirty laundry to God.
How long has it been since you looked at the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5? To me, they’re a measuring stick of where I am in my growth. I have to ask myself, “Is my life producing these fruits?” Paul told us that a life controlled by God’s Spirit would produce those fruits. If I’m not producing them, then I’m not being controlled by God. In that same chapter, he also described the fruits of the flesh. These describe what a life that is not controlled by the Spirit looks like. It’s important to look in the mirror often to see what your spiritual life looks like.
Each morning as I get ready for the day, I stop and look in the mirror to fix my hair and to make sure I look presentable before going out in public. The same thing should happen for us as believers. We should look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word to see what we look like. If we don’t like what we see, we need to make adjustments just like we would to our physical appearance. If you had bags under your eyes you could either cover them with make up (this doesn’t solve the problem) or get more rest.
Too many times when we look in our spiritual mirror and see something that doesn’t look right in our lives, we try to cover it up. We want to appear to others as having it together when really the problem is one of the heart. David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. He didn’t want others to know he had committed adultery, so he brought her husband home from the war. When he wouldn’t sleep with his wife, David sent him back to be killed so he could marry her and make it look like they got pregnant on their wedding night. He went to a lot of trouble trying to cover up the physical actions of a spiritual problem.
David had quit being led by the Spirit and was being led by his fleshly desires. He reaped the fruit of that choice. Since he wouldn’t look I hope a spiritual mirror, the prophet of God came and held it up. When he did, David recognized the spiritual problem. Instead of continuing to try to cover it, he dealt with the spiritual problem. In Psalm 51:10 he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. (NLT)” He realized he needed s change of heart to change his ways.
We are not so different from David. We have fruit we are not proud of and we try to cover it up. You may not have a prophet come knock on your door to call you out like he did, but the problem still has to be dealt with. If you look at the fruit in your life and know you need to change, don’t try to cover the problem up. Deal with it at the source. Pray like David did that God would give you a clean heart, that He would put a right spirit in you and that you would live a life that is led by His Spirit. When you do that, you will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.