So I once told my son whom I was mentoring, “If you want to be an overcomer, call me right when something happens that you are not proud of, and even better, when you are being tempted. When I hear fourteen hours later, the shame has taken hold of your soul. You need to hear the word of forgiveness soon and then make a fresh commitment not to do it again. That’s called ‘walking in the light.’ Darkness is damaging. Light is aggressive; it destroys darkness.”

If Satan can get us to step into the dark, he tries to keep us there so he can beat us up for a while. He rules over “this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). There is not a shred of light in him, so everything he says is a lie. If we get back into the light, we find out what freedom is. As light and truth go together, darkness and lies stick together. Stay in the darkness, and you will be bombarded with lies:

“You are stupid for doing that. You are a miserable Christian.”

“You’ll never get victory over this sin, because you are a wimp.”

“Don’t even try to walk in the light, because they will be ashamed of you.”

“They don’t want to know anyway, because they are almost as bad a sinner as you are.”

“Sin isn’t that harmful. You can get forgiveness and forget about it.”

The Liar says that if we come into the light, we will get shame. Wrong! The shame is lifted and the blood is applied–immediately: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

I was traveling through Eastern Europe after a year of study in Israel. I came across a team from Operation Mobilization and decided to join them. The leader asked, “Do you want to walk in the light together?” I said, “Yes,” not knowing what he meant. So he said, “I want to be accountable to someone for the way I live. I don’t want any secrets. If I start flirting, you will know about it. If I give in to temptation, I will let you know.” Sounded good to me. I responded, “And I’ll do the same.”

Satan is incapable of living in the light. We managed to keep our word to one another on that trip, and I learned an important truth that has stayed with me since that experience as a twenty-five year-old. An accountability partner is not the police. Just the opposite. We need a friend to lift shame and invite us to receive the grace of forgiveness when we have stepped over the line. The quicker that action is taken the less likely we will wallow in the darkness, beat ourselves up, and get pummeled by an unmerciful devil. We sometimes feel like we need to stay there and punish ourselves for a while. Wrong! Jesus paid the price. Ours is to apply the blood and go free. I’ve had a close friend and an older mentor for decades to help me walk in the light. Give it a try!


Ladies, if we men can be a bride for Christ, then you get to be sons of the Father. Home is meant to be the closest thing on earth to heaven. For many, it is closer to hell. Even with good families, we can be left with love deficits and the feeling that we are not truly valued. Many carry these thoughts throughout their life. If we want to understand God’s Father love, we need to grasp sonship. Stick with me!

Paul writes to the Romans, showing the difference between living by the law and living by faith through the work of the Spirit. He uses the word “law” twenty-three times in Romans 7, showing the futility of a “we try harder” mentality. We can’t pull of the holiness thing by resolve. It brings a strong inner tension. How can I win over sin? Chapter 7 ends with Paul feeling enslaved.

Chapter 8 breaks out with a different reality: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” How? The Spirit is mentioned 22 times, demonstrating God’s answer to human effort. He writes that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (“adoption”). And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The  Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings, in order that we may also share in his glory” (8:13-17).



It is received, not achieved. Paul had done well by human standards, but it was all effort. Then he traded the merit system for the mercy system. He got to shed his performance mentality by going low and received status as a son by faith in Jesus Christ.


The Father leads His kids step by step into their appointed destiny. We don’t have to make it up as we go. We are guided. Call it the GPS of the Spirit. And it works. Sons prove their relationship with the Father by the Spirit’s guidance (13). The inner compass is a Person.


They have a family–for ever. Sin left us feeling guilt, shame, and condemnation. We wondered if the cycle could change. It did. We are forgiven, cherished, valued, and appointed to represent a good, good Father.


We discover that we belong. We’re on the inside, not the outside. Slaves have a boss, not a father. They are unsure about their future. Sons have an inheritance, because the Firstborn shares His with us. We are called co-heirs. Glorious future. John Wesley described his conversion as exchanging “the faith of a servant for the faith of a son” (quoted in F. F. Bruce’s Commentary on Romans, p. 167). We learn to say, “Abba” and receive His love!


Present hardship only reminds us of what is to come. Short-term pain will be translated into long-term gain. I get it!