by Barbara BeasleyPsalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 Isaiah 1: 10-20 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10 Luke 20:1-8
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:16-17)
If we take these words from Isaiah seriously and personally, they can seem overwhelming. How can one person correct oppression, seek and bring justice, and plead the widow’s cause? Isn’t that what lawyers and the justice system are for? Advent is a time of preparation, preparing our hearts for the coming of the Lord, self-examination, making ourselves clean.
The works God calls us to do are not for those other people; he’s speaking to each one of us, calling us to get busy, to be about our Father’s business. But, here’s where we have to guard against a works-righteousness mentality. Our works don’t lead us to salvation; rather, our salvation leads us to good works. Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:28-29). When we open our hearts to Emmanuel, to Love Incarnate, we begin to know and live into and out of the power of Love–the Light of the world. We walk in the light of the Lord even and especially into the darkest places where pain, suffering, injustice, and oppression live and thrive. We bring the healing, forgiving, restoring power of God’s love to those who are crying out to be saved, to be rescued from their circumstances.
Jesus is coming, and has come, that we may have life and have it abundantly. In and through the power of the Holy Spirit, that abundant life comes to us and is cast abroad through us as we abide in Christ, as we rest in him and in the power of his love. The works we do are an outpouring of a thankful heart–a heart that knows what it’s like to be freed from its own oppression, sin, abandonment. The love of Jesus that set us free guides and leads us to those who are in need of a Savior, in need of the One who has come into the world to defeat the works of the devil, to set the captives free, to restore what the enemy has stolen, killed or destroyed, to breathe new life into dead and dying spirits, to bring joy where there has been great sadness or heaviness.
Come let us walk in the light of the Lord (Isaiah. 2:5). Let us walk in the power of God’s love. For he satisfies the longing soul and the hungry soul he fills with good things (Psalm 107:9).