Monday, June 17, 2013

Light or Dark?

Last year, we did a lengthy series that compared physical light and our relationship with God.  We’ve now rewritten it a little and converted it into an ebook pdf booklet that’s now our first free download.  The link is right there, toward the top of the right hand column, here.  It’s still titled “Afar Off” and, again, it’s a free download.

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Genesis 1:3-4 (KJV)  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
 
Light has been compared with all kinds of things.  Some of those include God’s love, God’s grace and mercy, God’s goodness, and God Himself.  Darkness has been compared to lack of intellectual thinking, a lack of proper spirituality, a contrast to all the things we mentioned for light.
  
The verses we started with are talking about creation and actual physical light and darkness.  But they could just as easily be applied to spiritual reality.  Think about what those verses actually say.  God saw that the light was good, but it doesn’t say that He determined that the darkness was bad.  In verse 5, He labeled them Day and Night, after separating them because they were different.  But God never says one is good and the other is not.

If we go to the Gospels, we see the same thing.  Jesus calls the Pharisees vipers.  He even suggests their spiritual father is the devil.  But He never says their spiritual darkness is the problem.  Because it’s not the darkness that’s the issue.  It’s the heart attitude that invites the darkness in.  It’s being against God that’s the problem.

We often talk about times being “dark” because of negative situations.  But the New Testament speaks of the second coming as arriving like a thief in the night.  The date and time are obscured like anything else in darkness.  But there’s nothing bad about the second coming.  People will be judged at the second coming, but the result is not because of the second coming.  And the result is not because of the day and hour are hidden like a thief in the night.

Consider that both our starting passage and the New Testament passages that reference spiritual darkness never say darkness, by itself, is bad.  Both places suggest that light and darkness are set apart from each other.  But that’s not a judgment against the nature of darkness.  Rather it highlights the fact that light and darkness have opposite natures and can’t coexist in the same space.

God has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  So there’s a guarantee of protection against spiritual darkness.  Which makes it nothing to fear, even though it’s also something we don’t want to go looking for. 

Probably more to the point, light dispels darkness.  When we realize that God is light (1 John 1:5), we see that spiritual darkness has to dissipate in His presence.  Which makes a number of things very easy.  Acts 3:19 says to repent and be converted.  The Greek word for “repent” means to change our mind.  The word for “convert” means to turn around.  And the verse says “be converted”, not “convert yourself”.  Which gives us a very unique and easy situation.
  1. We need to change our thinking about hanging out in spiritual darkness.
  2. Then, we need to allow God to turn us in His direction, so we’re facing the light.
  3. The light dissipates the darkness.
  4. Go back to #1, repeat the process as often as needed.
Yes, those are a repetitive four steps.  God could certainly make those changes in us instantly, but we’d probably miss out on seeing the contrast to recognize Who God is and what He’s done.  If you’ve read my other posts over the years, you understand that God will even use negative situations to bring us a specific blessing.  And we have a way, courtesy of our fallen nature, of hanging onto our favorite little hidden pockets of darkness.  God won’t violate our free will, so He lets us choose our own timetable for healing, conversion, and blessing.

We may race toward the light or we may muddle through the darkness.  But we never have to be afraid of the darkness, as long as we aim for the light.  Are we targeting the light, today?

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