Darkness can be a deceptive thing. You may be out walking, or busy with some important task, and suddenly you look around to find darkness is descending on you much faster than you had expected.
Spiritual darkness has the same quality. While we’re distracted elsewhere, it creeps up on us, subtly invading every aspect of our lives and affecting the way we view things. Surrounded by shades of grey, we can begin to question truth we formerly saw so clearly, as if someone has turned a dimmer switch. In fact no-one has suddenly turned the dimmer switch. The darkness has been creeping, stealthily, over many years and many seasons, while we have unsuspectingly been busying ourselves in the light.
Have you noticed the darkness rising in the world? It hasn’t happened suddenly. Spiritual darkness is simply reaching the designated hour of its greatest power. As in the natural, that hour is limited by God’s decree and its purpose is only that the coming light may be more greatly glorified for the true Light that it is.
Christ entered a world of gross darkness. His very Life became the light of humanity. Those who do not have that Christ-life within, though they do not know it, choke out their natural lives in thick, enveloping spiritual darkness that leads to eternal death. However, those who through the Spirit of God embrace the Life of Christ, have left the darkness behind and are already living in eternal light and life through Him.
The New Testament predominantly uses two different Greek words for “life”. One is ‘psuche’ which describes the natural life manifested in our human bodies from birth to death. It means a living being, a living soul. The other Greek word for “life’ is ‘zoe’, which means supernatural life in absolute fullness, abundance, and vitality. It means the life essence of God. It is this ‘zoe’ life, the life of God in Christ, that is the light of mankind.
When Jesus spoke of life He used both these words on different occasions.
For instance, He cautioned His followers not to be concerned about natural life because there are more important things to concern us:
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your (psuche) life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not (psuche) life more than food and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25
But when referring to eternal life, Jesus used the word ‘zoe’. He said things like: “I have come that they may have (zoe) life” and “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of (zoe) life.” John 10:10, John 8:12
The fiercest battle in this world at the present hour is not in the Middle East, Afghanistan or Africa. It is between the opposing forces of eternal (zoe) life and eternal death. The “zoe” life of Christ manifests in this world as light in His followers, who the scriptures call ‘the saints in the light’ (Col. 1:12). There is no other light in this world but the eternal life of Christ in His followers. Everything else that calls itself light is actually darkness.
We as the Bride of Christ need to take on board the fact that we who are alive in Christ are now the light of this world and it’s only light (Matt. 5:14). We are partakers of the ‘zoe’ Life of Christ. Refusing to soberly acknowledge this truth about ourselves will lead us to one of two futile mindsets:
a) becoming so focused on the darkness we allow ourselves to be overcome by it;
b) ignoring the darkness and retreating, thereby having no impact on the darkness whatsoever.
Let’s take a look at the first one of these two reactions. As disciples of Christ we are commissioned to watch and pray. This is the role of a watchman. Effective watchmen see what is happening around them but are not overcome by what they see. Their job is to perceive and interpret. Though their eyes watch, their hearts do not enter the darkness. They belong to the one for whom they watch.
It is a deception to become so focused on the dark state of the world that it becomes our major source of thought or conversation. The darkness never overcame Christ; He instead overcame the darkness because the Life in Him is true light. As His watchmen, it is our responsibility to be aware of the rising darkness, while our focus remains on Christ our Light.
Moving on, let’s consider the other common reaction. We surround ourselves with all we need in terms of comfort, self-indulgence and distraction to block out the rising darkness as if it isn’t happening. We who are called saints in the light remove ourselves to our comfortable caves and take pride in our own little light and that of our friends, ignoring the darkness outside. We are effectively sleeping with the light on.
Neither of these attitudes glorifies the Bridegroom or manifests the Father’s love to the world. Our calling is neither to surrender nor to sleep. Our calling is to shine!
That does not necessarily mean we start picketing for every righteous cause that comes along, or take up writing to the newspapers about the sinful state of the world. If we really want to change the world the most effective thing we can do is shine. And if we really want to shine the most effective thing we can do is live Christ: feed on Him, drink Him, commune with Him, partake of Him, give Him the pre-eminent place in our lives, that His light will not be hindered.
In Him was life and that life is the light of humanity. Think about it. The light that is life, the only light that is not overcome by darkness, is borne in this world by we who follow Christ.
Don’t try to work out how, don’t formulate a five point plan, and don’t take up a ministry degree (unless He has clearly told you to do so).
Shine. Just shine. It’s not about what we do. It’s about who we are.
Related Article: The Light Keepers