When you walk into a dark room with a flashlight in your hand, what happens? Would you say, (A) that the light is penetrating the darkness or (B) that the darkness is overtaking the light? I don’t think I am being too presumptuous to guess that most of us would choose answer (A). We perceive that the beam of the flashlight is the factor causing a change to which the darkness has to yield.
In fact it seems to me that darkness itself is not even a reality that can be described or measured. Darkness is just the absence of light. Maybe some of my more scientific friends will correct me on that, but that’s the way it seems to me. In other words, darkness is not a thing in and of itself. Light is the reality. Light has measurable characteristics. Light has energy; it has force. Darkness has none of these. Darkness is simply a way of describing the condition that exists when there is no light.
So here we have two observations from the natural world:
- Darkness yields to the presence of light.
- Light is a reality on its own. Darkness is not.
But do these observations in the natural world have a parallel in the spiritual world? I believe they do, and I also believe we can discover some powerful truths for our lives as we explore these concepts.
There is a lot of talk about spiritual warfare in Christian circles, and I am not dismissing the reality of that struggle. Certainly the powers of darkness are at war against the loving God who created the universe and those who belong to Him. But sometimes I think we give the forces of evil too much credit. Let me explain.
Scripture consistently equates light with the life and presence of God.
Psalm 36:9 “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”
Psalm 89:15 “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance.”
John 1:4-5 ” In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 8:12 “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.'”
John 12:46 “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
So when we abide in Jesus and He abides in us (John 15:4-5), we have the Light of the world living in us. We have the humbling privilege of taking the Light of Jesus Christ into every situation in which we find ourselves every day.
I keep getting this picture of going out into the darkness carrying the presence of the Lord. The light of the Kingdom within me impacts and transforms the darkness around me. So often I think I have let the darkness influence my attitude and bring me down into defeat. But the truth is that when we walk in the Spirit, we operate from a position of victory. We are not fighting for a position of victory, but we are fighting from a position of victory. There is a big difference. From the position of victory, by faith we bring light to the darkness in the same way Jesus did.
Remember what the apostle John said about Jesus in that amazing prologue to the Gospel he wrote? John proclaims about Jesus: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5 NASB) In place of “the darkness did not comprehend it” some translations render that clause to mean that the Light of Christ overpowers the darkness:
- “the darkness has not overcome it” (NIV)
- “the darkness can never extinguish it” (NLT)
- “the darkness has never put it out” (PHILLIPS)
It’s not that we are unaware of the darkness. We know it is real. But when we abide in Christ, what we carry within us is a far greater, higher reality that overcomes the reality of the darkness.
I am greatly encouraged by this today, knowing that the reality of the Light of Christ within me will never be overcome by the darkness. I hope you are greatly encouraged also. In Part 2 of this post on Transforming the Darkness, we will explore specific and practical ways we can carry the Light to the darkness in the same way Jesus did.