Light In The Darkness
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.”
Dark seasons come to us all. This is regardless of where we are or who we are or what we are doing. We are here. We are involved in this thing called “life” and the reality is that we all experience dark times. But there is a marked difference between the darkness that is experienced by the upright and the unjust.
The unjust dwell in darkness, and it a manifold darkness. They are lost in the darkness of sin, of confusion, of ignorance, of pride and stubbornness. Their eyes are blinded by the god of this age, their foolish hearts are darkened, they stumble in the darkness groping for anything solid, yet terrified and held back by fear not knowing what they will find…and they have no light…ever.
The upright have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. They were once in darkness, but now have been made children of Light, in fact, the light of this world. And yet we remain living testimonies in a world of fallen things. And we dwell daily in fallen bodies. These fallen systems love darkness and not light. And God is gracious and has given us His word to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths as we walk life’s narrow way. And because we are living epistles and stewards of light, living in the midst of a crooked and lost generation, we find ourselves at times in darkness. At a loss of which way to go, of our purpose, of our goal…and we fret. We become anxious.
But always the upright has hope. The upright has fixed his or her heart upon the One to whom they have cried out to for their salvation. He alone has shown Himself strong on their behalf. He alone has freed them from their prison and set them at liberty from their oppressive labors. And in the times of darkness, there arises a light. In the Lord’s time, there arises a light. Hope is renewed and strengthened, the sails of vision are filled to full strength, the upright begins afresh to be the living extension of the kingdom of God among those lost in darkness…
And he is once again gracious to those around him. He is full of compassion to those who do not know what compassion is. and above all and through it all, he is righteous. Not because of what he has done through the trying time of darkness, but righteous because of the One who has called and redeemed and adopted and made alive by the word of the gospel and the generous, miraculous work of His Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering him.
Good reminders, Josh. I would argue that the darkness the Christian occasionally visits is different from the darkness out of which we were transferred. All darkness isn’t created alike. I would rather have Kingdom darkness than worldly light. The darkness of the Kingdom is brighter than the world’s light because there is hope in the darkness of the Kingdom whereas there is no hope in the world’s light. Thanks for the reminder.
Interesting thought, Tim, and I can always count on your comments in everyone’s post to be first and always encouraging. Love it.
I am reminded that “He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
We may go through dark seasons, dark times, that are not “godly” in origin, but are rather demonic, discouraging, depressing that have no godly origin. God may definitely use these seasons to bring glory to Himself and work them together for the good to those that love God and are the called according to His purpose.
What would you categorize or describe as ‘kingdom darkness’?
Great point, Josh – and I am in full agreement. There are dark times that are not godly in origin and are demonic, etc. I think that this darkness could still be characterized by ‘kingdom darkness’ because no matter how dark it gets (or who’s making it dark), I am still in the kingdom! I can be in the darkness, but never in the domain of darkness for I have been transferred out of that ghetto. In addition, no matter how dark it gets (or who’s making it dark), I go through the darkness as a kingdom person and one whom the King never deserts. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou are with me!”
Not trying to mince words, just clarifying 🙂
Are we not “in the world” but “not of it”? We are still “in the domain of darkness”, but definitely not “of” it. We have been sent as ambassadors of the King of glory into the domain in which we were once captives. And now having been set free, redeemed, adopted, we are now His representatives in this domain…which is dead set against us and ticked off that we have been set free, and now have the “gall” to come back in with the authority and power to see the King free others that are slaves “of” the domain of darkness…and so they assail us with the old methods we were once subject to…dark methods…and it plagues us at times. But, yes, we do have hope. Hope that is greater, is purer, shines brighter in the darkest of seasons, and a salve for our hearts and minds that can be found nowhere else apart from the living words of our Lord.
I have been thinking about the valley of the shadow of death as well. And in that regards, there is a difference. Spurgeon talks about the shadow of a dog not being able to bite us, and the shadow of a sword not being able to wound us, and the shadow of death not being able to destroy us. All truths. Yet we find ourselves assailed by shadows of the things that once tormented us in tangible and terrifying reality…and we had no hope. So, in that regard, I agree that there is a difference.
Great stuff to toss around, Tim.
Good thoughts, Josh. I’m tracking with you. Yes, ‘in’ but not ‘of’. And that’s the crucial distinction. I think mincing words is profitable as long as it’s not just a semantic perspective – so I think that mincing would be profitable here.
I once had a friend with a white, middle class upbringing who married a woman with a white, upper class upbringing. They decided to move into the impoverished part of town in order to identify with and minister to the poor and oppressed. Admirable. In talking with him once he spoke of the sacrifice they were making and the effectiveness for ministry they hoped would come from it as they learned the impoverished mentality. I said that they were creating a platform for ministry, but that they would never be able to totally identify w/ the poor and experience the burden of hopelessness that they labor under daily. They would never be able to really touch that because his wife’s childhood home was just 20 minutes away equipped with pool, big screen TV, and well stocked refrigerator. They could retreat there whenever they wanted or needed to – which they were doing on occasion. Those they were ministering to didn’t have this relief valve, it wasn’t in their mentality. Not only was there occasional relief for them, there was an out if they so desired – they could leave that ministry and move on to something else. All this wasn’t to condemn my friend, but to contextualize – there was something in the people they could never touch. They were ‘in’ but not ‘of’.
Good stuff, Josh.
Nice. Great example, man.
Makes me think that though your friend would never to be able to really touch the burden of hopelessness that is held by those living in that ‘context’, we are able to ‘touch’ those in that hopelessness of darkness because we once resided in that realm like they are. And so has our king.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”.
He entered into this realm and experienced all any will ever experience, yet without sin, thus becoming the Hope that is so desperately longed for and needed in the midst of “This Present Darkness” (to coin a phrase:).
Josh, first of all, and you know this (you were my teacher), I been trying to do it all on my own. Dunno what happen man, but I broke. I tried so many times to “change for Jesus” cuz the devil says you need to change or God wont love you, and then as soon as you fall, there he is accusing me. I was in darkness. I dunno even if I had true salvation until now, but I thought I did. I just started reading the Word man. That simple. If your in the Word you cant be in the darkness. The Word exposes everything. TRUTH. I been sober and I finally feel joy. I swear I have Psalm 51 memorized since I read it so much over the last year. I just want to say thanks for all you have done for me. You truly have planted good seeds that took 10+ years to germinate in my heart. I am faithfully waiting to see where the Lord takes me now.
Out of all the peeps from that season in our lives, you stand out among a few others that the Lord always reminds me of. I’m so quick to lose perspective and the need to be patient, trusting the the Lord will do a work in you in His time…not mine.
Praise the Lord, bro, for His faithfulness to us in our wandering and running and idiocy. I am reminded of Proverbs 4:26-27.
“Ponder the path of your feet, and let your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”
email me where you’re at, Chris.
I emailed you 🙂