“You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say again, if you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.” — James 4:4
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and do not go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” — John 3:19-20
I remember the first time I ever went to a restaurant. I was twelve years old and the restaurant was a little pizza place a few miles outside of Frankfurt, Germany.I still remember the aroma in the atmosphere and the Italian music playing in the background.
The thing that caught my attention the most was the lighting in the little cafe’. It was almost pitch dark. The light emanating from the room came from the little round candles that decorated each table. It was a classic scene, right down to the little white and red checked table cloths.
The thought that dominated my twelve year old mind was, “Why in the world would they keep it so dark in here? You can’t even see what you’re eating.” In a few minutes, however, my eyes had adjusted to the darkness and I was able to see and enjoy the meal. I’ve never forgotten how quickly I got used to the dark.
We live in a day when the darkness of sin has covered our communities, our nation and our world. The dark tentacles of sin have crept into the church, choking out the light that should be blazing into the darkness. Ungodliness and sensuality have replaced holiness and devotion to God. The sadness of it all is found in the fact that even the children of Light, Christians, have gotten used to the dark!
We excuse rebellious and divisive attitudes in ourselves and others. We make light of our “pet sins” in order to avoid coming to grips with our accountability to God. We ignore unfaithfulness and sensuality in the lives of others by rationalizing, “Who am I to judge that person. I am just a sinner myself.” We see the “leak of filth” pouring into our churches and instead of plugging the flow, we put on waders and content ourselves to “cope” with that which God has called us to “crucify.”
I believe the chief fault of the 21st century church will be that we got used to the dark. God has called us to fight against the darkness of sin and death. Jesus challenged us to fight the darkness (Matthew 5:16). How can we fight it?
Surrender is the key to overcoming the darkness. The yielded life is the shining life. As Christ’s light shines into our heart, only then can it be reflected to a dark and dying world. This is our calling. This is our purpose. Philippians 2:13-15 says:
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world of crooked and perverse people.”
Jesus surrendered to the Father and willingly went to the cross so that we might be delivered from darkness and death. Paul challenged the Philippians to, “have the same attitude Christ had” (Philippians 2:5). If we claim to be His, we must follow Him.
God has not called us to get used to the darkness, but to push back the darkness by allowing Jesus to shine through our lives. Our lives only shine as our lives are surrendered.