July 14, 2010
The Light Shines in the Darkness
On July 7, 2010, I wrote in my journal the following to confront doubt:
Then, I remember your faithfulness. I see the Creation and how its order points to you.
I see man's predicament and your grace, life, and Resurrection. I remember the words I spoke
… as my brother said he didn't know and that he was trying to get his mind
around it -- believing and having faith … -- my words were "Show
me a better way." LORD, there is no better way. LORD Jesus, You are the Way, the Truth, and the
Life. I trust that. … Your Spirit within me testifies to my spirit of You LORD
Jesus. I love you LORD. …
What sticks out to me (and has been since I wrote it) is the phrase man's predicament
listed among the many good things that testify of the truth of God. Man's predicament is a
dire one and desperate one -- one of depravity -- without Christ. I began to think about
the decline in our society. Society has always had its woes since the Fall, but in spite of the
advances in technology and medicine, etc., there is a downward trend in our own society.
I took a look at a couple of web sites1 2 highlighting this trend.
Granted, the past had its share of issues such as racism, etc. However, I think there is a point to be made when considering
this partial listing of the decline in our increasingly godless society:
- Divorce rates are skyrocketing.
- Out-of-wedlock have births increased by 1000 percent.
- School shootings have been occurring regularly nowadays as compared to not having hardly any in the past.
- Problems in public schools were running in the halls, chewing gum in class, missing the waste
paper basket and talking in class, and discipline problems were minor. Nowadays, problems in public
schools are guns in schools, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, alcoholism and rape, and discipline problems
- You were allowed to say, "God" and "Jesus" in the public square, including school, without
a lawsuit, but nowadays, the ACLU will threaten you.
- There is a lack of community and many neighbors no longer know one another nowadays. While
in the past, "Everybody's mom was everybody's mom. You get hurt - she bandaged, need cookies - got milk, did
wrong.... they all knew."
- Today is characterized by a lack of morality and even glamorizing things like promiscuous sex,
filthy language, drunkenness, and even mockery of God.
- Families used to spend time together and were viewed as more important than careers/money.
- In the past, Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations were allowed in public schools and it was called Christmas
break. I recall singing both Jewish and Christmas songs in public school. We said "under God" in the Pledge. And no one was offended.
If they were, they had the backbone to be offended and to offend graciously.
- Nowadays, Dads are often absent (if not physically, emotionally) and many kids are living in
- Today, church is not attended regularly.
- Today, authority is disrespected (parental, police, teachers, etc.).
- "[W]omen were MODEST in those days. Men were men, and women were women.
Men weren't trying to be women and well women didn't want to be men.
They were about God, the Bible, and family!"
- The Lord was treated with the utmost reverence and is now somebody to be mocked.
- School-yard fights were once fought with hands and now are fought with guns.
- You once had to keep quiet if you were not a Christian. Now, you have to keep quiet if you are a Christian
out of being "diverse" or "sensitive" or "tolerant."
- Nowadays, "no one seems to care, it's someone else's fault, we're entitled."
- In the past, TV had no scenes with a couple in a double bed versus today's TV "where strangers
are seen in bed together, sometimes of the same sex, involving nudity, sexual verbal exchanges and
frank sexual scenes." In the past, seldom did one hear curse words on TV (if they even watched it like
everyone does nowadays) or at the movies, but now it is commonplace. Nowadays, reality TV celebrates depravity.
And the aforementioned degradation of the TV/movies brings me to one final item to illustrate my point (and yes, I do have one):
How many times have you gone to a movie and heard the following: "Buddha-damn!" or "Muhammad!" or "Krishna!"? You won't.
However, you do hear the name of God, of Jesus Christ, used in vain. Not only does this reflect the decline above, but I think
it also points to something else. Jesus Christ is the real article. He is the real threat to the
prince of this world system. As God has been pushed out of our society, we are seeing decline
and depravity. And this darkness almost shoots itself in the foot as seeing it, while discouraging,
testifies that there is an alternative - righteousness that only comes from Above.
Even the presence of darkness suggests the presence of good.
I recall talking with my brother some years ago on the phone. He mentioned how he doubted
his faith at times. I mentioned how I have at times, too, and that he wouldn't even be troubled by that or desire to
have faith in Christ if he did not already have the Spirit living in him. The Spirit is concerned
with spiritual things. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV) says, "The man without the Spirit does not accept
the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot
understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
In Romans 7:24-25 (NIV), Paul shares his struggle (darkness) and turns to the Light:
"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through
Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful
nature a slave to the law of sin." In the Spirit, he realizes his need for Christ and turned
toward Him and proclaimed in Romans 8:1: "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who
are in Christ Jesus" (NIV).
Paul proclaims that where sin increased, grace increased all the more in Romans 5:20.
So, shall I seek out darkness for the sake of having something show depravity and the absence
of God and indirectly therefore point to God? Consider Romans 6:1-2: "What shall we say,
then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how
can we live in it any longer?"
So as you see the darkness blanketing this world, realize that it is giving a picture
of what life is without God and indirectly points to God. We realize that this world
leaves us hungry and that only God can fill. The Holy Spirit actually uses the world's
desperate display of life without God to propel us to life with God. Realize that "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (overcome) it" (John 1:5, NIV).
May we be filled with the Holy Spirit that we may let our light shine before men that they may
give God the glory (see Matthew 5:16).
And finally, remember Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those
who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." God is sovereign. Even the bad things
He can work out towards His plan, even to the point of bringing someone to the end of himself to
realize his need for God. As we see man's predicament, may we realize that there are two ways of being: without God and
with God. The darkness relishes in the former, yet indirectly testifies of the latter.
This morning, I wrote in my journal again and described a conversation I had with my son
Arthur and I talked a little bit about Heaven and
then he asked, "Is it light or dark in Heaven?" I told him that it was light. He asked if there
were lamps there. I said that God was so bright that there was no need for lamps and you don't
even need a sun. Arthur said, "Wow!"
When we encounter times where we face the darkness, may we not be discouraged but rather turn and look to God and say in awe of Him: "Wow!" knowing that
He is sovereign over it all "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10, NIV). And this includes the powers
of darkness - though it be too late for them, they will bow to the Lord Jesus.
"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (overcome) it" (John 1:5, NIV).
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