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Jamie Johnson
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:

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:

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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