Darkness doesn’t come on slowly. It doesn’t come down upon the earth like a curtain at the close of play. Indeed, it is subtle, stealth-like. If you’ve ever tried to watch its approach, you’ve noticed that, imperceptively, only to the slightest degree, can you discover a difference from one moment to the next. And even then, you will have to turn away from it for a time before looking back to notice the difference.
Darkness in the soul is like that. A believer is to be a child of light. He is to have no part in the unfruitful works of darkness. Paul urged us, instead, to walk in the light. Darkness, in the Scriptures, is a symbol sin, error, misery and death. It is from such things that God is in the process of delivering us. But there is still darkness that has not yet been driven away by the light. And—worst of all—darkness that, from time to time, may creep back into the soul of a Christian.
How does darkness come into the life of a believer? Just as it spreads upon the earth—incrementally. It doesn’t happen all at once. “How did I ever get into this?” he asks when the consequences of his sin becomes clear. “I never meant to commit adultery.” “I never thought I’d become involved in such a shady business deal.” Of course you didn’t. But gradually, you allowed the darkness of that sin to invade your soul. It didn’t happen all at once. You encouraged it to make its way into your life—little by little. Instead of looking away from the coming darkness long enough to see what was happening, you continued to look at the night falling all around you. You failed to notice the change.
Even though you have been redeemed from sin, for instance, you may still be led astray by evil companions (I Corinthians 15:33). The progress that has been made can be curtailed–even reversed. Check out the problem in the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2). To change the figure, look at Psalm 1. There, the method of darkness making its way into a life is indicated as a gradual progression from temptation to sin. First, one walks toward and listens to the counsel of the ungodly. Then, he becomes fascinated with it and pauses to hear more: eventually, he stands in the way of sinners. Finally, after listening long enough to buy into it, he sits (as one of them) in the seat of scorners.
What is the way to avoid this slippery path? Look away from the darkness—instead, fix your eyes upon the Light—the Light of the world. Walk in His counsel; stand in the path of the righteous One; sit in the seat provided by the Godly Lord that you serve. Let your light be seen by men so that they may glorify God!
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