I’m afraid of the dark. Not the kind that keeps little children awake at night, hiding under the covers. The dark I’m talking about is real and is causing great harm to Christians, our families and our churches.
The dark I’m talking about is spiritual darkness that saturates the world around us and has been seeping into our churches for generations, but today seems to be spreading like wildfire among us, and even within us, at an alarming rate.
We do need to be aware and awake about it, not hiding under the covers from it but being vigilant against it.
I think of what the Apostle Paul said at least three times in his second letter to the Christian church in Corinth – a bustling metropolis in his day that was very much like Los Angeles and other major cities around the world today.
At least three times Paul told them, “I am afraid.”
First, he said he was afraid that the Corinthian Christians were falling for false doctrine (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Then later he said he was afraid about their attitudes and lifestyles — specifically, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder (12:20). Then he said he was afraid he would find them in unrepentent impurity, sexual sin and debauchery (12:21).
In all three instances, if I can say it this way, the Apostle Paul was afraid of the dark.
He recognized the shadowy influences of the world – the lack of discernment, false doctrine, pride, lack of repentance, lack of self-control, and shameful carnality – that had found their way into the Corinthian church and the hearts of many of its members. These things reveal spiritual darkness in any heart and church where it is tolerated.
Like Paul, we need to fight against it.
How? First, by not being afraid of it like naïve little children who think putting the covers over our heads makes it go away, and by not being so ignorant or so self-absorbed into our own prosperity to think it’s those folks’ business or problem and not ours.
Second, by letting the light of Jesus Christ shine brightly through us to the rest of the church and the world.
In other words, let the Son shine!
The more that people and churches let their pastors shine, or their self-appointed apostles, or their ministries, or their contest-winning choirs, or their material wealth, or their vast memberships, or their “new revelations,” or their doctrinal “movements,” or their favorite talk show idols; and the more they tolerate marital infidelity, and financial manipulations, and back-biting, and deception, and heresy; and the more they put victims in bondage about forgiving without accountability, the less they shine the light of Christ to hurting, backsliding or fearful Christians, or to lost and dying souls.
On the other hand, the more we fight against the darkness by trying to let the Son, Jesus Christ, shine through us – by our humility, brotherly love, sincere worship, good stewardship, biblical knowledge, Spirit-led wisdom, chaste lifestyles, edifying dialogues, sound doctrine, careful counseling, and good deeds – the more our precious, dark-destroying Lord will be glorified!
Do you think spiritual darkness has seeped into today’s Christian churches? To leave a comment, click on the article title or the number next to the comments icon just under the title, and then scroll down to the end.