Light and Darkness have gone to battle but it’s an unfair war. The moment God said, “Let there be light.” The darkness didn’t stand a chance.
You see it shared on social media everywhere: news about ISIS, evil running rampant, Christians being persecuted for their faith. When I see these things, I can’t help but think it’s stirring more fear than faith in the heart of the believers. We have to ask ourselves, “when seeing this news article, what is my response?”
Because the truth is, friends, when we receive reports about any deed of darkness, our response should be fearless faith.
Why? Because we know the Light has already won. In fact, the scripture says in John 1:5,
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
Strong’s Concordance further defines the word “extinguish” as, “make something one’s own, to win, to attain, to gain control of.”
No matter how it looks and no matter how it seems, darkness can never win nor gain control of the light.
Light and Darkness have gone to battle but it’s an unfair war. The moment God said, “Let there be light.” The darkness didn’t stand a chance. We have a Father whose very character has not one drop of darkness. He is the Father of Light (James 1:17). That means our inheritance and identity is to be children of light. That’s what side we are on. Because of this we can face anything in life and know we are victorious.
Every day we have a decision: Do I stand with the light or do I bow to the darkness? In big decisions and small decisions we have this choice to make. Obviously every believer desires to stand with the light in a time of persecution. But the desire and the doing are two different things.
I believe with all my heart what determines whether we stand or whether we bow is where our gaze is set.
I think about Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane. There he was being asked to pray in the midst of the suffering of his Master, Jesus. Due to his sleepiness, Peter fell asleep. Jesus came back to him multiple times, finding Peter asleep rather than praying for what Jesus was about to walk through.
Jesus’ response to him the final time was:
Stay alert; be in prayer so you don't wander into temptation without even knowing you're in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. (Message Translation)
We have to ask, if Peter would have stayed alert in prayer would he have entered into the temptation and denied Jesus? What if Peter’s eyes would have been on the face of Jesus in that moment? Looking at his agony in Jesus’ time of decision, I doubt he would have fallen asleep.
I’m so grateful for the Grace of God towards Peter. Even though he did bow to the darkness in that decision, God’s Grace redeemed him and his life story.
But friend, how can we endure suffering and persecution, in the small decision and the big? We look at the face of Jesus.
Just like Stephen in the book of Acts, boldly proclaiming the person of Jesus in the face of persecution:
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them,
“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”
Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Stephen wasn’t seeing his persecutors because his eyes were on something more eternal: the glory in the face of Jesus.
That’s what enables us to endure. Living in this world today we are going to be faced with decisions and opportunities to stand up for what we believe. We make those decisions now by setting our sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits. That’s where our life is found.
When I remember that my true life is hidden in Eternity with Christ in God, I remember this earth holds nothing for me. (Colossians 3:1-4)
I remember I have no reason to fear for God is with me, what can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
I remember that all else is counted as nothing in comparison to everything I see in the face of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
It’s looking at His face that keeps us standing with Him. Looking at His face through His Word, gazing at Him in worship, finding our lives in His presence.
We will not be defeated for we stand as children of the Father of Lights.
And Light wins.
for the kingdom,