December 15, 2006

Darkness cannot overcome Light

Anyone who has tried to teach anything knows the frustration of why don't they get it? “It”—whatever it is—seems so simple to the teacher, yet the learner cannot wrap their head around it. This is even more a reality for matters of the spirit.

In telling others about Jesus, two teachers are needed—myself and the Holy Spirit. Actually, the Holy Spirit doesn't really need me, but sometimes, for reasons I don't fully understand, God wants it that way. Yet even with two voices speaking, the gospel can whoosh right over heads, as if the listener is blind, or deaf.

I recall one young woman's answer when I asked her how a person could be saved from sin. She said, “By doing good works.”

I had her read aloud Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

I asked again, “How does the Bible say a person is saved.”

She replied, “By doing good works.”

She could not see what the words said, nor even hear them when she read them out loud herself. She was totally blind to the gospel.

My reading today explains her blindness. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, those minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (1 Corinthians 4).

The “god of this age” is Satan, and I've no clue how he blinds people, even though I myself was once blind. I read the Bible for years, but I could not see what it said. It made no sense to me. Another wonder is that I kept reading it.

I love the verses that come next. They explain how God gets around the blindness. Paul writes, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

God can shine light into darkness, even into the darkness of spiritual blindness and unbelief. Like the light of even the tiniest candle dissipates total blackness, His light is more powerful than the deepest gloom. When God shines, darkness must flee. I know that for a fact.

Also, all Christians know that the Holy Spirit lives in us. We know that preachers, teachers, evangelists and ordinary pew-sitters can say the words, but no matter how brilliantly we present the truth, His Spirit is what takes light into darkness.

The bottom line is no matter how eloquent, or no matter how filled with His Spirit I might be, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

We also have complete assurance that His light puts out darkness, and darkness, no matter how dark it is, cannot extinguish light.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed how sometimes many things you read and hear complement each other. It's as if suddenly your eyes are opened to a new area (of fact or news or thought or whatever) and you begin to see evidences of it everywhere. I think that's how God works too. We begin with a perceived need or emptiness or question - and from that point, suddenly we 'hear' things that may have passed by us before, but we never noticed - perhaps because we didn't need them.

Keep teaching - you never know when what you say will be 'heard' - perhaps even later, in memory!