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Eliminate the “D” Words Part 5: Darkness
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The fifth negative “D” word is Darkness. I enjoy darkness (the absence of light) in its physical manifestations, whether I’m sitting outside on a warm moonless night when your eyes adjust to the darkness and the stars and planets and artificial satellites can then be seen, or I’m in a cozy very dark bedroom that invites deep sleep (and that is the most healthful condition for sleep).
There is another darkness, however; a darkness that claims ownership of this world and lures people into sinful and evil behaviors. This darkness whispers in our ears, saying “There is no God”. It tells us that ancient commandments and Biblical moral standards are no longer necessary and to do what makes you the most self-satisfied and “happy” in that moment (the “you only live once” paradigm, leading to all sorts of risky behaviors and what used to be known as deadly sins). The darkness drives us into hatred and anger at others - just spend five minutes looking at even the most innocuous topics in social media and you will see strangers attacking each other in the comments. This evil darkness divides us by race and economic status and social group, causing whole groups of people to denigrate and hate others; this group hatred often leads to death camps and killing fields. The darkness is, of course, the Enemy of God, who is battling for our attention and our souls. He is so effective at what he does that even many mainstream churches today will tell their congregations that there is no Devil, Hell or eternal punishment.
What, then, tells us that there IS evil and darkness at work? C.S. Lewis, the brilliant Christian apologist and author, would tell us that there is an objective moral consciousness in the universe that humans share, which must have a supernatural origin, because a subjective or situational moral conscience would ultimately fail. Lewis has been denigrated by non-believers for having this philosophy, of course, because he didn’t “prove” that there is an objective moral conscience or sufficiently bolster his arguments to satisfy the agnostics and atheists. I have personally experienced that conscience in my life, however, and Lewis is correct. When Steve and I drifted away from belief and into a long flirtation with secular humanism and openness to excusing sin in ourselves and others, we both had a small voice in our heads whispering that “you are wrong”. That voice would keep me awake at night quite often, pondering why I did something or endorsed something that displeases God. When the Good Shepherd brought us back into the fold, the voice is still there, but we hear it much less often and we immediately know what it means. The darkness leads to dread, doubt, depression, disappointment and death (which will be my final “D” word topic).
Paul noted in Ephesians 6:12 (above) that we are in this battle against the world forces of darkness and the spiritual sources of wickedness. He goes on in that same passage to talk about putting on the Armor of God, which will be the subject of future devotionals. Suffice to say, repentance, truth, faith, salvation, prayer the Word of God, and righteousness (not self-righteousness) are the tools we need to fight the darkness.