From the very beginning, God ordained light and this has never changed. Light and darkness cannot coexist without conflict, but He calls us to walk in His light and to shine out into the world to reveal Him and His glory.
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
When God created, the first thing He did was to bring light into the darkness. The effect of this was to separate His divine creative order from the darkness of chaos. Even our night has light in the moon and stars, sending a clear message that light is a defining factor in what is of God. Darkness – as the absence of His light – represents those things that are not of God and are therefore evil. The most obvious validation is that the Bible talks of the kingdoms of light and darkness. From the very beginning, then, God’s purpose was to bring light. His eternal intention is that mankind should walk in the light, not the darkness – the light that is God Himself rather than any substitute. With the fall, however, the clear, definitive lines between light and darkness were blurred. Through free will, man chose darkness.
We have to choose between light and darkness.
Salvation is a one-off event, a life-changing moment when we choose between the two kingdoms. But from that point on, we continue to exercise our free will in choosing between light and darkness. These are the small daily decisions between wrong and right, compromise and commitment, and living by God’s standards or those of the world. Today’s verse is past tense prophetic. Even at the time of writing this, though Christ had not yet come, Isaiah could say with certainty that the light had already come. That’s because Jesus and His ministry is eternal. The Light of the world was present when the foundations of the world were laid. Even though we were in darkness, having not chosen the light of Christ, His light had already shined from the beginning of creation. Let there be light includes the Light of the world which has existed and will exist forever.
What this means is that every single human being has the choice to do evil or to do good. The light is there. What we choose determines our spiritual destiny and our current circumstances. The powerful difference of the new covenant is that we no longer have to do it in our own strength and ability. The choice between light and darkness is empowered by the cross and the blood of Jesus. But the choice is not removed. We still have to face it daily and decide. Even as born-again Christians, wrong choices can bring in darkness. We can have shadows over our new life in areas not surrendered or where free will retains autonomy. Wrong choices push us further into the darkness and right choices draw us deeper into the light. True liberty is only possible in those areas into which we allow God to shine His light.
Light and darkness exist in conflict.
This is a spiritual truth that will always remain unchanged. Light and darkness cannot coexist. There will always be conflict, with one seeking to push out the other. This is the basis of every single spiritual conflict we encounter. In everything, the darkness tries to overwhelm the light or push it back. It wants to regain the ground it lost at the cross. The good news is that the work of the cross is already done so light already has the victory. The bad news is that we have to enforce it. We have full access to the Light of the world through the cross, but we need to actively allow it to work in us. Self will resist. It much prefers the darkness where the truth doesn’t prevail. That way, we can convince ourselves that our choices ‘aren’t so bad’ or that we have good reason for them.
Our spirits seek constantly for the light because it’s what they were created for. There is a longing and a hunger in every human being for the light. The things of darkness are shadow and deception. Darkness is a place where things hide and wickedness grows unchecked. Self has grown up with that and resents having everything exposed to the light of truth where we have no excuses. The Light of the world leaves nothing unchanged. It allows nothing to remain hidden or unchallenged. It reveals things as they really are – warts and all. Self fights this every step of the way, so the conflict between light and darkness is also between spirit and self. If we walk in the spirit, we walk in the light. Conflict will continue until His light manifests in all areas of our lives, and it’s often a concerted battle until self is subdued.
The past tense of light and darkness.
The light has already shone. It was present at creation and manifested again in Jesus. This makes it a done deal. It happened two thousand odd years ago, and manifests each time someone chooses the Light of the world over the darkness with salvation. The process repeats itself over and over again each time we make the right choice, thus pushing back the residual darkness in us little by little. But the key truth is that we have already seen, that the light has already shone. It’s not something we have to wait for or long for or even seek for. We have seen the light that has the power to transform us with supernatural life and truth and bring liberty in Jesus. To see the light is one thing. To walk in it is another entirely. Light and darkness still challenge us to decide where to walk.
If we shut the light out, it isn’t extinguished. It continues to shine with the same power and purpose, but it won’t shine in us if we don’t allow it in. When we choose to hide in shadows and mistruths, we don’t and cannot alter the nature of the light or its purpose. That, like our eternal God, remains unchanged and immutable. But we do refuse His purposes in us when we compromise on the issue of light and darkness. The light is ours to show us what must change and to empower the change. It’s not something we can do ourselves. If the truth be told, we cannot even rightly desire to do it. Only when the light shines in and reveals the real truth can we be inspired, encouraged, and challenged to step out of darkness into transformed life through the work of the cross.
The future tense of light and darkness.
The power of the prophetic is that it exists in eternity and shares God’s eternal nature. Today’s verse captures that limitless nature. The light was, is, and will be because it’s an intrinsic part of God Himself. It is imbued with His power and eternal life. This same light shone for us in the past, shines today, and will continue to shine for us in the future. It’s limited or restricted by temporal laws. In the ongoing conflict between light and darkness, we can rest on this assurance. We’ll never run out of light. It will always be there, supernatural and powerful and available to bring us to victory if we are willing to live in the truth it brings. In every choice, let’s look to the light. Inviting Jesus in to every situation, we shake off the darkness and live in a light that can never be extinguished.
Awesome God, we stand amazed at Your perfect wisdom and purposes. Thank You for showing us that Your light is eternal and has always been part of Your plan for Your people. We praise You and honour You, bring ourselves to Your light so that You may reveal and push back the darkness in us. Help us to remember that we were created for Your glory so that the Light of the world will always shine through.