While the office where I work has a lot of windows, there are times when shades are drawn, or I’ve been in an interior room. At the end of the day, when the sun is shining (which doesn’t happen every day where I live), walking out to my car can require my irises to make some real adjustments. Like a blast of very hot or very cold air (which are also real risks when stepping outside, here), the shock of bright light takes some getting used to, especially when I’ve been working in a relatively dark environment.
Following Jesus can be a bit of a shock to our human, sinful nature, as well. The apostle Peter uses the following illustrations:
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9 NLT
When we enter the light of God, a number of things happen:
- We see things that were previously unclear or not visible. (See Luke 2:29-32.)
- Things that seemed pretty good in the dark pale in comparison to what we see in the light. (See 2 Corinthians 4:6.)
- We love others, rather than hating them. (See 1 John 2:9-11.)
- Going back into the dark makes even less sense than it did before. (See 2 Corinthians 6:14.)
- It may be uncomfortable (as our eyes adjust) initially, since it becomes more difficult to hide vices in our own lives. However, good deeds become similarly more visible. (See John 3:19-21, 1 Corinthians 4:5.)
Imagine going to a matinee movie with a friend, and helping yourself to their popcorn. You might think that you’re being stealthy (if you can somehow manage to chew popcorn quietly), but when the movie lets out, and you leave the building into the daylight, it becomes clear from the popcorn crumbs on your shirt what you have been doing. Like a good friend, though, God can forgive us. Furthermore, God helps us to be better in the future, once we have stepped into – and remain in – the light.
Still, while the revealing light of truth might initially be uncomfortable, it’s still much more preferable to the alternative. When we live outside of God, we might seem to know what is going on, but only because we can’t see the truth while hiding in darkness. It is an ignorance propagated by remaining in the dark, but it is ignorance nonetheless.
Having experienced the light that Jesus brings (although still squinting sometimes, as I work to get fully acclimated to His righteousness), I think of life before knowing Him as being similar to those affected by the plague of darkness in Egypt:
So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived.
Exodus 10:22-23 NLT
Just as God gave light to His people during this time, while their oppressors (who worshiped false gods) lived in darkness, He offers light to those of us today who are still stumbling around in the dark. It may take a little bit to get used to, but living in the light is much better!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.