by Deonne McCausland
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light… (John 3:17-19a ESV)
…because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79 ESV)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9: 2 ESV)
… but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19b ESV
… I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12 ESV)
Where I live, the days of winter are short and the nights are long; sunset can happen as early as 4:30 pm and the sun doesn’t rise for another for another 16 hours until 8:30 am. That’s only 8 hours of daylight, still not accounting for dusk and twilight! It can affect the moods of those living in my city and not for the better. Living and moving in darkness impacts our spirits. I can’t help but marvel at the spiritual connotations this physical reality demonstrates.
As we consider the season of Advent, I reflect upon the heavy darkness that weighs down upon my own spirit and our world at large. Whether it’s the circumstances we’re facing or the internal states of our individual beings, ultimately the darkness felt is a result of the sinful state of mankind which entered the world way back in a Genesis garden and brought condemnation and curse upon all of creation. A human initiated curse and and a God initiated plan for redemption and restoration through the humanity of Himself in Jesus.
(Deuteronomy 12:8, Judges 17:6, Isaiah 5:20,21, Hosea 14:9, Ezekiel 18:29)
I encourage you to look up the Scripture references. Aren’t we audacious and prideful creatures, telling the Creator right from wrong?!
The world’s answer to our dilemma is to keep turning inward rather then upward. Self help strategies line the shelves of book stores, promising answers, healing, wellness, success, transformation and anything else under the ‘sun’. Lying to us about how
enlightened we are by all the internal insight we gain. The pages of ‘ways’ one can better oneself is extremely flawed in that IF our hope and salvation could be found in any of these counterfeit solutions, there would no longer be a need for any more of these books and the self help industry would thus help itself out of its market.
We can’t help ourselves.
Our present state without Christ is Spiritual darkness and death and it is only by turning our attention away from self and onto Him that we can ever really understand self. God in His great mercy brings us what we ourselves don’t even know we need for our healing, our salvation, our peace, our fulfillment, our light and life, when we turn our hearts to Him. What a great twist! As we sit in Advent, we are reminded of our deep longing to be transformed by His light, to have His light scatter our darkness. Those in Scripture who were waiting for His light, recognized it when it came. We are awaiting a second Advent, when God will establish His kingdom fully. Will we be so focused on self, attempting to discover our own lights within, that we’ll miss the light of life available to us even now? May we intentionally use this time of Advent to be still and to surrender self in the tenderness of His presence rather than our own, thereby allowing true hope, love, peace and joy to transform our helpless selves rather than settling for the counterfeit god of self.