Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification—Jesus, the Light of the World
We can agree that the newborn lives in the womb’s darkness for 36-40 weeks. Yet, according to pediatricians, babies can see colors within the first week of life and a distance of 8-10 inches away. During the next 12 months, not only does the infant experience physical growth and development their vision also develops. At 10 months, they intentionally reach and grasp the objects they see. At this stage, babies also develop stranger danger because their visual acuity has sharpened to recognize familiar people and surroundings.
This is a happy time; babies are fascinated by their increased vision, causing them to explore their surroundings, which threatens their safekeeping. Another interesting behavior also develops–the aversion to darkness. An infant will not crawl or walk to enter a dark room. Once they are acclimated to the light, there is a profound dislike for dark environments even if they are meant for sleep.
Most of us dislike complete physical darkness, but like the baby, we are drawn to explore new things. However, our exploration may lead to interesting but deadly concepts outside of our spiritual beliefs based on the Scriptures. The acceptance of popular worldviews always leads us into a state of spiritual darkness.
We often use the word darkness to describe a time when we experienced sorrows and hardships. Yet, darkness is the absence of light. According to the Scriptures, spiritual darkness is a result of sin. It is a devastating condition of life without Christ. The only way to transition from Darkness into the Light is to faithfully accept Jesus as our Savior. “I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46)
Since 2020, we have lived in turbulent times. The pandemic, strained race relations, persecution of Christians, the ongoing war in Ukraine, loss of employment, death of family members, increase in homelessness, etc. The vicissitudes of life have caused many believers to become despondent. They have lost their desire to remain fully committed to Christ. Without faith and trust in God, we lose the spiritual insight [given to us by the Holy Spirit], and we become blind. Unable to perceive Jesus as whom He says he is, “He said to them, ‘But whom do you say that I am?’” (Matthew 16:15), we succumb to the temptation of self-reliance.
The Dilemma: How did we get so entangled in the dark web of this world’s agenda of self-made success, busyness, and pursuing pleasures? Allowing ourselves to be persuaded by the influencers who promote the strength of self-reliance, we develop a spirit of ingratitude and impatience. We do not have time to wait on God. The pursuit of happiness changes our mindset from relying on Christ to doing things our way. Gradually, our eyes adjust to the darkness of disobedience that places us in rebellion against God.
The Consequences: The loss of spiritual insight places us in spiritual darkness. Those who once received discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit while faithfully walking in the light are left alone to resolve every life situation that arises. The pressure from self-reliance also changes our mental and emotional states as we begin to suffer from anxiety, worries, depression, sadness, and insomnia. Without the light of Christ, we fall deeper into the abyss of darkness and cannot see our way out.
“…The way of the transgressor is hard (Proverbs 13:15). Our carnal nature demands that we fulfill our desires. Satan customizes the distractions that lead us down the dark path of disobedience. He knows that we are not equipped to fight the darkness of spiritual warfare alone. Yes, it takes the human effort of self-control to break the vicious cycle of falling into temptation and returning to spiritual darkness. Yet, we have the power of Divine Intervention available immediately after confession and repentance of our sins.
The Resolution: In John 8:12, Jesus states, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” Jesus lovingly and patiently waits for us to surrender our hearts to Him. And immediately, we are forgiven and He lights our way to return to the Path of Righteousness.
Prayer: God, we are blind and have lost our way. We desperately need Your light and ask for forgiveness of the sin of self-reliance. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.