From Darkness to Light
All believers in Jesus have been transferred from the ‘dominion’ of darkness to the realm of God’s marvelous light. (Col. 1:13, I Peter 2:9)
We are emancipated from a power, which, like a creeper, binds itself around us, pulling us down towards selfish and destructive patterns of living. We are now in a new realm with God – a realm of blessing, adoption, favor, sonship and reconciliation, and are free from the realm of estrangement, enmity, curse and isolation.
These great realities take place at conversion. Yet shadows of darkness can still remain in the minds of believers.
The mind has four great components, each of which must be brought from darkness to light:
- the intellect and understanding,
- the will,
- the imagination,
- the emotions.
When we are reborn we receive a new spirit. Our minds however, are not automatically renewed. To renew them we have to use our wills and choose to cooperate with the Spirit and the Word of God. One of the tasks of the teaching and pastoral ministry is to lead believers out of mental darkness.
1. Light For Our Intellect
When we come to the light of God we begin to see Him in a new way. Superstitious ideas of God are replaced by the revelation of God as He really is – a God of mercy, love, truth, and faithfulness. We discover that God is interested in every concern of ours and has bound Himself to us in covenant through Jesus, and His blood.
Each of these discoveries is revolutionary. Truth makes us free from ignorance, dark ideas about God, superstitions and fears.
The Word of God gives us light and understanding as to who we are as the redeemed of the Lord and where we fit in the loving plan of God for His children. The light of the Word also instructs us how to live our lives and frees us from destructive patterns of living. “He who follows Me’ (says Jesus) will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Finally the prophetic word gives us perspective into God’s plan for history, for world redemption, and for our own lives. “We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as light that shines in a dark place.” (1 Pet.1:19)
2. Light For Our Wills
The mark of a slave is that he is not free to make his own choices. During the time of our captivity our wills developed patterns of rebellion on the one hand and patterns of passivity on the other. Before we were transferred from the dominion of darkness to the light of God, our wills were chained to the demands of the flesh and to sin. They became passive and had lost some of their ability to choose wisely.
Jesus restores to us sovereignty over our own wills and choices.
In areas of the world where the light of the gospel has not penetrated most people live with little sense of empowerment over their lives. Their wills are passive and life becomes simply endurance.
Jesus came declaring that the kingdom of God was at hand. He showed that not everything that happens is the result of God’s will. “The thief comes to steal kill and destroy but I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (Jn 10:10)
Jesus restores to us (men and women) what the devil and ignorance have stolen from us: sovereignty over our own wills and choices. He taught His followers to resist the work of the evil one, resist the evil that is in ourselves and establish God's will in our lives (through faith and obedience to the Word & Ways of God).
Jesus re-empowers us to use our wills to actively choose and seek God’s will for our lives as Mary did when she said: “Be it done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) He challenges us to actively engage our wills to choose to live by His ways and to follow Him. He appeals to our wills when He says, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)
Many believers languish in lifestyles of passivity and aimlessness but the Lord empowers us to make choices and to be active. He empowers us to be people of will and people of action. “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling for God is at work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12)
Thirdly the Spirit urges us use our wills to resist evil thoughts and evil spirits.’ “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
3. Light For Our Imaginations
The imagination is another area of the mind, which we can bring more fully from darkness to light. On the Day of Pentecost Peter quoted the prophet Joel ‘your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions.” (Acts 2:17) He saw the Holy Spirit fulfilling Joel’s prophecy by firing the imagination of men and women, young and old. The Holy Spirit awakens our imagination and makes it the faculty of hope. Dreams and visions are the language of hope and expectation.
We can resist negative imaginations of fear, anxiety, dread, unclean fantasies etc, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” (2 Cor. 10:5) The light of the Word equips us to actively engage our imaginations in a positive way. We can receive visions and dream dreams that are in harmony with God’s ways.
Inspired imaginations break us free from old patterns of action and inaction. Dreams help us conceive plans that God will fulfill or which we can achieve with His help. It is here in this realm of the imagination especially that the prophetic ministry operates.
A dream received by Peter brought the gospel beyond the limits of traditional Judaism. Dreams break us out of old moulds and patterns into new dimensions in our personal and community lives.
When our imaginations are in darkness we live in despair and hopelessness have little power to create and innovate and easily become bound to tradition and dead form.
The spirit led imagination on the other hand is released from the darkness of despair into the light of hope and creativity. We know that God’s plans and dreams for us are always “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
4. Light For Emotions
The light of the gospel not only empowers our wills, intellects and imaginations but it also awakens and brings light to our emotions. The darkness leaves its mark on all of our emotions. The hurts of life and our negative reactions to these hurts have scarred and marred practically everyone with dark emotions of rejection fear anxiety, self-hatred, inferiority shame etc.
Jesus quoted the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me for the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted.” (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18)
Here He declared that part of His ministry is to heal broken hearts i.e. to heal emotions. Negative emotions and scars in our emotions can be healed through the application of the blood of Jesus for forgiveness and cleansing and
the infilling of the Holy Spirit to communicate God’s love.
Anything in our lives that we feel ashamed of can be brought to the light of God for cleansing & forgiveness.
In most cases of negative emotions evil (dark) spirits are, at work to reinforce shame, guilt, envy, self-hatred, bitterness etc. These can be expelled in the Name of Jesus from our lives. Because Jesus has already delivered us from the power of darkness the presence of any dark spirits trying to influence our emotions is illegal. The believer can take authority over them and command them to leave.
Anything in our lives that we feel ashamed of can be brought to the light of God for cleansing and forgiveness. “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. …. If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5,7)
We can all learn to:
- walk in the light of a full understanding of God’s will, revealed by His Word,
- recover full sovereignty over our lives and choose the Lord and His will,
- walk in healthy emotions and well being and
- to be filled with hope and vision in the area of their imaginations.
How liberated we will be when the Spirit and the Word have done their full work in every area of our minds.