Please head back and check out Part 1 before reading on!
The enemy would love for us to embrace darkness because it’s easier to deceive people in the dark. The devil lies to us in the dark, about God, about ourselves and about each other, leading us down a path of confusion, doubt, guilt and shame and it’s only when you turn the light on that you find you’re somewhere totally different to where you thought.
Negative thoughts and emotions are part of this earthly life. They come and they go and trying to deny them is not all that healthy. We do need to engage with our negative emotions. Emotions are a gift from God and part of how we reflect His image but we can’t allow them to run our lives. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows and we shouldn’t pretend that it is but there is a Sun and it does make rainbows out of the rain.
When Darkness Tastes Sweet
Why do we carry this darkness around with us and allow it influence how we think and what we do? Is there anything we can do about it?
Someone once said you can’t stop a bird from landing on your head but you can stop it from building a nest. We have to be intentional in what we focus our minds on. This may be easier said than done but I didn’t say it was easy.
I think for me, music is one of the main ways I can get wooed by darkness so I have to watch what I listen to. If I feed my negative emotions on music long enough they actually grow and begin to colour my worldview and even my relationship with God.
My taste for light and “positive sounding” music wains and I become more averse to it like a vampire in daylight! “It’s too cheesy! It’s too cliché! It’s too…happy!”
This even goes into the realm of worship music! When I find myself only loving the slow, melancholy and frankly depressing worship songs over the joyful, celebratory ones that I can dance to I know something might be up.
I can convince myself that these songs are more “real” or more “honest” or more in tune with “where I’m at” but when I start talking like that I may have forgotten that joy is actually part of the fruit of the Spirit and an aspect of the kingdom. These songs might help me with where I’m at and that’s cool but if I use them as an anchor to keep me where I’m at or if they don’t help me move forward from there, I may have a problem.
When we prefer to live by this definition of “real” instead of pursuing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we need to recognise we’ve stepped into deception somewhere.
We are supposed to be full of joy and peace. Does that mean we’re supposed to feel happy all the time? No. Does it mean we force the Sunday morning smile when we’re going through a tough time? Heck No. Does it mean we’re sinning if we’re struggling with depression or anxiety or some other mental illness that affects us emotionally? All the No.
It means that we have to recognise that we’re in a war, our mind is a battlefield and we need to
know how to fight and the first rule of combat is that you need to know your enemy.
Darkness is not your friend. It’s a trap.
If you want to battle darkness while still embracing it and actively feeding it in your life, you’re kidding yourself and you may need to repent.
Whoa! Hold on! Yes I used the “R” word but remember what it means! It means turn the other way and change the way you think. Walking further into darkness is not the plan. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Too many of us are walking in circles in there! The plan is to walk with God and He is in the light.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
– 1John 1:5-7 (my emphasis)
My encouragement to you is to stay in the fight and don’t become a prisoner of war. Gritting your teeth alone won’t do it but the determination to hold on to Christ comes from the Holy Spirit and we can certainly ask Him for it! Pray for friends who will be like armour-bearers, ready to throw you your weapons as and when you need them and give you the Word of the Lord at the right time.
Receiving encouragement can be hard in these times but we need brothers and sisters who will help us carry the truth when our arms are too weak to hold it up ourselves. Unfortunately these are the people we usually run from when we’re in a bad mood. They spew Bible verses at us and try and pray for us! What horrible folk! Seriously though, when you’ve sat in the dark for a while and someone turns a light on, it hurts! At first. But you adjust. And in the end it’s better.
Sometimes joy can be hard to stomach when we’re sick with despair but it’s like taking medicine. Sometimes you have to force it down and endure the after taste in order for it to do its work .
Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below or on Facebook!