Have you ever opened a dark closet and had the shadow (darkness) totally black out the room? No, probably not. Darkness isn’t like that. It cannot “take over” light no matter how meager is the light.
Light, on the other hand, is peculiar in that unlike darkness, light needs a power source. The sun isn’t running on nothing, neither does the light in your home, or the display on your smart phone. It has to have a source of power or fuel. The sun’s primary source is helium in the form of a nuclear reaction, light in our homes generated by resources at the power plant, and our smart phone from chemical reactions in the battery.
So what, you might ask? Why are you telling me this?
The Bible uses the analogy of light and darkness frequently, and we can clarify our own spiritual understanding by exploring this concept. As with everything I write about spiritual topics, test what I say by the Bible because it is the final standard, not I.
The Power Source
When no light is present, there is darkness. When there is light, darkness retreats. We as Christians are to shine forth light. Jesus said He is the source of light:“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12, HCSB) As I’m sure you know, evil is often depicted as darkness.
Jesus Christ says He is the source of light, the source of power. After salvation we are “plugged into” a relationship with God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit).1
So what, what does this have to do with light and darkness? We are connected to Jesus. Another way to explain this connection is “in Christ,” in fellowship, or “in the light”—such as walking in the light. This is how the Bible describes our power access.
At salvation, when we trust in Jesus we have fellowship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13). The Holy Spirit lives in us and He is our power source. “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you…” (Acts 1:8) The Greek word translated as power is dynamis—which means the ability, or power, intrinsic to the subjects nature—from which we get the word dynamite. However, instead of an explosive power it’s more like “atomic energy.”2 In other words, power is inseparable from the Holy Spirit.
The Connection Broken and Restored
If we have sin in our lives the connection or relationship with God is interrupted. We haven’t lost salvation, but the family relationship doesn’t have good communication or connection. Why is this?
God is holy. Holy means “set apart.” God cannot have any sin—which is unclean—no matter how small, anywhere near Him (Lev. 19:2). In order for us to have a right relationship with Him then we must be holy—like Him. In other words, if we have no sin in our lives, and we are connected.
However, if we have sin (even one small sin) in our lives He cannot have connection with us. Our “power source” has been “cut off.” He is holy; when we sin, we aren’t. If we’ve been cut off from the power source we cannot keep darkness at bay because we cannot shine His light. Sin is a form of darkness (1 Jn 2:11). How then do we resolve this problem?
We confess our sin. Sin is doing something God says is wrong. We can know what is sin because the Bible tells us. The verse in the Bible which talks about this is 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (HCSB). By agreeing with God we have sinned, He will send the sin away—even the ones we don’t know about!
Once we are clean of sin we are again connected (the fellowship is restored) or “in Christ,” and we are once again powered by the Holy Spirit.3 Once we are again connected to the Holy Spirit’s power we can be the light He intends us to be. Darkness won’t be able to overcome the light which is in us.
If Jesus isn’t our power source, we are ineffective and not be able to fend off darkness or cause its retreat. We are not able to stand against darkness if we have no light. This works on a personal as well as national level—the Church as a whole. Jesus didn’t give us His power to be disconnected from Him but connected.
If you’re not connected to Jesus, you’re overcome by darkness. Even though He is still in us, our fellowship with Him is very much like a switch—there is no in-between—we’re either connected or not. I encourage you to be mindful of your spiritual state and remain connected to Him. “This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit.” (1 Jn 4:13, HCSB) He will prompt you to “reconnect” if you have done anything wrong.
This next sentence is somewhat of a mind bender and you might want to read it a couple of times. Jesus wants us and intends for us to live our life in connection to His life (He can show Himself to everyone through us).
The choice is yours, but I urge you to “get connected!” Your life will never be the same.
Two well-written books on this topic are The Holy Spirit by Billy Graham and The Divine Comforter by J. Dwight Pentecost. They go into all aspects of the Holy Spirit unlike my specific point in this post.
Please let me know what you think, if you have any questions, or if you’ve had a personal experience with the Holy Spirit you would like to share.
2 J. Dwight Pentecost, The Divine Comforter: The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 101.
3 The Holy Spirit is a person, too, but I’m not focusing on this aspect of Him.