We hosted our family’s annual mini-reunion this summer. It was fun to have my parents, my sisters, and their families all together again. One game we like to play is hide-and-seek in the dark. (Yes, we have numerous teens/tweens in the family.) I live in a rural area which provides a lot of room for such a game.
People changed into dark-colored hoodies and pants. When it was our turn to hide, we sought out the shadows to take cover in, blending as best we could into the darkness. As the evening turned to night, it became more and more difficult to find each other.
Once the darkness settled in, we used our phones’ flashlights to help find people. During what became our last round, I finally had to yell, “I give up. I can’t find you!” (Truth be told, it was way past my bedtime, and I was tired.)
We laughed as the last people stepped out of the darkness revealing their hiding spots. We had walked past them numerous times without the foggiest idea they were within an arm’s reach of us. It’s amazing how helpful a little light can be. There’s definitely a difference between light and darkness. Well,... there should be anyway.
Last week I decided I would start reading Genesis. I planned on reading a whole chapter, but Genesis 1:3-4 stopped me dead in my tracks. I read: “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” (NIV)
Like you, I’ve read those verses many times before. This time two things stuck out to me. My first takeaway: I guess what actually caught my attention was what the Bible DIDN’T say. Immediately after creating light, God saw that it, the LIGHT, was good. It DIDN’T say that God created light AND darkness and saw that they were good. He made a distinction between them.
My second takeaway: After God created light and saw that it was good, He separated it from the darkness. From the time of their creation in nature, God separated them. Matthew 25:31-46 describes an End Time event in which Jesus will separate believers (“the light of the world” - Matt. 5:14) from the unrighteous (“darkness”). Light and darkness exist spiritually as well. They, too, will experience a distinct separation.
Unlike a hide-and-seek game, believers shouldn’t be trying to blend in with the darkness or hide in the shadows. “...what fellowship can light have with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14b, NIV. But it happens sometimes, doesn’t it?
Believers can purposefully or ignorantly wrap themselves in dark clothing, diminishing their chances of reflecting Christ’s light and standing out. We do that when we incorporate the world’s mentalities, views, or behaviors into our lives. If we aren’t familiar with what the Bible says, we may get confused about where the lines between light and darkness are when things seemingly sound good, nice, or beneficial.
Remember: God has never had a problem recognizing what is “light” and truly “good.” We need to stick close to Him, allowing His Word and Spirit to guide us into all Truth as we are warned not to label light and darkness incorrectly. It’s humorous to think of confusing the two in nature, but it’s happening right now morally and spiritually.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20, NIV
So what about “gray areas” then? Tell me - how do you make the color gray? You mix white (light) and black (darkness). When I think of it in those terms, it’s clearer what my response should be in those things. If you’re dabbling in some “gray areas,” might I encourage you to stop hanging out in the shadows? What business as “light” do you have being there?
I’m hoping as believers we can remember we are the “light.” We were meant to radiate Jesus. We can’t do that very well if we’re lying face down in the tall grass, hiding underneath an enclosed trailer. (Yeah, I didn’t find that person for a while.) So can we do a self-check occasionally? Are we trying to blend in, or are we positioning ourselves to emit Christ’s light? Have we stirred in so much of the world’s characteristics that we’ve become an unnoteworthy shade of gray both in our identity and our actions?
I know God can find each of His children wherever they may be, even if they’re hanging out in the shadows - He knows all the “hiding spots.” But what I’m really wondering is: “Can you find me?” I hope we both stick out to others like a sore thumb, or maybe better yet, like a light in the darkness.
Lord, give us Your discernment and help us to see things clearly for what they are. Help us to remove any darkness we have incorporated into our lives. Give us the courage to step out of hiding and say, “Here I am,” so we may boldly be the light You’ve created us to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.