Where is this precarious place? At the back corner of the church. When the sun goes down and people are leaving their Bible study meeting they have to walk through this very dark area to get to their cars, and there is a valid cause for concern.
Is there a way to fix the problem? So it seems. Not far from this corner is a light that is not working. Replacing the bulb should allow enough light to hit that area and take away the anxiety of those traveling that way. And so, we replaced the bulb. But, the problem wasn’t fixed. It seems the problem is more than just a bad light bulb. We’ll have to look deeper to find the real problem. And we will, it just takes more time and effort.
There are times when we become aware of the dark places in our spiritual lives, the places in our heart and soul where the light of Christ is not able to shine. These are places of long-standing anger, jealousy, lust, adultery, gluttony. These are places we don’t want to talk about most times because we enjoy thing like watching mindless television – even though subject matter and values and language glorify behaviors God says are hazardous to our souls. We avoid conversations about our rough language, our tendency to gossip, our desire to keep up with our neighbors by buying newer and better.
We know these places are dark and most times we just let them go and ignore the issue. We’d really rather not talk about them. But, once in a while, we begin to see the problem and the danger of the darkness. And so we decide to do something about it. We decide to go to church more. We decide to help with the latest mission project. We decide to read the Bible everyday. We decide to change the light bulb.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes we just need to get back on track. But, there are other times when it’s more than a light bulb problem. Sometimes the quick fix doesn’t work. Sometimes we have to go deeper and realize that our connection to the power source has a problem. It’s one thing to go to church more, it is another to offer yourself in worship – heart and mind, body and soul. It’s a good thing to volunteer to help, it is another to serve others with the hope that they will see Jesus Christ more than they see you. It’s not a bad thing to read the Bible, but it is much more to seek God’s truth and open yourself to be transformed by that truth.
The problem with the dark places within us can be more than a light bulb problem. Sure, it may be that we’re just not as attentive to our connection with Jesus and getting back on track with our prayer and study can dismiss the darkness. But there are other times when we have to go deeper, times when we really look at our relationship with God, times when we have to consider that maybe we’re avoiding those dark places because we like them.
After all, if we sincerely begin to address the issue of the foul language we use then we know we’ll have to make that change. And if we make that change we won’t sound like or fit in with some of our close friends and coworkers, and that would be awkward. If we admit that our need to keep up with the Joneses is a real issue then we know we will have to learn to live with less, and part of us likes the lifestyle we have. If a person’s addiction to pornography is really going to be confronted they’ll soon realize God will call them to confess to another person – their spouse or a good friend – and that would be humiliating and risky. Deeper problems call for a more costly solution.
So, yeah, if the quick fix doesn’t work, we may just choose to let the dark places stay dark. We’ll live with the reality that those places are hazardous to our spiritual well-being and we’ll just hope for the best. Sure, those dark spots will no doubt cause ongoing problems in our attempt to know God, but maybe it will work out. The deeper the problem, the harder the solution and the easier it is to put off doing the work.
But, once you do the hard work and the light comes on, you realize how much better life is when the darkness is gone.
Where are your dark spots?
Is the problem more than just the light bulb?
How ready are you to discover the better life and do the hard work it takes to live more and more in the light of Christ?
You know it’s worth the effort.
You know deep down it’s what you long for.
Holy high-five to you,