Maybe our shock at the depth of the encroaching midnight comes from years of efforts to either (1) isolate ourselves from the conflict or (2) blend in, unnoticed by the world. However, the battle is coming to us. May we pray with the first church in Acts 4:29: “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.”
I slipped between the boulders and descended into the crack. Below me, I could hear my eight-year-old daughter whimpering. The darkness of the cave closed around us. “I can’t see anything,” my daughter cried. Of course not. It’s a cave. It’s supposed to be dark. Why would anyone be surprised by darkness down here?
Reacting to the Changing Face of Darkness
We live in a dark world. The society around us has rejected God who made them and the Savior who came to save them. They do what is right in their own eyes. They update their truth and adjust their science whenever needed to meet the godless cause of the moment. Then, they absorb these changes like a Windows computer receiving the next update, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the new truth contradicts the obsolete truth they vigorously defended not long before. The news media, especially since the outbreak of the coronavirus, abounds with examples of the changing landscape around us.
With each shift in viewpoints on science, morals, anti-pandemic measures, and social discord, Christians reel in surprise. How could people think this way? How could culture shift so suddenly? Most distressingly, how can long-accepted Christian values seemingly switch from laudable virtues to evils that must be swept from the earth? We live from shock to shock.
Adjusting Our Expectations
Why are we surprised? We should expect that people who walk in darkness would believe outright lies and suppress the truth. How did Jesus go from the popularity of the Triumphal Entry to the condemnation of the cross in one short week? Those in darkness justified their evil deeds, convinced the masses the atrocity was necessary, and then, to fit their narrative, attempted to rewrite history after Jesus rose from the dead. The devil’s playbook hasn’t changed. Why are we so surprised?
Jesus explains in John 3:19-21: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” We should not be surprised that those who walk in darkness resist the light of the truth, twist facts to fit a narrative, and redefine darkness as light to make themselves the hero of their cause.
So, how do we avoid living from shock to shock? At the risk of gross oversimplification in a short blog article, here are some thoughts to consider from Ephesians 6:
1. Know the Truth.
When the agents of darkness and their accomplices employ the tactics of the evil one, ready yourself by knowing the God’s Word. Learn to discern truth from error. Don’t let others interpret the world for you. Use the eyes God gave you and evaluate what you see with your own brain in the light of God’s revelation. The first piece of the armor of God is the belt of truth.
2. Live the Truth.
Act consistently with God’s Word. Do not change with the shifting values around you. Live righteously according to the eternal standard of God’s character. What was wrong twenty years ago did not suddenly become right today. Wear the breastplate of righteousness.