The arrival of autumn truly points to winter coming. I was reminded of this as Jack, our dog, and I headed out the door at 6:00am for our first walk of the day. All through the summer months the sun would be shining brightly by this time, but winter is coming. Days are shorter, darkness greets us in the morning and tells us to close our curtains much earlier in the evenings.
Jack has never been fond of the dark. We believe this might be because in his early months of life in America he was a throw-away puppy, living in a ditch in the countryside. He most likely encountered deer, opossum, raccoon, snakes, lots of coyotes, and perhaps even a bear or wildcat. From the time we rescued him we detected he didn’t like the dark. We have night lights in our hallways and the living room just for Jack.
As I opened the door this morning to the waiting world, Jack stepped out, stopped, his body alert, eyes on the lookout. Anything could be lurking in the dark. I patted him and urged him on towards the street that was illuminated. As soon as we stepped into the light, Jack picked up his pace, and enjoyment of the morning walk became evident by his relaxed manner in his sniffing pursuits.
As we made our way around the block I began to think of the battle between the dark and the light in our spiritual worlds. When we are steadily walking in the light of God’s direction and pursuing His character likeness, we feel at ease, peace flows. Alternatively, when we are tempted by some sin and veer toward the darkness, an uneasiness pricks our whole being. Like nerves tingling in frightful sensation should we see a car racing toward us, our senses warn us to get out of the way.
Such reaction should be ours every time sin comes slithering across our paths inviting us to visit for a while. Shivers of caution will tell us to run. The Holy Spirit will speak clearly in warning. Even so, we can ignore the plea to turn back to the light, or we can continue on into the darkness. Our spiritual eyesight will grow accustomed to the sin we find lurking in shadowed areas, but peace will fade, gradually at first, then it will disappear altogether. Fear kicks joy aside. Anger grows. Hope becomes a thing of the past.
Walking in spiritual darkness is never fun — never. It entraps us, betrays us, steals peace, kills hope; not some of the time but all of the time. We must take heed to Peter’s warning in I Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
IfJack has the good sense to beware what lurks in the dark, shouldn’t we?