Divine Light Dispels Darkness!
“It is Jehovah that makes my darkness shine.”—2 SAMUEL 22:29.
1. How does light relate to life?
“GOD proceeded to say: ‘Let light come to be.’ Then there came to be light.” (Genesis 1:3) With those momentous words, the creation account in Genesis identifies Jehovah as the source of light, without which life on earth would be impossible. Jehovah is also the source of spiritual light, which is vital for our guidance on life’s roadway. (Psalm 43:3) King David showed the close relationship between spiritual light and life when he wrote: “With you is the source of life; by light from you we can see light.”—Psalm 36:9.
2. As Paul showed, light is closely associated with what?
2 Some 1,000 years after David’s time, the apostle Paul referred to the creation account. Writing to the Christian congregation in Corinth, he said: “God is he who said: ‘Let the light shine out of darkness.’” Paul then showed that spiritual light is closely associated with knowledge from Jehovah when he added: “He has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) How does this light reach us?
The Bible—Transmitter of Light
3. Through the Bible, what light does Jehovah provide?
3 Jehovah conveys spiritual light primarily through his inspired Word, the Bible. So as we study the Bible and take in knowledge from God, we are allowing his light to shine toward us. Through the Bible, Jehovah sheds light on his purposes and tells us how we can do his will. This gives purpose to our lives and helps to satisfy our spiritual needs. (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Matthew 5:3) Jesus emphasized that we must care for our spiritual needs when, quoting the Mosaic Law, he said: “It is written, ‘Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.’”—Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3.
4. In what way is Jesus “the light of the world”?
4 Jesus is closely identified with spiritual light. Indeed, he spoke of himself as “the light of the world” and said: “He that follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light of life.” (John 8:12) This expression helps us to understand the central role Jesus has in conveying Jehovah’s truth to mankind. If we are to avoid the darkness and walk in God’s light, we must listen to all that Jesus says and follow closely his example and teachings as recorded in the Bible.
5. What responsibility did Jesus’ followers have after his death?
5 A few days prior to his death, Jesus, again referring to himself as light, told his disciples: “The light will be among you a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness does not overpower you; and he that walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, exercise faith in the light, in order to become sons of light.” (John 12:35, 36) Those who became sons of light learned the Bible’s “pattern of healthful words.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 14) They then used these healthful words to draw other honesthearted individuals out of the darkness into God’s light.
6. What basic truth about light and darkness do we find at 1 John 1:5?
6 The apostle John wrote: “God is light and there is no darkness at all in union with him.” (1 John 1:5) Notice the contrast here between light and darkness. Spiritual light originates with Jehovah, and spiritual darkness cannot be associated with him. Who, then, is the source of the darkness?
Spiritual Darkness—The Source
7. Who is behind the world’s spiritual darkness, and what influence does he have?
7 The apostle Paul spoke of “the god of this system of things.” By that expression, he meant Satan the Devil. He went on to say that this one “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Many profess belief in God; yet, a growing number of them do not believe in a Devil. Why? They are unwilling to accept that some evil, superhuman power could possibly exist and influence the way they think. Nevertheless, as Paul shows, the Devil does exist and does influence people so that they cannot see the light of truth. Satan’s power to influence human thinking is seen in the prophetic description of him as “the one . . . who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) As a consequence of Satan’s activities, the condition foretold by the prophet Isaiah now applies to all mankind except for those who serve Jehovah: “Look! darkness itself will cover the earth, and thick gloom the national groups.”—Isaiah 60:2.
8. In what ways do those in spiritual darkness show that they are disoriented?
8 In dense darkness it is impossible to see anything. One easily becomes lost or disoriented. Similarly, those in spiritual darkness lack perception and soon become disoriented in a spiritual sense. They can lose the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, good from bad. The prophet Isaiah spoke of those in such darkness when he wrote: “Woe to those who are saying that good is bad and bad is good, those who are putting darkness for light and light for darkness, those who are putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) Those who dwell in spiritual darkness are being influenced by the god of the darkness, Satan the Devil, and consequently they are alienated from the source of light and life.—Ephesians 4:17-19.
From Darkness to Light—The Challenge
9. Explain how wrongdoers have an affinity with darkness both in a literal and in a spiritual sense.
9 Faithful Job pointed out the affinity that wrongdoers have with literal darkness when he said: “As for the eye of the adulterer, it has watched for evening darkness, saying, ‘No eye will behold me!’ And over his face he puts a covering.” (Job 24:15) Wrongdoers are also in spiritual darkness, and such darkness can be overpowering. The apostle Paul said that sexual immorality, theft, greediness, drunkenness, reviling, and extortion are common among those ensnared in that darkness. But any who come to the light of God’s Word can change. That such a change is possible Paul makes clear in his letter to the Corinthians. Many Corinthian Christians used to practice works of darkness, yet Paul told them: “But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”—1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
10, 11. (a) How did Jesus show consideration for a man whose sight he restored? (b) Why do many not choose the light?
10 When a person comes out of dense darkness into the light, his eyes will likely need a little time to adjust. At Bethsaida, Jesus cured a blind man but kindly did so in stages. “He took the blind man by the hand, brought him outside the village, and, having spit upon his eyes, he laid his hands upon him and began to ask him: ‘Do you see anything?’ And the man looked up and began saying: ‘I see men, because I observe what seem to be trees, but they are walking about.’ Then he laid his hands again upon the man’s eyes, and the man saw clearly, and he was restored, and he was seeing everything distinctly.” (Mark 8:23-25) Apparently, Jesus restored the man’s sight gradually so that the man could adjust himself to the bright sunlight. We can imagine the joy of that man when he was able to see.
11 However, the joy that man felt is more than matched by the joy of those who are helped to emerge, step-by-step, from spiritual darkness into the light of truth. When we behold their joy, we may wonder why more are not attracted to the light. Jesus gives the reason: “This is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. For he that practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, in order that his works may not be reproved.” (John 3:19, 20) Yes, many love practicing “vile things”—such as immorality, oppression, lying, defrauding, and stealing—and Satan’s spiritual darkness is a perfect environment for them to do as they wish.
Making Progress in the Light
12. In what ways have we been benefited by coming to the light?
12 Since we came to a knowledge of the light, what changes have we seen in ourselves? It is sometimes good to look back and trace the spiritual progress we have made. What bad habits have we discarded? What problems in our life have we been able to put right? How have our plans for the future changed? In Jehovah’s strength and with the aid of his holy spirit, we can continue to make changes in our personality and pattern of thinking that will show that we are responding to the light. (Ephesians 4:23, 24) Paul puts it this way: “You were once darkness, but you are now light in connection with the Lord. Go on walking as children of light, for the fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:8, 9) Allowing ourselves to be guided by Jehovah’s light gives us a hope and a purpose as well as enhances the lives of those around us. And what joy our making such changes brings to Jehovah’s heart!—Proverbs 27:11.
13. How can we show our gratitude for Jehovah’s light, and what is needed for such a course?
13 We show our gratitude for the happier life that we enjoy by reflecting Jehovah’s light—sharing what we have learned from the Bible with our family members, friends, and neighbors. (Matthew 5:12-16; 24:14) To those who refuse to listen, our preaching along with our exemplary Christian life course becomes a reproof. Paul explains: “Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; and quit sharing with them in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving them.” (Ephesians 5:10, 11) Helping others to abandon the darkness and choose the light calls for courage on our part. More important, it calls for compassion and concern for others and a heartfelt desire to share the light of truth with them for their eternal benefit.—Matthew 28:19, 20.
Beware of Decoy Lights!
14. In the matter of light, what warning should we heed?
14 To those at sea during the hours of darkness, any light is a welcome sight. In times past, fires were lit on the rocky cliffs of England to indicate where refuge from storms could be found. Ships’ crews were grateful to be guided by these lights into safe harbors. Some fires, though, were decoys. Instead of finding a harbor, many vessels were misled and were wrecked on the rocky shoreline, where their cargoes were stolen. In this deceptive world, we must be careful not to be drawn to decoy lights that can lure us to spiritual shipwreck. “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light,” we are told. Likewise, his servants, including apostates, are “deceitful workers” who “also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness.” If we entertain the false reasonings of such ones, our confidence in Jehovah’s Word of truth, the Bible, can be weakened and our faith can die.—2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Timothy 1:19.
15. What will help us to stay on the road leading to life?
15 The psalmist wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.” (Psalm 119:105) Yes, the ‘cramped road leading off into life’ is clearly illuminated by our loving God, Jehovah, “whose will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (Matthew 7:14; 1 Timothy 2:4) Applying Bible precepts will safeguard us from wandering off that cramped road into the pathways of darkness. Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) As we grow spiritually, we are taught by God’s Word. We can, in the light of God’s Word, reprove ourselves or, if needed, be reproved by loving shepherds in the congregation. Likewise, we can set things straight and humbly accept discipline in righteousness to keep our feet on the road to life.
Appreciatively Walk in the Light
16. How can we show appreciation for Jehovah’s wonderful provision of light?
16 How can we show appreciation for Jehovah’s wonderful provision of light? John chapter 9 tells us that when Jesus healed a man born blind, the man was moved to express his appreciation. How? He put faith in Jesus as the Son of God and publicly identified him as “a prophet.” Moreover, he bravely spoke out against those who tried to belittle Jesus’ miracle. (John 9:17, 30-34) The apostle Peter calls anointed members of the Christian congregation “a people for special possession.” Why? Because they have the same grateful spirit as the man who was born blind and who was healed. They show appreciation for Jehovah, their Benefactor, by ‘declaring abroad the excellencies of the one that called them out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ (1 Peter 2:9; Colossians 1:13) Those with an earthly hope have the same thankful spirit, and they support their anointed brothers in the public declaration of Jehovah’s “excellencies.” What an inestimable privilege God grants to imperfect humans!
17, 18. (a) What is the responsibility of each individual? (b) In imitation of Timothy, what is each Christian encouraged to avoid?
17 Having a heartfelt appreciation for the light of truth is vital. Remember, none of us are born knowing the truth. Some learn it as adults, and they quickly see the superiority of the light over the darkness. Others have the great privilege of being reared by God-fearing parents. For such, it might be easy to take the light for granted. One Witness whose parents were serving Jehovah before she was born admits that it took her much time and effort to grasp the full significance and importance of the truths she had been taught from infancy. Young or old, each one of us needs to cultivate a deep appreciation for the truth that Jehovah has revealed.
18 The young man Timothy had been taught “the holy writings” from his infancy, but it was only by exerting himself in his ministry that he gained maturity as a Christian. (2 Timothy 3:15) He was then in a position to assist the apostle Paul, who exhorted him: “Do your utmost to present yourself approved to God, a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of the truth aright.” May we all, like Timothy, avoid doing anything that might make us ashamed—or make Jehovah ashamed of us!—2 Timothy 2:15.
19. (a) Like David, what do all of us have reason to say? (b) What will be discussed in the following article?
19 We have every reason to praise Jehovah, who gave us the light of his truth. Like King David, we say: “You are my lamp, O Jehovah, and it is Jehovah that makes my darkness shine.” (2 Samuel 22:29) Still, we dare not become complacent, as this could lead to our slipping back into the darkness from which we have been rescued. Therefore, the following article will help us to evaluate the importance we give to divine truth in our lives.
What Have You Learned?
• How does Jehovah provide spiritual enlightenment?
• What challenge does the spiritual darkness surrounding us present?
• What dangers must we avoid?
• How can we demonstrate our gratitude for the light of truth?
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Jehovah is the source of physical and spiritual light
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As Jesus healed a blind man gradually, so he helps us to emerge from spiritual darkness
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Being misled by Satan’s false lights results in spiritual shipwreck