Arise Out Of Darkness and Shine

Introduction

Isaiah Receives a Revelation of Darkness

The book of Isaiah is a very important book in the Old Testament. It is a book full of prophecies, revelations and glimpses of Jesus Christ hundreds of years before Jesus came to the earth. For example in Isaiah 9:1-7, the birth of Jesus is prophesised. Isaiah 53:1-12 plainly and fully describes the sufferings Jesus would go through.

In Isaiah 60:1-2, the prophet Isaiah wrote about a revelation God gave him where he saw darkness covering the earth, darkness covering people. The darkness Isaiah saw was not a physical or natural darkness like the kind we see when night comes. It was a spiritual darkness. In the midst of this thick darkness, he saw a light and glory coming to separate certain people from this darkness. Though the name Jesus isn’t mentioned in this verse, Jesus is in fact the light and glory Isaiah saw which came to separate people from the darkness in the earth. In John 12:41, John actually tells us that Jesus was the light Isaiah saw shining brightly in the midst of darkness. Jesus Himself in John 12:46 while speaking about His life and ministry stated that “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness”.

I pray that today the light and glory of the risen Christ will fill our lives and every form of darkness will be removed.

Darkness Comes In Levels and Degrees  

In a typical day we can see that darkness comes in levels or degrees. From 6pm to 7.50 pm in the evening it starts getting dark. The sky isn’t completely dark but it’s not as bright as it was around 1pm or 4pm. Then from 8pm to 4am it gets dark, really dark.  In the same way in the spiritual realm we have different levels or degrees of darkness. The Bible uses the phrase outer darkness to describe the place people who are not fit to enter into the kingdom of God are thrown into (Matthew 8:12, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:30). 2 Peter 2:17 talks of blackest darkness as a place that has been reserved for false teachers and prophets. Several bible passages talk about a day of total darkness which will be part of the signs that will precede the coming of the Lord (Joel 2:28-31, Acts 2:20). Isaiah 60:2 talks of darkness so thick you can feel it. Colossians 1:13 talks about the domain of darkness. In Matthew 4:16, we see Jesus bringing deliverance to people in different levels of darkness. The verse talks about a great light coming to the people living in darkness. That’s one form of darkness. Then it goes on to say a light has dawned for those living in the land of the shadow of death. That’s another form of darkness. I pray that the light of Christ will saturate, fill and beam all over our lives, this place and the entire earth bringing deliverance to everyone living in darkness or living in the land of the shadow of death.

Light Dispels Darkness

Whenever there’s darkness in whatever form or degree, there’s only one thing that can eliminate or chase away the darkness and that is light. The darkness we see at 4am in the morning is removed as soon as the day breaks and morning light steps in. The darkness we see when there’s a power failure is removed by using a rechargeable lamp, inverter, switching on your generator or by electricity being restored. Only one thing can get rid of darkness and that is light. Jesus the Light of the world has come to dispel every trace and form of darkness in our lives, family, church and nation (John 1:5, John 1:9, John 8:12). Once the light of Christ steps in, darkness flees, darkness gives way, darkness is banished. Today every form and trace of darkness will be dismissed as the light of Christ shines on us.

Four Types of Spiritual Darkness

Let’s now go back to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning thick or gross darkness covering the earth and covering people. What exactly is this darkness? There are four types of spiritual darkness. They are:

  1. Spiritual Blindness:

Isaiah 43:8 explains what spiritual blindness is. It is a situation where a person’s physical eyes are functioning properly but when it comes to seeing what God is showing the person or seeing God as He truly is, the person has difficulty. Nothing is wrong with the person’s physical eyes, something is wrong with the person’s spiritual eyes. The person’s spiritual eyes aren’t open.

Have you ever wondered how some people who are physically blind have made outstanding strides and accomplishments that people who have their two eyes functioning well have not been able to attain? It is actually with the eyes of our heart, the eyes of our understanding (Ephesians 1:18), with spiritual illumination and insight (Daniel 5:14), with the eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1, John 11:40), that we are able to attain greatness, fulfill God’s purpose for our lives and enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:9).

Mark 8:22-26 is a story of a man’s healing from blindness that took place in two stages. These two stages can be likened to what happens to a person’s spiritual eyes. Initially when this man was before Jesus, he couldn’t see Jesus even though Jesus was right before him. This is the state everyone is until the person surrenders his or her life to Jesus, accepts Him as Lord and becomes born-again. When a person doesn’t have Christ in the person’s life, the eyes of the person’s mind is blind to Christ; he or she can’t see the light and glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4).

When Jesus touched the eyes of this man, his eyes were opened and he could see Jesus but he wasn’t seeing Jesus as he really was. The man himself said “I see people”. So he could now see Jesus but he wasn’t seeing Jesus as He truly is. He saw Jesus and how Jesus looked to him was like a tree walking around. This is the second stage of spiritual blindness and this applies to believers. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, our eyes are now open to the light and glory of Christ however there is a condition in which a believer can’t see God as He really is. This is spiritual blindness.

In Luke 24:13-31, Jesus after His resurrection walked a good distance on the road to Emmaus with two men conversing and discussing important spiritual matters with them, but they didn’t know it was Jesus until their eyes were opened and they recognized Him as Jesus, our Saviour. I pray that the light of Christ will shine on the eyes of our heart and we will always see Jesus as He truly is, we will begin to recognize Him and His voice as He speaks to us and reveals things to us.

Spiritual Blindness Weakens a Person’s Faith and Spirit

Genesis 21:14-19 is an account of how spiritual blindness plays out in everyday practical life. Hagar and her son were crying for water. The very thing Hagar needed was right before her but she couldn’t see it, didn’t see it until God opened her eyes. Imagine the impression and perception Hagar would have had of God if God didn’t open her eyes to the well of water right before her. Her faith and spirit would have been weakened for she would have believed that when the children of God are in distress and cry out to God, He turns His back on them, He is distant and uninterested in their plight. But this isn’t true as Isaiah 49:15 makes us understand that even if a mother can turn her back on her children, God can never turn His back on the cries of His children.

Hagar would also have believed if God didn’t open her eyes that God can’t meet the basic necessities of life his children need. Hagar wasn’t asking for a luxury or flimsy desire. All she wanted was water. Matthew 6:26-30 tells us that if God can take care of the birds of the air and grass won’t He take care of us who are more valuable to Him. Romans 8:32 tells us that if God did not spare His own Son, why won’t He graciously give us all things we need for life. But many times because our spiritual eyes aren’t open, we can’t see the ‘well of water’ that’s right before us and so it looks like God isn’t hearing or answering our prayers, God isn’t concerned with what we are going through, God is not doing anything to meet our needs. This explains why many believers are discouraged, their faith and spirit is weakened.

In Daniel 10:12-14, Daniel was told that from the first day he prayed, God heard him and answered him, however, the answer was detained or delayed by the Prince of Persia. Often times, believers assume that this is what is happening to the answers to their prayers, it is being delayed by one evil force when in actual fact God has heard and answered but they can’t see the answer which is right before them because their spiritual eyes are closed. So you have for example a single lady binding and casting the spirit of delay working against her marital life. Meanwhile, God has heard her prayer for a spouse, God has answered her. The person is probably in her church or office or someone that lives close by but she can’t see her answer because her spiritual eyes are not open. The Lord shall open our eyes today in Jesus mighty name. Amen!

Spiritual Blindness Fills You with Fear when there’s nothing To Be Afraid of

In 2 Kings 6:15-17, the servant of Elisha woke up to see that he was surrounded by enemies. What he saw with his physical eyes was an army that outnumbered his own team, and army that was stronger and better equipped to overcome his team. What his physical eyes took in filled him with fear. He was panicking until Elisha prayed for God to open his eyes and he saw that all along there was an invisible army surrounding him. When God opened his spiritual eyes, he saw that he had no reason whatsoever to be afraid. The army God had sent to shield and defend him outnumbered his enemies. His enemies were just an army of horses and chariots. The army of God was made up of horses and chariots of fire. How do you overcome and army that carries fire and is surrounded by fire? With his spiritual eyes opened, he saw the army he was afraid of was no match for the army of God. The army of God would defeat them hands down. More importantly, he saw that the situation he was so troubled and worried about, God had that situation under control.

Can you imagine if after God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant someone came to him panicking and trembling saying the head of witches in that vicinity or members of the strongest occult group are knocking at his door. What do you think his reaction would be? He wouldn’t budge; he wouldn’t be bothered because God had already opened his eyes to see the invisible army of God sent to defend him against enemy attack.

Spiritual blindness brings fear, worry and anxiety. Having our spiritual eyes open floods our heart with the peace of God. In Acts 27:13-25 Paul and those travelling with him were faced with a violent, life threatening storm. Fear gripped the hearts of these men and they lost all hope. But in the midst of the storm, Paul was calm, his faith and courage high because God had given him a revelation that all would be well, they would survive that storm. If Paul’s spiritual eyes were not open to receive the revelation of hope from God, he too would have been in a state of panic.

Spiritual Blindness leads to error and wrong thinking

In Psalm 73, the Psalmist shares an important experience he went through. He was tempted to slip into doing some of the things unbelievers or the wicked do because it appeared that those who don’t really love God or care about His commands seemed to be doing much better than those making efforts to live a righteous life. Can wickedness ever be better than righteousness? No! But when your spiritual eyes aren’t open you focus on just what you can see with your physical eyes and can wrongly conclude that it is a vain thing to serve God. Thank God, the eyes of the Psalmist were opened and he saw the final destination of the wicked, he saw how they really were before God and realized that even though he didn’t have the kind of money and luxuries the wicked had, he was actually in a much, much better position than those he was tempted to envy and want to be like. God opened his eyes to see that all they had were inferior and temporary blessings that easily fade away, blessings that could never compare to the joy and riches of knowing God, being His servant and enjoying His presence.

The Lord shall deliver us from spiritual blindness so we don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t gain much from serving God and that things of worldly value are more important than heavenly riches.

2) Pit of Darkness

This is the second type of spiritual darkness. In Psalm 143:3, David spoke of being plunged into a pit of darkness.

We are familiar with the story of Joseph being thrown into a pit by his brothers. The pit of darkness is a place of trial and affliction, a time in your life when you are going through a really difficult and trying time. It could be in your spiritual life and ministry, your marriage, family, health, finances, career or academics.

Why did Joseph’s brothers even throw him into a pit, what were they hoping to achieve? This was the statement of his brothers just before they threw him into the pit.Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams” (Genesis 37:20). So it was not really Joseph but the dream they wanted to destroy in that pit of darkness. By throwing him into that pit they wanted to frustrate the dream God had given him, they wanted to put an end to God’s plan for Joseph’s life.

If you are in a pit of darkness today, you are going through a really difficult and terrible time, understand that it is not  you but God’s plan for your life the enemy is after. But Isaiah 14:27 says concerning you “For the Lord Almighty has purposed and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” It doesn’t matter how deep the pit is, the hardship, pain and suffering you are going through, the enemy will not be able to thwart and frustrate God’s plan for your life. The important thing is for you not to be silent in that pit, not to give up in that pit; in that trying situation.

When the prophet Jeremiah was thrown into a pit what did he do? “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: Do not close your ears to my cry for relief. You came near when I called you and you said, “Do not fear” (Lamentations 3:55-57). He called to God in the pit of affliction. The Lord heard him, came near and delivered him.

David too found himself in a pit. What did David do? “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand(Psalm 40:1-2).

You don’t keep silent when you are in a pit of darkness. You cry out to God. You strengthen your prayer muscles and pray until the light replaces the darkness (Isaiah 62:1).

When you pray in that pit of darkness, God will hear your prayers and deliver you from the affliction. He can make those who put you in the pit to use their own hands to bring you out like he did for Joseph. He can send an angel to bring you out of that pit like he did for Peter and Paul when they sat in the darkness of a prison, or he can create a door for you in a pit that has no doors and windows like he did for the Israelites when he opened a door for them to walk through the red sea. The important thing is you don’t keep quiet in the pit of darkness; you don’t give up because you are in a pit of darkness.

But instead of praying all some people do when they find themselves in a pit of darkness is to complain, murmur and grumble about their situation. Or just spend time looking at the pit and how hopeless a situation they are in.

You may be in a pit of darkness and you are saying this darkness is unbearable, I can’t see a thing. Jesus says to you I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). You are complaining there’s no water in this pit, this pain, this problem is too much for me, it is choking me. Jesus says to you “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14). Or are you saying I’m so scared and frightened of this pit, there are insects, wolves and all kinds of animals in this pit. They will eat me alive. This adversity will finish me. Jesus  says to you, what are you afraid of when the Lion of the tribe of Judah is with you to roar and scare away anything threatening to swallow and overwhelm you (Revelation 5:5). He says let no animal frighten you, let no situation terrify you for you have a God who is strong and mighty to shut the mouth of any lion; any situation that wants to tear you apart (Daniel 5:21-22). Or maybe you have even concluded that you will sink in the pit, Jesus says to you I am your Firm Foundation, your Rock and Salvation, the Solid Rock on which you stand (Psalm 62:6-7, Isaiah 28;16).  Let your focus be on what Jesus is saying to you not on the pit.

Don’t ever feel you can’t get out of the pit just because you can’t see a door. Jesus doesn’t need a physical door or window to bring you out. He himself is the door (John 10:9). Connect and relate with Him in that pit, in that trying situation and light will flood your life and replace the darkness.

3) Veil or Covering of Darkness

This is the third type of spiritual darkness. Ephesians 5:13-14 tells us that one of the functions of light is to make things visible. Light brings visibility. Darkness on the other hand hides things. There are powers and forces of darkness whose assignment is basically to hide certain things and people with a veil or covering of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).

There are people who write exams and fail not because they didn’t write the correct answers but there is a veil or covering of darkness which prevents their answers from being seen. There’s a veil or covering of darkness that prevents some products, businesses, opportunities, talents and skills from being seen. There’s a veil or covering of darkness preventing a beautiful lady or handsome man from being seen as a potential spouse. But today every veil and covering of darkness will be destroyed by the light of God. God promises to destroy the shroud of darkness that enfolds people, the sheet of darkness covering people (Isaiah 25:7-8). As the darkness is removed, it will be replaced with a sought after anointing for the Light will now make you visible (Isaiah 62:11-12, Isaiah 60: 15).

The Lord shall be gracious to you, His light shall shine on you and through you and every good thing God has put in you will become visible. No longer will darkness cover your glory.

4) Fruitless Deeds of Darkness

Ephesians 5:11 tells us not to have anything to do with the fruitfulness deeds.  What are fruitless deeds of darkness?

Darkness has its deeds. They are not good deeds. They are deeds or acts that God has nothing to do with. 1 John 1:5 tells us that God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. So deeds of darkness are all activities God doesn’t sanction, God isn’t a part of, God receives no glory from. Nothing fits this description like sin.

Romans 13:12 advises us to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. In other words don’t take part in sin, don’t waste your time with sin, spend your time in fellowship with Christ that your life becomes filled with the light Jesus brings.

Sin is a fruitless activity. It is unrewarding, profitless, idle, pointless. A big waste of precious time that can be used to know God and do His will. Fruitless deeds of darkness, indulgence in sin brings guilt and condemnation. It makes you lose your confidence before God; you are like Adam and Eve hiding in the garden, hiding from God (Genesis 3: 8-10, Romans 8:1). It stands as a barrier to your prayers (Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:2).

Fellowship with God on the other hand brings you close to God’s power and glory. It covers you with the light and radiance of God, makes you a citizen of heaven, brings you under the canopy of God’s protection, ushers you into the supernatural power of God, exalts and promotes you and fills your life with amazing testimonies.

Paul’s point in Ephesians 5:11 is why allow sin waste your time, life and destiny. Sin is empty, if fills us with nothing of value and substance so why should we even bother to indulge in it. Come out of darkness, come out of sin. Stay in the light, stay in fellowship with God, live for His glory and be filled with the light of His glory. The more we fellowship with God, the more we are empowered to overcome sin, the more light dispels the darkness.

Arise means Get up, Stand Up, Be intentional about being in the Light

In John 5:1-9, Jesus came in contact with a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight good years. Jesus didn’t say Oh, you poor dear fellow, let me help you get up. Jesus didn’t say sorry about what you are going through, let me give you a hand. If anything, Jesus asked him a rather funny question. He said “do you want to get well?” Jesus said this to the man because it didn’t appear like the man was desperate about getting out of the situation he was in. It didn’t appear like the man was tired of the pit of darkness, years of affliction he had been going through. All along the man was just waiting and depending on someone to get him out of the darkness. Jesus’ approach to this man’s situation was if you detest the darkness, if you are tired of the darkness, you will get up! Pick up your mat and walk. You will arise, wake up, get up and get out of the darkness.

Arise and shine is a personal call to us to get up. If you want to feel the sun, you don’t just lie on your bed with the curtains drawn and expect the sun to come into your room. You get up and step out into the sun. So arise! Get up! Step into the sun; step into a most intimate relationship with the Lord and you will surely feel the sun. You will surely feel and see the Sun of righteousness rising up with healing in His wings and giving you the strength to stay out of the darkness. The whole earth maybe covered in darkness but who says you have to be wrapped in the darkness. Get up and pray, get up and study the Word, get into real fellowship with the Light and God’s sunrise glory will cover you.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: creationswap

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