We ought to ask the Lord to inspire us with a holy hatred of sin. There is a kind of inverse relationship that we ought to seek: if we love the truth staunchly we will detest sin and lies more fully. It is impossible to love the truth vigorously without also detesting error. Similarly, as we grow in the love of God, we grow in the love of holiness, for God is holy.
As our love for Him deepens, we become increasingly averse to all that is unholy. We begin to detest anything that would separate us from the beautiful, loving holiness of God. As we learn to love the light and become accustomed to it, the darkness becomes unfathomable to us. We cannot see into its depths at all.
But sadly many of us, though we were made for the light (with retinas attuned to bright days and easily lost in the dark), do just fine in the dark. Imagine you are in a well-lit room, when suddenly the lights go out. Because you have become accustomed to the light, the room seems pitch black at first; you feel disoriented and confused. But in a moment or two, you begin to become accustomed to the dark. You can start to make out a few things, and then more and more. After a while you can even navigate around pretty well in the darkness. This scenario parallels the spiritual situation with truth and holiness as compared to lies and sin. And while the ability to become accustomed to the darkness is a good thing in the physical world, it is a terrible thing to happen to us spiritually.
Spiritual darkness is something to which we should never become accustomed. We should not want to be able to navigate the darkness. We should detest the darkness, dreading it with a holy fear that makes us quickly seek the light again.
Woe to us who are willing to live in the twilight, appreciating the light of God’s truth, but not so much that we detest the darkness and find it unfathomable. Too many of us Christians are willing and able to navigate the darkness and do not have a proper fear of it. We are not shocked by sin, as when the lights first go out in a room. Instead of quickly seeking to restore the light, we settle down in the darkness and learn to navigate in the shadows. Once we are used to the dark, things become increasingly silhouetted in a way that they were not when the lights first went out.
And thus our love for the light diminishes; we no longer hate it or are shocked by it. We begin to navigate its shadows just fine. Slowly, we, who were made to walk in the light, become content and able to exist like weasels and groundhogs, who are quite able to navigate the darkness.
Once used to the dark, or at least to the twilight, even we who are to be children of the light can be heard to say that the undiluted light of God’s truth is too harsh, too revealing of painful things, too intolerant, and so forth. And when we speak like this, it is certain that the darkness has us in its grips and that we prefer its shadows to the glory and clarity of the light.
What a disgrace! In John’s Gospel, Jesus warns of the battle against our love of darkness: This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God (Jn 3:19-21).
Indeed, pray for a hatred of sin, for a fear of being lost in its darkness. May we never learn to navigate its twilight, but ever stumble about in it crying out again for the light. May the darkness be detestable to us and may its ways and depths be unfathomable to us.
Yes, pray for a hatred of sin. Pray for shock at its darkness. Pray for an inability to accustom yourself to its lifeless shadows. Pray to be crippled by it, unable to move about in it or compromise with its shadows. Pray for a deep fear of it. Pray for the ability to cry out for light and only light.
When I was a child I feared the dark and would call out for my parents. But do I now? Do you?
Pray for a deep hatred of sin, a sadness for it. Pray for the zeal to flee its first shadows. Please do not click away from this blog until you have done so.
Jesus light of the world, please help me to fear and detest the darkness. Help me to love the light and be shocked and disoriented by the darkness. May I never be able to navigate its shadows or find the twilight a happy medium. Only the light of you, pure, dear Lord, only light. May all else depress, disorient, and cause me to despise it without compromise. In Jesus’ name, Amen!