It’s a myth that the rural countryside is quiet. The nearly constant background noises outside of city limits begin to change this time of the year. Now, the weather catches up with the calendars, and the buzz of heat bugs and frogs give way to crickets and the eerie howls of coyote packs. The near-bare tree limbs no longer muffle the sounds of fall throughout the hills.
Ceaseless sound is not exclusive to isolated Appalachia or even bustling cities. Far too often, the familiar commotions of those places are the preferred clamor over our own racing thoughts. To those that listen, the voices of condemnation, temptation, failure, regret, guilt, or inadequacy are louder than the occasional explosion at the local coal refineries. Satan is “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10). It is he who whispers the lies to the body conscious teenager, the exhausted new mother, or the retiring man looking back upon his life’s work.
With Halloween right around the corner and dragon and monkey costumes painstakingly selected for the boys, I reminisce about the innocence of which I was able to participate in the holiday festivities. Bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, and all of the usual were favorites of mine. Now, I can’t walk into Wal-Mart without having to explain that the massive blow-up Grim Reaper lurking behind the greeter is “just silly” to my two-year-old.
But it’s not “just silly.” Halloween has always been a dark pagan holiday, and I’m more aware of the dangers of messing with darkness these days. As followers of Christ, we are called to be lights in this dark world (Matthew 5:14-16). I’m no super genius, but I understand that where light is, there cannot also be darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14). The two simply can’t exist together. We (and the love of Jesus) can bring light to dark situations, but we should not participate in activities of darkness (i.e. sin) and be fooled that we won’t come out dim.
The constant noise of the country is soothing to me. If I let myself relax for just a moment, I’ll be unaware of those sounds as they melt into the background of my consciousness. In much the same way, our eyes adjust to darkness as we become accustomed to it. This metaphor exemplifies our example of worldly darkness perfectly. The more we see it, the less we are mindful of it. We aren’t shocked by of the preteen dressed like their promiscuous idol or the high schooler masking as the most atrocious and highly publicized criminals. But it reaches even past the last day of October, doesn’t it? We grow accustomed to the darkness, hardly noticing the shadows of sin in society and in our own lives.
Folks, Jesus is never the condemning voice in your head. Rather, He came to love and save the world from the Prince of Darkness, your Accuser. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). May my and your eyes never adjust to the real darkness of this world, because like our savior, our lights shine far too brightly. How do we do that? Show the world Jesus. For Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another,” (John 13:35, NASB).
This is Boo waving for the camera right after we rescued him from life in a dumpster outside a Home Depot in Lakeland, FL (and the best dog ever, Ozzie, RIP). I flew with Boo home to Kentucky at the end of the 2010 baseball season, and now he’s enjoying a totally spoiled life of retirement at my parents’ log cabin.
- Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come, because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10 HCSB
- “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NASB
- Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV
- Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV