“…that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
It’s pretty amazing that, as Jesus followers, we have been called out of darkness. Yet what does that actually mean when darkness seems to cast its shadow all around us? How do we escape it when discouragement tugs at our coattails?
We are called by Jesus to walk differently: to share joy, show gentleness, have patience, bring peace, have self control, and walk faithfully with Him. God gives us His Spirit to help us demonstrate these qualities of His Light. Yet every one of us knows the temptation to dwell on the negative, be critical, let discouragement wash over us, or settle into a pity party. Things don’t always go our way, and when they don’t, it’s natural to feel the pull of darkness drawing us away from God’s Light.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. Along with His Spirit, He gives us tools to help us live in the Light.
1. Declare His Praises
When the darkness of doubt, discouragement, or just plain depletion of strength and joy creep in, turn intentionally to offer praise to God. Thank Him that He is your Rock, your Strength, and your Shepherd who will guide you and prepare a feast for you, even in the middle of that pull of darkness.
2. Expose Unfruitful Works of Darkness
We often think of “unfruitful works of darkness” as the big bad things. Yet when you feel drawn toward a pity party or embracing discouragement, stop and ask yourself if you have opened the door to have fellowship with any unfruitful works of darkness. This could simply be entertainment that pulls you to the dark side; engaging in negative, critical thoughts and conversations; acting selfishly; or forgetting to thank God for who He is. Recognize the doors you may have opened that led you to unfruitfulness and ask for God’s help to close them.
Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have called me into Your Light. I need Your help to live there consistently. When discouragement and temptations come, please nudge me and help me to quickly back away and close the door to the darkness. Remind me to turn my eyes to You and praise You. Help me to refocus on the help and strength of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Light fills my life with peace and joy and strength. Thank You that I can expose the darkness and walk in the peace You give me. I praise You that darkness cannot remain in the Light of Your wonderful presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Is discouragement or temptation tugging you downward? If not, thank Him for His wonderful presence right now. When you do feel darkness crowding your soul, stop and ask what door you may have opened to the unfruitful works of darkness. Pay attention to your thoughts and the things you allow into your mind. Ask for God’s help in closing those doors so that you may remain in His Light and walk peacefully and joyfully in His presence.