Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. (1 John 5:4)
There is plenty of darkness in the world to make any of us tremble.
Cancer ravages our families, killing half a million more every year in the United States alone. Divorce continues to rip apart families, and leave young children frantically treading water emotionally. Pressures are mounting in our society to demonize and suppress Christianity. Racial tensions and conflict seem to be surging after years of perceived progress. One hundred thousand babies are aborted every day around the world.
And underneath all the darkness we can see lies an even darker, more terrifying darkness. The apostle Paul says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). An entire system of spiritual darkness — spearheaded by Satan himself, carried out by hordes of demons, and influencing every corner of the earth — rages right below the surface of our everyday lives.
How do we live with any hope while we drown in all of this darkness?
Darkness Is Really Dark
If we have found Jesus, we don’t have to hide from the dark anymore — no matter how dark our days become. God sent his Son Jesus “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). His light doesn’t make the darkness any less dark; it just conquers every shadow with something stronger.
That means we don’t need to pretend the darkness isn’t dark after all — that cancer isn’t really devastating to a family, that divorce doesn’t really shatter everyone involved, that abortion isn’t really a decades-long genocide — that whatever darkness you’re facing personally isn’t really that hard or painful or scary. But we also don’t need to face the darkness alone.
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And in Christ, he has shined his light into every hidden corner of our darkness. He was not afraid of the dark, but came into our darkness. He left the safety of heaven to walk in the shadows with us — to die in these shadows, so that we might leave them behind.
And then he rose from the darkness to prove that the darkness had been stripped of its power — in the name of Jesus.
God Overcomes the Darkness
And because this Jesus, your Jesus, conquered the darkness, you too can overcome the darkness in this world. The apostle John writes, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome [the worst in the world], for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Do you believe him? Even as you watch the stream of discouraging and depressing news in our nation and from around the world? Even when you stare at the trials and suffering in your life?
Your God has overcome this world. And in his name, you have overcome this world. “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Darkness in You
God is not afraid of the darkness in this world, and he is not afraid of the darkness in you. When he found us, we were not only trapped in darkness; we “loved the darkness rather than the light” (John 3:19). One reason the darkness around us is so terrifying is that we see so much of ourselves in it — our weaknesses, our fears, our brokenness, our sin. For many of us, no darkness is more intimidating than our own.
But if we have put our faith in Christ, “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts” — not just out there in the world, but in each of our hearts — “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). In the same way, he turned on the blinding sun in a galaxy of darkness, he opened the eyes of your heart to see his glory in his Son. He banished your darkness, and made you a lover of the light.
The remaining darkness in you trembles at the sound of his name. Sing “Jesus” over all of your fears and insecurities, over all of your guilt and shame. Enjoy the freedom and forgiveness of walking with him in his victory. And then run back into the darkness to call others into the light.