In view of what we have been sharing about walking in the light of His countenance, I wonder if I don’t hear someone thinking, what are you talking about, do you know anyone who enjoys this kind of light, this New Covenant glory you are talking about?
In fact I know many who enjoy this… in measure. It’s that inner sense of His shining face, a sense of illumination as to His will, and the steps He is leading us in. He has lifted up His countenance upon us; He is smiling; He is pleased. There is the assurance of His love.
But I also know at least one person who knows the times when darkness veils His lovely face, times that call for us to “trust in His unchanging grace.”
And remember that in the very passage we have been dwelling on (2 Cor. Ch. 3) Paul says:
Seeing, then, that we have such hope we use great plainness (openness) of speech, and not as Moses who put a veil over his face…
Hope? This seems to imply that we may not be experiencing the full reality of what Paul is setting forth—not yet, that is. Do I see His shining face? Well, yes, in measure. We enjoy this light of His countenance in measure. But there is much more to come, and I don’t want to cheat myself of that. So I nurture hope in my heart. It is in the sphere of hope that we embrace these things—that in the New Covenant we have the hope of seeing the face of Jesus Christ shining with the glory of God, and our being changed into the very same image… from one measure of glory to another… to another… It is with this confident hope and expectation that we unveil our own faces in every step of our walk, and continue to turn our unveiled faces with anticipation upward. We know we will not be disappointed. For “hope does not disappoint,” anchored, as it is, “within the veil.”
And so we seek to war a good warfare on the basis of this hope. Yes, warfare. We must recognize that we are in a war; this new-covenant hope is intensely resisted by the forces of darkness. They are able to affect even our own thoughts. This is perhaps the most difficult thing we Christians have to go through—the darkness of our thought life. There are night seasons when His lovely face is hidden from us, and our minds are prey to darkness. That lovely shining countenance we love so much… now we are sure it is a frowning countenance. In such times let us recognize our thinking for what it actually is—just that—darkness, not light. Let us be on our guard, then, and beware lest we start believing that what we are thinking is actually true. All those doubts, fears, evil surmisings, dark forebodings… let us recognize all that for what it is—darkness, not truth!
So let us keep this living hope ever before us, more and more seeking to gird up the loins of our mind, to discipline our mind not to dwell on darkness. Let us put on the armour of light. Let us guard against meditating on the darkness in times of darkness. Let us meditate on the Light in the night watches—not on the night (Ps. 63.6). Wrong thinking, if we do not recognize it for what it is, can become an enemy stronghold in the mind.
It can become a habit of mind to meditate on darkness—on some problem or evil circumstance or failure. Or… have you ever entertained an imaginary conversation with someone who had done you wrong, and you are doing warfare with that person with your imaginary words? Once when I was doing this myself, the Holy Spirit intercepted my thinking with a question. “What are you thinking?” I suddenly became aware that all I was thinking… it was just darkness! I was embarrassed at the time, but I am grateful for that question now; it has helped me many times to dismiss thoughts that are darkness. David cried out, “Search me O LORD and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts…” (Ps. 139.23). This is what that question did for me. It was God knowing my thoughts, and thus I was able to know them myself. We deeply need this kind of input from our God, showing us the nature of the thoughts and intents of our heart. Without it, and all unawares, darkness is seeping into our hearts as we think on these things. Our adversary is building his own stronghold in our very thoughts when we do this.
Paul spoke of weapons that are effective against the strongholds of darkness.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;
Casting down imaginations (reasonings, arguments), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ… (2 Cor. 10.4,5).
Paul is speaking of the enemy strongholds in the minds of those who were calling in question his apostolic authority and accusing him of a mere human agenda. No, he cautioned; he might be walking in flesh, but he did not war after the flesh; he had weapons which could bring these strongholds down.
But it is vain to think we will have any success against the strongholds of darkness in the minds of others before we ourselves have brought into captivity every thought of our own mind to the obedience of Christ.
And so Paul continues:
And having in a readiness to revenge (avenge) all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Your in this verse is plural. Meaning “you as a church,” which is how Weymouth translates it.
Let this become our seeking then. God has spiritual weapons with which we can pull down strongholds and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. This would indeed be a formidable church. But first it will take discipline in our own thought life– not dwelling on the darkness, but rather earnestly seeking to fix our eyes on Jesus’ shining Face. This will create another stronghold that the Prince of darkness cannot invade. Let us gird up our minds, then, let our minds be filled with the light of faith, and hope, and love. We have the hope of certain victory. We will yet see the light of the glory of the Gospel of Christ triumphant over all darkness.
Victory in Jesus my Saviour forever. There is such hope in them words, and should be hopeful if we recognize The Light for what it is. That is so real to guard one’s thought life against darkness so we can experience completeness in Christ, or moving on toward it. I sure look forward to the Love that the people of God will come to for each other when we see The One Light Jesus Christ for Who He is. This true unity will be unstoppable. And truly contagious.
Hi Tim. Now that you’ve awakened that old song in my heart, I know I’ll be singing it all day! 🙂 Truly there is wonderful hope in the words. As to true unity, this is a precious hope. It is a hope that the forces of darkness with their wiles have resisted vehemently. Let’s put on our armour, then– the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet (over our minds) the hope of salvation (1 Thes. 5.8). Victory is certain! Thanks for sharing, Tim. Good to hear from you.
Thanks for sharing this with me, Tim! I am so blessed to have you in my life!
Hi Phil, I’m not sure which Tim shared this site with you, but welcome here!
Thanks so much for this timely entry, Allan. 😉
“This is perhaps the most difficult thing we Christians have to go through—the darkness of our thought life.”
“Wrong thinking, if we do not recognize it for what it is, can become an enemy stronghold in the mind.”
Alas – so true.
Today I want to restrain myself from posting another lengthy comment because you provided the solution to our stronghold problem by saying,
“Let us gird up our minds, then, let our minds be filled with the light of faith, and hope, and love.”
The only thing I might add is my recent experience as for that problem. I think that anything in my mind which is not light, not love, not faith nor hope leaves my mind restlessly running like a hamster in his wheel. It is nothing but darkness, indeed. As soon as I turn my back on Him, that is, ceasing to seek His face consistently, that hamster running wheel begins to spin again. Yes, Satan won’t leave us alone, he is always ready for battle.
Let’s say there is a person whom I didn’t meet for many years whose picture arises in my mind, and I wonder, “Should I think about her, or not?” Looking to Him is always only the best answer since in His presence any superficial or ungodly thought vanishes completely. Even if the Lord hides His face, turning to Him in faith despite the darkness “can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (referring to your comment above, Allan). I think faith is key whether we hope or see – or in other words, not mine but Don Gibson’s in his song “Faith Unlocks The Door”,
Prayer is the key to Heaven,
But faith unlocks the door
Words are so easily spoken
Prayer without faith
Is like a boat without oar.
So, even though we might face the highest waves assaulting the soul without seeing His face in this warfare, let us hold on to the Lord by trying to sail through the dark night across the sea…
Hi Susanne. What you said here is vitally important: “Even if the Lord hides His face, turning to Him in faith despite the darkness “can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…” This is what is involved in putting on “the whole armour of God.” Darkness seems so formidable, so permanent in our world, holding its captives so tenaciously. But the powers of darkness– with their darkness– can be defeated. It’s an amazing thought, actually. I pray that this would grip us more powerfully, and that we would be seeking God earnestly for His strategy in this warfare. Let us believe in His provision– the armour of Light! …I’m not familiar with that song, but I like the verse you quoted. Amen.
Thanks Susanne. Good “hamster” illustration.
BTW – I so love your “cyber church” on ‘Taking our thoughts captive’ over there in our SWC, that is, our Scottish Warriors Congregation. 🙂
Thanks Susanne. That’s very kind. I am glad to be able to do “cyber church” with some real sincere folks in these days. Your entries are always very deep and challenging.
You’ve made my day which, honestly, has been terrible along the way, dear brother. Reading your reply here after my latest entry on Frank’s site has lifted my spirit intensely. Thank you so much for your kind support and encouragement.
Well I am glad to have made your day. Also, I’m glad to have Allan’s articles to read and Frank’s too, and to be able to connect in this way. Its like a cycle of encouragement and upholding one another in the Spirit. We all need it Susanne, especially in these days. Thank you again Allan. Keep writing brother.
Timely word Allan. I find myself wanting to address core issues in life and your words are always spot on for me.
Read through this again and meditated on it Allan. Thanks again. Very deep truths. Foundational to walking a good walk and warring a good war.
Hi Martin, it would be good for us all to make it a continual habit to ask the Lord, “What are YOU thinking?”
Very wise words, Allan. And Happy New Year to you and yours. 🙂
BTW, Martin, I’m a bit confuzzled by these ever-changing Gravatar pictures. Also, your surname dis- and reappears time and again. Is it really YOU “behind”? 😉
Hi Susanne, and Happy New Year to you as well! (I think possibly the change in Martin’s gravatars has to do with whatever device he is using to post comments. But I don’t really know.)
Thank you for this encouraging and insightful post, Allan. The darkness in the world may be on the increase. But, as you say, we must keep our eyes on Christ.
Thank you, Anna. It does me good as well to re-read these old posts! This one is very timely.