It’s a grey and rainy day here, and I’m sitting at my desk underneath the light of my desk lamp, which I have fitted with a daylight bulb because I tend to get SAD in winter. Today may not be winter, but for various reasons it feels like it’s dark outside and I could so easily sink into depression if I let it take over. But I won’t let it take over. I have light – and I don’t mean just the daylight bulb in my desk lamp. I have Jesus, the light of the world, and in him there is no darkness. His light is all I need to cope with the darkness outside – and there is so much of it, all you have to do is open a newspaper or pop into Twitter and you see it: humans hating other humans, humans hurting other humans, humans expressing their shock that those terrible people did that – and expressing hate towards those other people… and so it goes on, and on, and on… Forever?
No, not forever. One day Jesus is going to come back and put the world to rights. In the meantime though – in the meantime he offers his light to whoever would believe in him.
And by the way – it’s not just outside. The darkness, I mean. When you look into your heart, you’ll see it. We all have it in us – we have some goodness, because we were originally made in God’s image and some of that has stayed in there, so we sometimes show love, care, compassion, kindness… but we also have the ugly moments, the times when we might say “I don’t know what came over me” but in truth it’s not anything outside of you coming over you, it’s your very human nature manifesting itself. I help look after toddlers in church and, yanno, the switch from cute baby to little selfish tyrant who will grab and yell and cause havoc when they don’t get their way – it just happens, naturally, without anybody teaching them selfishness. What we find ourselves having to teach the kids is kindness and consideration, not how to be a self-centred monster. That bit comes naturally.
And Jesus, the light of the world, comes along and says: here, let me fix it.
Not, as lots of other religions say: hey, you have to do better, you have to stop being selfish and be more kind – as if you could just change your own nature by your own volition! No, Jesus came and died to take on the punishment for our sin, and when you put your faith in him you get the Holy Spirit to live in you and change you. He gives you a new heart, so your desires change and you start finding sin a lot less appealing. It’s a gradual process – you don’t become perfect overnight, I certainly haven’t, I still have to fight against temptation – but I don’t have to do it on my own.
And I fight it whilst knowing that even when I fail, I still have the light of Jesus forever – all my sins forgiven, thanks to his once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross. That means I have not only light but also peace.
Jesus died so that we could have all this, so we don’t have to live in darkness. Put your faith in him, and walk in the light.