Grace Reaches into Darkness

I’ve never been the “starstruck” type, but touring the Warner Bros studio was fun. Actors occasionally traversed the lot on bicycles, waving to us along their way, and we nosed around the “Friends” set for a while. In the museum was a kiosk whereupon we could answer some basic questions to discover which WB cartoon character most reflected our individual personality types. Someone in our group asked me which toon had matched me best. “Road Runner,” I said, “What about you?” “Yosemite Sam,” he replied dispiritedly. Shifting his gaze to nothing in particular, his voice trailed off, “I’m such a jerk.” Though animated, the image was too vivid a reflection for him, revealing flaws he knew quite well but could not change.

The man’s frustration mirrors that of the apostle Paul. “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”1 This is the plight of our sin nature, unable to live what we know to be right. Frustrated, the apostle cried out in anguish, “Wretched man that I am! [Paraphrased: I’m such a jerk!] Who will deliver me from this body of death?”2

“God loves us enough to meet us where we are, and He loves us too much to leave us there,” so goes the familiar maxim. If it is cliché, then it is powerfully so, for it speaks of our much-needed transformation from what we were to who we are becoming. It is God’s desire that we be “conformed to the image of his Son,”3 and I can think of no better Biblical summation of such radical change than this: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.”4 For a few weeks, we will consider grace unto transformation, starting where God loved us enough to meet us—in our darkness. For “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”5

Who we are and who we are still becoming are most clearly seen when contrasted against what we were. So think back to the beginning of your journey in Christ, and consider how far He has brought you since then. Ponder the changes only the Spirit could have brought about in you. Use this not as a time to punish yourself for your past nor to despair over the struggles that remain, but realize the transformation God in His grace has already accomplished in you, and know He is working in you still.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. —Isaiah 9:2.

Father, thank You for meeting us in our darkness and for leading us in Your great light. Make us more like Christ, so others, too, will see Him and step into His light. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 7:18-19 ESV
2 Romans 7:24 ESV
3 Romans 8:29
4 Ephesians 5:8 NASB
5 Romans 5:8 ESV