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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Light, Part II: Good vs. Evil

Seventy years ago today, a foreign country attacked our homeland and decisively engaged the U.S. in World War II—no longer permitting us to watch "them vs. them" from a distance. When war became "us vs. them" (no pun intended), one of the measures our nation took was incarcerating U.S. citizens of Japanese descent, lest we be infiltrated by our enemy.

War brings us to redefine whom we call good and whom we call evil, in order to separate ourselves from the "them" we must battle.

So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.
~ Exodus 14:20 (NKJV)

The Lord YHWH would soon call and train His people to cooperate with Him in waging war against the various enemies of YHWH and His people. But in this passage, He chooses to instead segregate the Israelites from the Egyptians, while YHWH wages a battle reserved to Himself. At the Red Sea, YHWH delivers His people in parting the waters to permit escape, and seals that escape in the returning waters which destroy their enemies.

The Red Sea incident is the Lord's vivid picture of spiritual deliverance and destruction accomplished some 1475 years later at Calvary, a battle God reserves to Himself. In Jesus' blood sacrifice and death, He destroys mankind's greatest enemy of Death, sealing our escape penalty for sin.

Having been delivered from our greatest enemy, we are now called and trained to cooperate with the Lord in waging war against the various powers that would cause us harm. Our enmity is not with people, but with sin and its influence. Just as the Israelites of old were instructed to be ruthless in destroying their surrounding enemies, in order to escape the infiltration and influence of other nations, we are to be ruthless in fighting against sin's strongholds in our lives, to escape the infiltration and power of sin.

The Bible defines our war not in the sometimes nebulous terms of good & evil, but instead uses definitions such as Spirit & flesh (or sinful nature [NIV]), truth and lies, light and darkness. Because of the kind of influence they both have, the Bible also calls us to have separate kinds of relationships with people of light than with people of Darkness:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
"I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (NIV)

The above passage is usually applied to marriage. While marriage is the most important relationship to apply this principle, it is not the only one. The context of these verses is recognizing that we have become a completely new person, and should no longer rely upon the world's definitions for segregation.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
~ 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NIV)

In being reconciled to God and His Light of life, we also recognize that while we keep company with people of Darkness, we need to remain separate from close relationship with them—even as we, who are God's light, minister His reconciliation to them (the very next verse):

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Thanks Anne, if you hang out in a pig pen - you're gonna get muddy and stinky, ain't no two ways about it. You can slop the hogs but you don't have to wallow with 'em. Mayb not exactly what you mean but I used such analogies when the kids were younger to help them choose friends wisely.

  2. Beautiful message, beaurifully illustrated!

    The story of The Great Exodus is one of my favorites, in which I seem to continually find new and deeper meaning.

    Thank you for sharing, Anne!

  3. Good post! I don't know if I am doing the right thing or not sometimes but I feel close to Robbie and some of his friends even though obviously none of them are Christians. It is a fine and complicated line for me. Just the other night I dropped him off at a friends house and he invited me to come in and say hi. He then said that his friends might all be trashed but I said I didn't care and that I would come in and say hi anyway. Well some of them were pretty intoxicated and high but I gave hugs and let them know how good it was to see them. They were even smoking pot when I was in the room with them. I am crying now because sometimes I think I might be the only Jesus they have seen in awhile and my heart aches for them so much! Maybe that is arrogant thinking but I just want to love on them and express a fraction of the love and acceptance that Jesus would, especially because they all know that I am a devout Christian. And one of his friends has come to know Jesus. Maybe partly because of me, maybe not.

    I guess I am not really in close relationship with any of them, but I think I might be willing to be (on some level), in an effort to bring them into a relationship with Jesus. One friend actually emailed me a few weeks ago with an overwhelming problem she was having and I approached her completely with the gospel, telling her that there was absolutely no better solution and no alternative answer to her situation. She thanked me for the uplifting encouragement but nothing else. Hopefully a seed was planted. :)

  4. Mary, I don't know the situation, but would say to pray, follow the Holy Spirit, and be aware of the danger.

    It is sometimes a tricky thing. We are called to be separate from the world, not participating in sin.

    However, we are also called to be a light in the darkness. How can we shine the light of God's glory into someone's life if we're scared to even get near them?

  5. Thank you Joe, I do believe I am following the Holy Spirit but a reminder from a fellow believer to seek His direction is always good.

    Robbie is my 24-yr old son who rejects Christ. I used to be judgmental and give him a hard time, but then the Lord revealed to me that love and acceptance is what is needed, not of their sin obviously, but as individuals. I have since embraced Robbie and his friends where they are at knowing that God can use me better if I am loving and accepting them first.

    What it comes down to is that it does not really matter what they are doing (like I once thought), what matters is that they don't know Jesus. Once they know Him, then the Holy Spirit can work on changing them as He sees fit.

    I thank God for His promises to me and the hope he has given me concerning this because I know that my son will one day follow Jesus again! I pray that God will do whatever (and I really mean whatever), it takes to bring him back.

    And I really shouldn't say that I don't know if I am doing the right thing or not because I know that God is not the author of confusion. It is Satan who would love nothing more than for me to abandon this mission. Thanks for your words of encouragement!

  6. Mary, it sounds to me like you're being a loving mother, a faithful friend and a beautiful lamp!

    Keep shining, sister! =^)

  7. Denise, I can feel like a mighty small light sometimes. But no amount of darkness can extinguish the smallest of lights!

  8. Doug, I agree that we can't possibly wallow in a pig pen and not get mighty muddy. I also tell my kids (as often as I think I can say it and they'll still hear it) that they can't hope to prove the Bible wrong when it says "bad company corrupts good character."

    Even so, I don't mind hanging around "pig pens" when I feel called to bring Light there. I think the warning for Christians is recognizing which pig pens are likely to draw us into the mire, and to which ones God is calling us as ministers of Light. Even then, we can never, ever for one moment believe that we stand so strong we could never fall into the mire. We must always see our strength coming from the Holy God, Who alone preserves us.

  9. Joe, one of the reasons I love the Old Testament so much is its clear illustrations of New Testament truths. The Exodus story is one of many that could never be exhausted for its New Covenant truths.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement to my sister Mary. You have also blessed me with your words and spirit!

  10. Mary, I appreciate your challenge, even if I don't experience it to the same degree you do. You know my love for Robbie, even as I remain fearful of his influence—the same way I feel about other people. I believe the Lord will uphold you. I pray that He will give you good discernment about when to shine His Light and love, and when and how to keep Darkness away if it would prove harmful. You know that Robbie remains in our family's prayers.

    A ship is of no good if it remains safe and dry in the harbor. But a ship is also of no good if it goes out to sea and then too much sea gets in the ship. Even the ship that does not completely sink may be incapaciated by too much sea.

  11. After pondering about this and seeking God's discernment and wisdom, He has faithfully brought revelation to me. I had such a strong sense of Him speaking to my heart and for that I am so very grateful.

    He told me that when I do His work in the midst of darkness, that I should never seek counsel, comfort, encouragement, strength, approval, truth, and/or wisdom from unbelievers, nor share my burdens with them, or treat them as my confidants. That is what my brothers and sisters in the Lord are for. I know things could go terribly wrong if I did not heed what He has revealed to me.

    Through all this He has "this day" given me clear boundaries to which I thank Him, and that I had not really sought from Him at length before. I of course agree that "bad company corrupts good character." However, I believe that is going to happen when we seek unbelievers as our friends and "hang out" with them for extended periods of time. That is why it is especially dangerous for children and believers that are not yet strong in the Lord.

    Now I have extra thanks to Him for this post because I now see clearly what my role is! Thanks for allowing God to use you as He sees fit!

  12. Mary, you (and Joe) have really given me reason to rejoice! As busy as I always am, the last week was an absolute lunacy marathon. This week will be only slightly better. I too often wonder if this humble little blog makes any real difference to anyone's faith. (My selfish pride, I know.) It's really hard to carve out the time to keep up online ministry, but I'm 100% willing to do keep it up for no other reason than faithful service to the Lord. When I learn that God has also used it to encourage, enlighten, or in any way at all further the faith of someone else, it helps me push myself to keep being faithful to HIM.

    I love you! Hug Mom for me, and tell her I love her too. ♥


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