for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
— Ephesians 5:8–10
At one time I was darkness. Those words seem so harsh. I was darkness. Not I could not see the light. Not I didn’t understand the light. Not I was justified in living in darkness due to my circumstances. Nope. I was darkness by choice. And really, I knew it.
The truth is that, while I was being darkness, I could see the light. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I also understood that there were no bad deeds done to me that could somehow make my bad deeds good.
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
— Romans 2:15
When I think back on who I was and why it took me so long to turn to Christ, when I search hard through my psyche, I know the truth. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be light. Being light sounded too hard. It sounded like not putting myself first, losing self-centeredness, not doing what made me feel better even though it may, and usually did, make others feel worse. Being light felt like thinking before speaking, resting in the Lord before responding, extending grace when they deserved my scorn, perhaps being happy in anonymity. And worst of all, it sounded like exposing my darkness in order to share the light. In short, it sounded like trying to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10) and then doing that! Why would darkness try to discern what perfect light would have them do and be? It was very much like the pain of going from a very dark room into the blazing sunshine. I just wanted to cover my eyes. How could I do this willingly?
But I’ll tell you something else. When God began to show me the light of Christ, it felt like peace, rest, love, relief and joy. I had no idea how badly my soul yearned for these things. I had no idea how badly my soul actually yearned for Christ. As darkness, I was headed toward death in anger, bitterness, selfishness and deceit. But in the light was life, and that life was the light of man, of me.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
— John 8:12
Paul said it well at Corinth:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
— 1 Corinthians 15:3–5
Christ died for you and for me so that we may receive the eternal light of his glory.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
— 1 Corinthains 15:56–58