What is spiritual darkness? We sometimes refer to those who are walking through a valley of sin as being in a “very dark place.” What do we mean? Is the way depressing, or hopeless? These are certainly ways of describing spiritual darkness, yet there is one simple description that captures the heart of the matter: spiritual darkness is the absence of God’s truth. It is the place where Satan wraps our lives in a lie and creates unresolvable conflicts in our mind.
Since Satan’s goal is to drive a wedge in our relationship with God, it follows that he is the author of darkness. Separation from God is his agenda and falsehood is his means. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness,we lie and do not live by the truth.”
Satan has many methods in his arsenal, but his nature is to spread lies in the most deceptive manner. As in the Garden of Eden, the Deceiver effectively presents a lie as truth and truth as a lie. He knows if he can cause us to doubt God’s Word, he can call all truth into question and convince us God is mistreating us when He calls us to a life of holiness.
In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress the main character in the story, Christian, and his friend, Hopeful, wander off the path into the domain of an evil Giant. The evil Giant and his wife throw Christian and Hopeful in prison in something called the Castle of Doubt. Not only do they imprison them, but they bring them out into a courtyard to show them where they have tortured other captives. Then the Giant tells them, in ten days he will do the same thing to them. He beats them and sends them back to the dungeon. Suddenly Christian remembers when he gave his life to Jesus he was given a key of promise to help him along his journey. The text reads: “Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any Lock in Doubting Castle.Then said Hopeful, That’s good news; good Brother pluck it out of thy bosom and try.” Christian pulled out the key of promise, opened the lock, and he and Hopeful fled to freedom.
Darkness is a prison, but there is hope. If we know Jesus, we have always had a way of escape.