Everyone is going to walk through seasons of darkness in their lives, Christian or not. The fact is that life and death will exist together in an endless cycle of beauty and ugliness, joy and pain until the return of Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ, our hope, through Him, is that once our earthly existence ceases, we will continue into an eternal life, as Jesus did because “Christ risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) But in spite of our hope of eternity, we will all experience the shadow of death, and walk through those valleys while we live our lives on earth.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight,” and this Scripture is a direct reference to the hope we have of life after death, but even so, the shadow of death looms over us all, creating fear, anxiety and turmoil as we wonder what will happen to those we love when sickness, accidents, and other troubles in this life start to press down upon us. It is important to remember that fear is a spirit, not an emotion and the enemy will try to convince you that all your fears will come true, so you must take the spiritual authority you were given through your Living Hope, Jesus Christ, and seize control in His name!
The Living Hope is the Light that Overtakes the Shadows
When David wrote Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me,” he spoke of the comfort He had in the Lord’s presence. David had only prophecies of the Messiah to cling to and yet he understood that even literal death is but a shadow because of the Lord’s great Light, Jesus Christ, which would dispel all shadows. Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter 9, foretold of this Light, also calling death a “shadow” saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined.” Then in the same breath he said, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.”
How can you use the spiritual authority you were given through Jesus Christ (Mark. 16:17) as you fight against the fear that comes with the shadow of death? Walk in the light! It sounds oversimplified, but it’s so profound that many cannot grasp it. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (esv) Here’s the thing about the shadow of death: A shadow has no substance, but takes the shape of whatever is blocking the light and distorts the picture. If you are afraid of cancer, that’s the shape the shadow will take. If you are afraid of suicide, that’s the shape the shadow will take. If you fear dementia, the death of a loved one, the loss of finances or your home or a job, or of being fat or of having a gay or transgendered child, or of an affair or an addiction or a terrible car accident or anything else– that is the shape the shadow of death and it will distort the picture and it will loom over you and affect your thinking and everything you do, and the fear, panic, nightmares, anxiety and frantic thoughts will overtake your life.
The Shadow of Death Has No Substance
Psalm 119:54 says, “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my temporary dwelling.” Death is a very real part of this life on earth and it comes in all forms, sometimes too soon, however death is a temporary dwelling. Even the pain of death that we experience. You were never meant to live permanently within death, not under its shadow, but many do, unable to break free and move on because of pain, anger, too many questions, and hopelessness. Yet, the Lord has provided a way forward: Worship. How will worship remove you from your place in the shadows and keep you in the light? Minister to the Lord in worship as David did, in good times and in grief, as David did and you will experience the light and victory that David did in these shadow places. In the “house of your temporary dwelling” – that valley of the shadow of death you’re walking through – worship God. The presence of God will shine the Light you need to see in that dark place.
Thought for today Spiritual Authority is the Power of Light
John wrote this about Jesus: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5, esv) There are no easy answers to the pain we experience on earth as a result of sin, and the process of grief will likely be part of your journey for the rest of your life- the shadows only have the authority you give them- or NOT. Yet, the shadow of death will try to terrify you while you’re living your life. You cannot allow that! You can use the name of Jesus Christ to “cast down every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”, (2 Cor. 10:5) but don’t stop there! The Word of God will become alive through the Holy Spirit as you dig into His promises and prayer will provide power and praise will bring you strength for battle– and battle you must! Fighting the shadows with the light means choosing to look to the light and walk in that direction moment by moment and choosing to look away from the distorted view of reality the shadows want you to believe.
Worshipping the Lord, ministering to Him, is what brings His presence and His light close in a unique way because it moves you into His dwelling place – your permanent residence. As you’re on your journey in the valley of the shadow of death, remember that it is a temporary place. His dwelling place is where you were meant to live forever.
Find Renewed Hope Through Jesus Christ!
- LIVE Devotional: “A Matter of Life and Death: Jesus Christ, the Firstborn”
- “Get Victory Over Vain Imaginings and Evil Forebodings”
- “You Shall Weep No More”
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Way of the Worshipper on Amazon – and AVAILABLE NOW you can also purchase The Way of the Worshipper: A Devotional Workbook for deeper study, personal examination and spiritual growth!