25 August 2014

Getting Real With Your Dark Side

One of my favourite movie trilogies growing up as a child was Star Wars.

The character Yoda is a teacher and spiritual advisor, who is known for training Luke Skywalker to harness the power of ‘the force’, a supernatural ability for the Jedi and Sith armies. Many times he speaks of the mystery of not giving into the temptation of the dark side which Luke’s father, Darth Vader, fell into leading to a path of evil and destruction. Some of Yoda’s wise messages are below:

When you look at the dark side, careful you must be, for the dark side looks back…. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering… Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will”.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? It is fair to say that every person has a dark side that comes from the flesh and our sinful nature. It is unique to them and usually a place of great battle and shame. It could be a wound from a father or mother as a child, a sickness, a personal fear or phobia. It could be an addiction to substance abuse of drugs, alcohol, fornication or pornography. Or it could be greed for money, an affair, unforgiveness, fraud, stealing, murder or many others.

Think of the names of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Milley Cyrus, Amy Winehouse, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, and most recently Robin Williams. Actors, singers, sportsman and politicians are all human and can fall from grace like you and me today.

A dark side is a double life we can secretly live in private that no one knows. It could be rare, occasional or worse a lifestyle which Christians are not immune to. Regardless, if our dark side is not properly dealt with, it will eventually be exposed and bring untold pain and misery into our lives and may impact those around us.

God takes sin very seriously, so much so that He showed us by the death of His Son by crucifixion, in our place of judgement. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Bringing the Dark into the Light

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
Proverbs 10:9 NIV

What areas in your life have bondage over you? What is your dark side that only God may know and deep down you want removed from your life? Getting real with our sin is absolutely essential in becoming all we were created to be as Christians. What stays in the dark in our lives has incredible power over us.

But when it is brought to the light and confessed before God and trusted friends through accountability, it supernaturally loses its grip on us. If the Holy Spirit isn’t happy inside us, you can be guaranteed you won’t be either. But once we deal with the sin in our lives once and for all, a life of freedom, joy and peace will always follow. For whoever walks in integrity walks securely.

Accountability with others you can trust alongside you, who know what you battle with and still trying to overcome is everything. Ideally, they are praying for you, checking up on you regularly and keeping an eye out when you are getting close to making decisions that lead down a bad path.

And they are friends who will correct you privately and tell you what you need to hear because they love you, especially when you don’t want to hear it. Personally, I have five Christian brothers who know me and my dark side. They have complete liberty to ask me anytime how I am doing, to ensure my life is always on the straight and narrow path of freedom in Christ.

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:12-13 NIV

If our dark side is an area we are not willing to deal with, God in His goodness and mercy will deal with us personally. Sometimes it is only when the pain of sin is greater than the need for change do people take action. Sin is by nature deceiving and over time will harden our hearts against God. All sin is bondage and a lie we first believe, that only truth will set us free from. Therefore, regular confession, repentance and submission to God through obedience will keep us on the road to freedom. 

Sin smears the image of God before Him, and like a seed, if it is not dealt with can take over our lives, ruining everything we have achieved and progress in our faith. It will hinder our journey with God and cause us to stay stagnate at best and backwards at worst.

Many well known Christians, throughout the history of the church, who did not deal with their dark side sadly fell with their lives and sometimes entire family devastated. Biblical examples abound of Korah, Samson, Uzziah, Zedekiah and David, who at some point in their lives battled pride, ego, self-righteousness or sexual immorality and later cost them everything.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
1 John 1:9 NKJV

As Christians the power of sin has been removed coming into relationship with God, but the potential to sin remains. Yes all believers’ sin but it is a personal choice to continue living in sin with no genuine repentance. Paul urges us to crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires and to keep in step with the Spirit (see Galatians 5:24-25).

And once we deal with the sin in our lives once and for all, God will allow us to move on and into great blessing. And when we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.