by Peter Swann
There are shades of darkness. There is dusk, as the sun heads off to sleep and darkness just starts to fall on the land. Then there is night in the city, where the darkness is punctuated by isolated lights. And then, there is the darkness hour of the night, in the darkest places, where there is no light. This is the darkest darkness.
As followers of Christ, we are called to bring light into the spiritual darkness of Satan’s domain. Yet most of us at best only toy with the outer darkness. Rarely do we charge into the darkest darkness. We instead are caught up in protecting ourselves, worrying more about keeping the darkness out of our circles rather than invading the darkness around others. We play very little offense and almost all defense. We are in a cosmic battle but that’s no way to fight a war.
I’m so struck by the example of the disciples in the early church. They were dominated by offense, seemingly playing very little defense. Their model was basically completed inverted from ours.
In Acts 3, Peter and John got put in prison. There they were threatened before their release, returning to the apostles in Acts 4. Once together, they lifted their voices to God in prayer. And what they prayed is striking. You can always tell a group’s priorities by what they pray. You can tell that even more in a moment of crisis. And in this moment, in this crisis, this group played nothing but offense.
There was no request for protection, no plea for safety. They didn’t ask to not go back to prison or not be beaten or not be killed. I don’t think it’s bad to pray for those things, but that wasn’t their prime priority. They were far more concerned about invading the darkness around them. So, they prayed only an offense prayer – for boldness in proclaiming the gospel and for God to work in great power.
I’ve been very convicted of my affinity for defense. It has long hounded me. The book of Acts is changing me, and my Hope community is changing me. But I’m pleading for more offense. I’m hungry for it. We’re all hungry for it.
I want to be found charging into the darkness, and not just any darkness. I want myself, my family, and our Hope family to be found in the darkest darkness. Let’s find the darkest darkness, let’s be the light of Christ there, and let’s see Him beautifully and profoundly transform it. We’re caught up in a cosmic battle and that… that’s a way to fight a war.