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What is spiritual darkness?

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Colossians 1:13 KJV)

light shines in the darkness showing a woman holding a bottle of light

We find the word “darkness” repeatedly used in the scripture in a metaphorical sense. Paul says above that God has delivered us from the power of darkness, implying darkness has power. In Ephesians 6:12, he said we are warring against the rulers of the darkness of this world, implying spiritual darkness has lords or spiritual rulers. What is this spiritual darkness?

We all know what natural darkness is. The simplest way to explain it is to consider the absence of light. It is similar to the spiritual sense. It is the absence of light, and that light is God Himself. Spiritual light, as I have discussed in prior devotionals, is also used for many related concepts but especially life, knowledge and positive experiences of life such as joy. If you take the spiritual opposite of all of these, then you have what darkness means.

Spiritual darkness is death, the ignorance of God and the experience of death mainly sin in our lives but also as disease in our bodies or fear in our souls. Darkness is a realm or manner of existence and living where man is cut off from God’s life, lives in ignorance of God and is subject to God-less experiences such as sin, fear, shame, disease, depression, bitterness, etc. It is also the spiritual power that dominates or exercises authority over us enforcing these experiences while we remain as helpless captives. Finally, and even most importantly, there are angelic lords who control the power of darkness. This is critical. There are spirits that drive the darkness of this world in all its forms, from evil, sinfulness to inability to know and believe in  God ( Eph. 6:12). Satan is referred to as  the lord of death, meaning he control of the spiritual power called death, which he certainly uses to his advantage against humans( Heb. 2:14).

This world and the activities in it are more spiritual than many of us realize. When scripture says the whole world lies under the control of Satan( 1 John 5:19 or the prince of this world ( John 14:30), it is referring to the dominion of Satan through the darkness that covers the whole world. And then there is the good news in Colossians 1:13 above. God has delivered us from the power of darkness( in all its forms) and translated us to the kingdom of His Son, which is light! We have passed from darkness to light. We now have God’s life, our eyes open to know Him and  have been brought into the experience of God’s life. This is who you are and what God has already done. Whether that is our daily experience is a different question and our responsibility as Christians.  Refuse to live in darkness and walk in the light as children of the light.


How would you explain the meaning of darkness as discussed above? Can you think of an area in your life where darkness is still dominating?


His Word is light, and walking in the Word is the escape from darkness. In fact, when God spoke in Genesis, He brought forth light out of the darkness. His Word can bring light into every dark area of your life. Walk in the light!


Thank the Lord for the blessing of translating us into the light. 

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