It's not so much black and white as it is darkness and light. The presence of the light of Christ in the world through His church is, in itself, a restraining force over evil (see 2Thess2:6-7). How can darkness prevail if the light cannot be extinguished? It is the one true power over the black darkness. And we, the believers, are called to be lights in the world, both individually and corporately, as the Holy Spirit bears witness of Christ in us: "and you shall be My witnesses" (Acts 1:8).
As we lift up Christ, He will draw people to Himself and save them from their sins. How do we accomplish this if we are standing in the way? As a cloud obscures the sun, Self must be blown aside--taken out of the way, that the glory of Christ might be seen in us and demonstrated. Look at Matthew 5:15. I cannot let my worthless little bushel be what others see, I must remove it that others might enter into the presence of the Light which abideth in me--if I place Self over Christ, not only will I all but cancel out the light, I could easily start a fire!(factions, dissentions, arguments, etc.---ugggh!) The bushel(which would have been woven of reeds)placed over an open flame is a picture of a foolish action. The question is, "Who would do such a thing?" The illustration proclaims this: Christ must have the proper place in my life. The bushel is like the old man--dry, dead, but wanting to hold on to everything--a matter of control. In this picture, the bushel is turned upside down; in this position, it can no longer hold anything, but it trys to maintain control/stay in power when it is placed over a candle. Yikes! Hope there is a fire extinguisher handy! In this illustration, Christ reveals that when He enters the life of the believer, His proper place is in the new man/creature, which is pictured by the candlestick, which properly lifts the light, which is Christ, above Self and holds it there in the place of highest honor. Now I must ask: Which illustration most reflects my life as I carry on in this world? "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
Back to my opening thought: As long as we are here, our call is to give the Spirit full freedom to restrain through His work in us. One way is to speak the truth in love. I think the crux of the message of nonresistance is this: not letting personal attacks brought against us by evil men, which we must endure with the help of God's grace, stand in the way of our opportunity to see their pressing personal need for the Savior. Love is active--it acts--and sometimes it is very costly. There is always a choice involved. In this simple phrase, "See in this a chance to die," Amy Carmichael recognized that she could choose to lay her life down that Christ might be lifted up--this demonstrates the deepest kind of love, because it reflects on what Christ endured for our sake--what a small thing to present to Him--and what a powerful message, because it is so supernatural. I like that. There is power in remembering our call to sacrifice self. Wow. Every encounter, good or evil, is a chance--an opportunity--to make a choice--to die. Visual here: Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)--unflinching in the face of his adversary, reaching in his pocket, taking out his handkerchief, and wiping the spittle off of his face. Certainly nothing to what Christ endured for us--but that was a powerful image through action.
Agonies!! I am tested in this daily!!!
O God, all souls are Yours! I confess that I have missed so many opportunities! Increase my faith, I pray, break me free from the power of Self and empower me with Your Holy Spirit. Let me lay my Self upon the altar of Thy will, and when Self rises up in defense when provoked, let me choose to put it to death for the sake of Christ and of His name and His gospel, that I might be a defender of the true faith, always tempered with Your love, with gentleness and respect. Keep the cross ever before me. Remind me of what real love looks like--drops of blood, pools of blood, torn flesh, bruises, nakedness and shame--and of its power to save and to transform lives. Train me and strengthen me in this area where I so often fail You. I pray in Jesus' name.
Here's another way of thinking about it. When someone comes against me personally, I can say, "Toss the bushel--it's not worth it," and thereby choose to display Christ in His full glory on the lampstand of my new heart. That's the only way He can be lifted up, and that is His desire and His command on my life--no matter what it costs me personally.
The battle rages on and will continue until the end of the age. This is a reminder to us all to stay on our faces and on our knees before the Lord, that He might open the blind eyes and unstop the deaf ears, beginning in our own nations. We are to be a city set on a hill--no hiding allowed! Are we living lives that place Christ visibly before men? He is the Lord of the nations, the Lord of hosts, and He is the Desire of the nations.
Light always conquers darkness. Mercy triumphs over judgment. We must not fail in our mission to take the gospel into the world, for as the believers increase, so does the light increase throughout the land--and light always overcomes the darkness and brings glory to God.
"...the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining." 1John2:8b