Personally, I love black and white together…I love the contrast and how sharply dressed someone looks in these colors. I love black slacks and crisp white blouses. Oh this is not the best match for me! I always make a mess of a white blouse! I dribble coffee, drop something, brush up again something, or have a child’s hand print leave its indelible mark. I am thinking, this is how our lives can be in this world. Through God’s mercy, we have been washed clean, white, pure…made fresh like that crisp white blouse, and yet many things leave their marks. Nothing a little bleach can’t wash out of my white blouse. And in comparison, the marks of this world have already been taken care of through the blood of Jesus!
When you hear the term “black and white,” many different things may come to mind. The connotations that it stirs for me in this moment are the words: complimentary, contrast, clarity, opposites, truth, and spiritual warfare.
Black and white can compliment each other. Because of their stark differences, they look sharp when put together. Just as an infant sees things in contrast rather than seeing things in full color. We can see each other as fellow believers within the context of contrast. We see the differences in our personalities, and how these contrasts can compliment.
When we say to someone, just tell me in “black and white.” We are looking for clarity. We hope to keep it simple. Just the bottom line.
Spiritually speaking, we may say that one represents darkness and the other light. One represents sin and the other purity. One represents the things of God while the other represents the things of this world.
Opposites. They are very different…there is no getting them confused. No matter what someone’s vision is like, when the eyes interpret these two colors, it is very clear. And actually, scientifically speaking, black is not a color but absorption of all color. White is not a color either, rather a reflection of all color. In thinking of this, we could look at black as an absorption of all things…like a sponge…taking it all in. White is more of a reflector, we reflect God’s light in us and deflect sin nature.
This is much the same for believers, followers of Christ…God’s WORD and His ways are in direct contrast with the ways of this world. And because God is supernatural – He is in us, we are in Him; we need to see the world in great contrast…with our spiritual eyes. Here are a few contrasts between the natural and supernatural…
Selfish Selflessly Surrendered
Conditional Love Unconditional Love
Limited Resources Unlimited Resources
Dead Made Alive in Christ
One of many great examples of the opposite nature of God and that of the world, is given to us in scripture is in 2 Cor 6:14-16a.
Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
This scripture tells as we must not be connected to anything that is not of God…and how? We must be very clear on the black and white nature of boundaries. When we know our boundaries and stand firm in them, we can easily distinguish truth. In fact, as Christians, I believe that we have to be so clear about what God says, that we do not attempt to mix these issues. Because then we end up with what? GRAY! Gray areas in our lives can bring confusion, and cause us and others to stumble.
When a boundary line is set, it is distinguishable. There is no confusing where it starts and stops. Picture with me if you will a smeared line. A blurred line. An area in which I cannot tell where the boundary line starts and stops. This becomes a gray area.
It is safe to say that at one time or another we have likely (maybe with the help of our children) made a load of white laundry dingy by adding something dark to the load. I have washed whites before and opened the washer to find everything tainted with a hue of pink or gray. Often times, that discoloration does not come out.
One of the most beautiful examples of stark white being used as a representation of purity, is the tradition of a bride wearing a white dress. She looks radiant and lovely. Can you imagine how different it would be if a bride appeared on her wedding day with a dingy dress that had been carelessly thrown in the wash with other colors, making her gown seem dirty and dull? We would not be impressed. We are wired to look forward to seeing the bride with great expectation – in her beautiful gown. We love the look on her grooms face as he beholds her beauty!
There are things in this world that we all struggle with. The love of money, or the desire to continue accumulating more and more. Maybe we struggle with vanity with a great focus on the outward person rather than the inward person. Or maybe we have obsessive thoughts – dwelling on things of the past, getting caught up in our own thoughts until we no longer have peace. Obsessive thinking may rob us of precious time with God, our families, or our daily experiences. Maybe we are given to compulsions, or addictions. Feeling powerless over sin as it lurks about, we give in to things that we know we should not participate in or allow in our lives. Do we seek lustful pleasures? Do we battle an insatiable longing for more? Uncontrolled anger, fear, jealousy, selfishness….There are some desires that seem to never get satisfied.
So we Stand Firm…
Finally, be strong and courageous in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10–13 (NIV)
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness, God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while he will restore , support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen. I Peter 5:8-11 (NLT)
You too, be patient and stand firm, for the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:8 (NIV)
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor 15:58 (NIV)
Stand firm in the TRUTH. There are areas of GREAT contrast… LIGHT AND
DARKNESS…And when our boundary lines are clearly marked, we see in full focus what is light and what is dark. We see where we need to stand.
And in this ever-present battle, we sometimes wonder if we can stand strong, stand firm…. We wonder how it can be that we come through one trial and find ourselves in another. We continue to CHOOSE to walk in the light – not allowing ourselves to feel beat up or condemned. When we recognize the battle with our spiritual eyes, we see it for what it is…we know that we are OVERCOMERS through CHRIST. Therefore, whatever the battle, we can overcome! That is great news!
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. But, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:16-18 (NIV)
We must rest in our FAITH and come to God, so that He can continue the
work that needs to be done. We must continue to grow deeply in Christ. In HIS FULLNESS AND POWER!
Stand firm friends…through difficult times, through simple times. See the contrast, walk in His light, and stand firm.