I haven’t written for a long time, and it feels a bit strange to put my hand again to the plough, but I think even as I begin that I shouldn’t have taken it off.

As I was reading the book of Colossians I stopped at this marvellous verse. I often say to people, ‘read until He speaks’, and when I got to this verse, I had to stop, I couldn’t move on. Like the unusually nice box of chocolates that draw you back for another and then another, until they are all gone, with the exception that coming back to this verse doesn’t have any health risks, on the contrary, it will actually save and prolong your life. It was like my soul was drinking from the words, I was being refreshed and energised.

And like the irresistible chocolates, I want to keep tasting this verse, He has delivered us from the power of darkness. It begs the question, what power does the darkness have and what does he mean by darkness? I don’t think Paul is talking about the physical condition of the earth revolving and there being day and night. Night, when the sun is below the horizon, in itself is neither good nor bad, but it is a metaphor of evil. Most violent crimes happen at night, when it would seem that your actions cannot be seen. At night it is easier to hide, and that is the inherent sin of mankind, our shame makes us hide. Our shame means we don’t want others to see what we are doing, we are afraid of being found out.

But there is hope, we have been delivered, we have been redeemed, the price has been paid such that the darkness has no hold upon us. We have been delivered. It might be helpful to think of deliverance like being rescued, for me that provides more immediate images. The boat at sea that is struggling is rescued by the coastguards. The kidnap victim is rescued by the authorities, the struggling swimmer is rescued by the lifeguard. We have been rescued from the night. We have been rescued from the power of darkness. What is this power of darkness? It is power to keep us hidden, to keep us in sin, to keep us away from God.

But we have been delivered from this power.