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#1038 - "Terrify the Dark" by Skillet
NRT's Kevin Davis talks with the lead singer John Cooper about the band's latest single

Posted: September 23, 2020 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Skillet's long-awaited expanded release Victorious: The Aftermath (Deluxe) has captivated my spirit. It's been a treat for me to watch their meteoric ascent into one of the world's biggest rock bands. The incredible success of their last four albums, ComatoseAwakeRiseand Unleashed has been phenomenal.
Over the past several years, I've had the opportunity to speak with Skillet’s lead singer John Cooper about several songs these albums, including "Awake and Alive," "One Day Too Late" and "Lucy," "American Noise," “Stars,” “The Resistance,” “Legendary,” “Anchor,” and “Save Me.” And, with each discussion, we've built on how John’s biblical life verses Romans 8:38-39 have shaped his songwriting.
“Legendary” sets the tone for Victorious: The Aftermath (Deluxe). We're all united in our struggles and spiritual warfare, and in our desire for truth and relationship. These songs are prayers for God to teach us to realize that this life isn't forever. Help us to realize what we're living for.

What am I wasting my time on? What am I doing with my life? We also need to think about what we are doing for His Kingdom. That's our legacy and the theme of this album. That’s one of the threads that weaves its way through all these legacy-focused songs. I had the chance to speak with John Cooper again about “Terrify the Dark,” which is our 13th Behind the Song discussion.

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

"Terrify the Dark" is a song that has the initial obvious takeaway, that Jesus is the light of the world. I do think there’s a real depth to this concept. The song is based on one of my favorite scriptures, John 1:5: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Honestly, I’ve always loved the imagery and significance of that verse.

As you go deeper and deeper with God, the revelation of that verse expands. Something I’ve really liked about it, and it does tie-in with the rest of the record, is how sometimes we know we're in a spiritual battle and, even though it feels tough for us, it’s not a tough battle for God.

The light shines in the dark. The darkness cannot overcome it. It’s freedom. Jesus is everything opposite of what we are. He is holy. He is other than, and not like us. In that terminology, before Christ, we were living in the darkness, in utter depravity, and alone.

We try to find salvation through ourselves, which can never be obtained. That’s living in darkness. That’s reason to despair, and not have hope. That’s when people succumb to addiction and hopelessness, as they don’t have the power to overcome it. When Christ came down, He died to defeat the power of sin and death. That’s where the light is.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

John 1:5 (NIV): “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Psalm 18:28 (NLT): “You light a lamp for me. The Lord my God lights up my darkness.”
1 John 4:18-19 (NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us."

Matthew 4:16 (NKJV): "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."

John 8:12 (NKJV): "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'"

John 10:10 (ESV): "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

John 12:46 (NKJV): "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness."

Matthew 5:14 (NKJV): "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."

1 John 1:5 (NKJV): "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all."

Romans 8:11 (VOICE): "If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you."
2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV): "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
What is the takeaway message?

As Christians, we don’t live in the darkness anymore. That’s incredible news, isn’t it? He’s taken us from the kingdom of darkness into His glorious light. I think the depth of that scripture and understanding what it means is so good because of how wonderful His light is. This is why the song's message is so powerful. I think it’s a really encouraging song.

I’ve seen how much God's light comes to areas of my life that's not fully surrendered to His lordship. But, when God shines His light on those areas, and when I adjust my life to match God's word, I experience freedom. It’s like His light is tied to freedom.

But, there are also false lights. We can't forget that the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. Sometimes, we think we can get to God's light on our own. We think that we can make changes outside biblical thought. This is a false light. There’s no freedom outside of Jesus and His Word. There’s no salvation outside of His sanctification and His Holy Spirit.

Secularism is trying to get to the light without God, and Christians can’t think that’s a real possibility. It’s not. Bring the light of Christ to your life, through His Word. That’s where you’ll find freedom, and life abundantly.

No power on earth
No power in hell
Is gonna steal my peace
Ten thousand enemies, they will
End up on their knees
When I'm hopeless
I can know this
You're with me
Your light will terrify the dark
I call upon the Name
That tears the night apart
My doubt will answer to Your scars
And fear will have no place
No hold upon my heart
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Where could I run
Where could I hide
You're breaking in on me
Restore the ruins of my life
From rags to royalty
I can see You
I believe You
I trust You
Your light will terrify the dark
I call upon the Name
That tears the night apart
My doubt will answer to Your scars
And fear will have no place
No hold upon my heart
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Break in on me
'Til all I see is You
Is You
Break in on me
Cuz all I need is You
Is You
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify

Your light will terrify the dark
I call upon the Name

That tears the night apart
My doubt will answer to Your scars
And fear will have no place
No hold upon my heart
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
No fear has a hold upon my heart
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Your light will terrify the dark
Closing Thoughts
The message throughout
Victorious: The Aftermath (Deluxe) is to know that we don't have to be perfect; God made us the way we are for a reason. We're beautiful; we have something to say and we're worth it. Joy isn't just a happy emotion. There's deep peace and understanding knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that we're loved. 

"Terrify the Dark" is a daily prayer, asking God to come and change our hearts and change our lives in such a way that our behavior and the way we live flows from God living inside of us. Only Jesus can give us our identity. What a powerful expression of what it means to accept that God never leaves or forsakes us. He is all we need.
Jesus wants to give you Himself, so you can bask in His light of life and not walk in darkness. Before God created man, He created light. God sent Jesus so that we could have a light return. This is our story and challenge: to think about how we're reflecting the light of Jesus and how we're spending our time before we die.

God is love. And, we love because He first loved us. You can have joy and worship loudly about the love of God in your life. His grace takes away anxiety, guilt, and shame. Know that being His is enough. I hear in John’s and Jen’s vocals a sincere yearning for the Lord. Thankfulness for God's mercy and grace.

God desperately wants to fill us with His light and His mercy to make us new. The Lord's glory, His strength, is found in our weakness. This song celebrates that truth.
"Terrify the Dark" and the accompanying Bible passages highlight the difference between living in the darkness of the world and living in the light of the Prince of Heaven, Jesus. It features introspective lyrics and an empowering refrain with John and Jen displaying emotive vocals. It's yet another anthem in the vein of “Stars” and includes another catchy musical vibe and a prayerful message. Regarding this great song, my pastor recently shared that "a lamp doesn't talk, but it shines." That's our job as Christians.

Sometimes, it's better to keep our mouths closed and not get in the way of the Gospel. As followers of Jesus, we can live out the words: “Your light will terrify the dark/I call upon the Name/That tears the night apart/My doubt will answer to Your scars/And fear will have no place/No hold upon my heart.” Amen to that.

NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector, and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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