I JOHN 1:5-9: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” CSB
OBSERVATION: Am I truly walking in the light? What are the pitfalls of walking in the light and how do I overcome them? If I find myself in a place of darkness is there any hope of returning to the light?
Walking in the light is messy! We know that God is light and that there is no darkness in Him. And, we know that as children of God we are called to walk in His footsteps. We are called to walk in the light. If this is true, then why is it so hard?
To walk in the light is synonymous with walking in life.
- “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:4-5 CSB
Another translation of the verse above says – “That light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” The truth is – light is incompatible with darkness. Life is incompatible with death. And, yet, we find ourselves in the middle of both. We are born again as children of the light, and we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling as we come out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.
Have you ever opened the windows and greeted the light of day, only to see the dust and dirt that had accumulated that is now reflected by the light? Walking in the light is messy because it reveals the darkness that is in our life. Our spirits are born again, but our minds and our bodies are in the process of renewal. This is why the Scriptures call us to walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. This is a call to walk in the light. Yet, when we approach the light it shines on the dusty and dark areas of our life. How should we view this?
First, John is very clear. We cannot deny that there is darkness in our lives. He boldly proclaims,
- “If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
The greatest darkness of all it to convince ourselves that we have no darkness to be revealed. This is deceiving ourselves. Some of the most carnal Christians I have met were those who claimed to be fully sanctified. Even Paul never made this claim! (Read Philippians 3). We are all in the process of sanctification. And, we are all in this together. As the light shines upon our lives we see the darkness that we need to deal with both in our lives and in our relationships together!
- “If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
This is where many churches get derailed. As they live out their faith together, as they walk in the light, there are conflicts and disagreements. In reality this is simply the darkness being revealed by the light. When we recognize this and bring it to the Lord, the provision of the blood of Jesus cleanses us, renews us, and gives us the grace to work toward resolution and restoration. When we refuse, we break our fellowship, leave the church, or worse yet – cause a divisive split that neither glorifies God nor helps the issue at hand. The same happens in marriages if we refuse to acknowledge the darkness that is in our own lives!
And, we must also remember that we are not the light. Jesus is the light. God does not issue holy flashlights so that we can expose the darkness in the lives of others. We walk in the light so that we can find the darkness in our life and bring it to the cross. Jesus put it this way,
- “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 CSB
I am called to walk in the light and I am called to work on my own darkness – not search for the darkness in others. To do so is to deceive myself and stay in the darkness. The whole reason I need to abide in the light is so that I can increasingly become light. His life is given to transform my life. And this transformation is an ever increasing awareness of the things that need to be surrendered to Him. It is light dispelling the darkness, step by step, degree by degree, until we begin to shine in the fullness of His love. And, this is a lifetime pursuit!
Walking in the light is messy. Yet, it should never be discouraging. Why? Because He has give us His great and precious promise!
- “If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Wow! To deny the darkness is to walk in deception. To embrace it and bring it to the cross is transformation. God never rejects His children when they come to Him for cleansing and forgiveness. In fact, this is the normal process of walking in the light. The light reveals new areas that we need to bring to the cross. We bring them in sincere repentance and He not only forgives us, but cleanses us from the darkness and replaces it with His light. The light of His life and love transforms us as we walk with Him! We should never fear the light, or its power to disclose the darkness. We should embrace it as a means to grown in His life and light.
It may be messy, but it is always worth it!
Lord, help me to walk today with You in the light of Your life and love. Shine brightly upon me today and show me any areas of darkness in my life that I need to bring to the cross. Help me walk toward others in a spirit of reconciliation and restoration. Forgive me, wash me, and transform me by Your grace!
In Jesus Name!