Sunday, August 17, 2014

Walking in Light



This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he 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 deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.1 John 1:5:10

1 John is a great book. If you have not read it or not read it recently I suggest that you do. In this post I want to discuss how we are able to walk in the light, in future posts I plan to explore more of the Epistles of John. Do we simply decide one day that we want to start walking in the light? Are there any requirements we must meet before we begin to walk in the light? If these seem like “loaded” questions they are so please don’t hold that against me.

First, lets define what “walking in the light” means. We are given the context in verse 5 where we are told that God is light. We must also know that when we see “walking” in the Bible, it often is a metaphor for how we live our day-to-day lives. With these things in mind it becomes clear what “walking in the light” means. It means to be living daily in accordance to God’s commands. Simple enough, right? Now that we know what “walking in the light” means we must turn our attention to how we can actually live according to God’s commands. This is not a small task.

Walking in the light is the opposite of walking in darkness. It means seeing reality for what it is and being controlled by desires that accord with God's light. If God is light, and in him is no darkness at all, then he is the bright pathway to the fulfillment of all our deepest longings. He is the deliverer from all dark dangers and obstacles to joy. He is the infinitely desirable One.

What does God want of me? What does God want of us? Probably every Christian has asked these very questions. They are asked in times of anguish, during crisis and decision making and, implicitly and explicitly, on a day-to-day basis. What does God require of those who want to offer their sincere allegiance and devotion?

God has created human beings in such a way that they continue learning and growing intellectually all throughout life. It is normal, natural and desirable that we continue to grow, even in our understanding of the Bible and theology. That is one of the reasons we attend church. Obviously we go to worship the Lord but we also go to learn from the Bible. This also means that as I grow, I become more responsible than I was earlier in my life. Paul teaches this same truth about love when he says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish way s behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11). The implication of this passage is that earlier in our life—when we had a simple understanding of truth, God accepted us and our ignorance. However, as we received more and more information, God holds us to a higher level of understanding.

So, if we continue learning and growing intellectually in our relationship with God, are we then doing what God wants? Are we walking in the light? We cannot simply mark these things off on a checklist. For there is a unifying thread woven through the pattern of "walking in the light." These "expectations" are unified by an understanding of God's character and of God's activity in Christ. Thus John begins with an assertion about God, the simple statement that God is light. Everything depends upon and flows from that statement. It is worth examining at some length.

Once we recognize our need for a Savior we are willing to listen and respond to the Gospel.  We must hear and respond to the Gospel before we can “walk in the light”.  When we respond to the Gospel, by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God adopts us into His family.  We become joint heirs with Jesus.  We must be adopted into His family before we can “walk in the light”.  As adopted children, we then become responsible to live under the authority of our heavenly Father.  This means following His commands.  When we follow His commands in our day to day lives we are “walking in the light”.  Verse 7 gives us the benefits of “walking in the light”.  We will have fellowship with one another and will be cleansed by the blood of Christ.

Are you “walking in the light”?  As I read this passage, I couldn't help but remember one of my favorite hymns, which I want to leave you with.

Heavenly Sunlight
Henry J. Zelley, pub.1899

Walking in sunlight all of my journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, “I’ll never forsake thee,”
Promise divine that never can fail.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

Shadows around me, shadows above me,
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the Light, in Him is no darkness;
Ever I’m walking close to His side.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine.

In the bright sunlight, ever rejoicing,
Pressing my way to mansions above;
Singing His praises gladly I’m walking,
Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love.

Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight,
Flooding my soul with glory divine:
Hallelujah, I am rejoicing,
Singing His praises, Jesus is mine

2 comments:

Jay M. said...

I do try. I guess that's all we can do.

Peace <3
Jay

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post. :)