Jan23WedJanuary 23, 2019
Over the past few week, there have been very few times when the clouds have parted and given way to the bright, winter sun. However, when those moments occurred, the contrast was striking and thankfulness soared within my spirit. But I was not alone in that sentiment within our house. Our young kitten and old dog both found their way into the rays cast on the carpeted floor and relaxed in the warm sunlight. Once I even caught them sharing the same window!
John, the Beloved Apostle who authored the letter which we are studying through March, was led by the Holy Spirit to use the imagery of light and darkness. Within the first two chapters, he reminds the believers that we can either be people who “walk in darkness” or “walk in the light.” The imagery of “walking in darkness” is John’s way of describing a Christian who blatantly ignores the commands of Jesus and still delights in old, destructive lusts of the flesh. John’s desire for the community of faith is that we be ones who instead “walk in the light” - basking in the light, life, truth, righteousness and love of the Jesus, the Son. When we choose this, we are being refined and cleansed of the sins which we were previously unaware. We become less tempted to practice old habits of sin and continue to willingly participate in the Holy Spirit’s work to make us more like Jesus. All of this is called sanctification – or “walking in the light.”
It’s easy to catch the analogy here – we should be creatures who enjoy the warmth of the light of Him who is pure. But it can be very difficult to understand practically what actually means. We may think that it includes studying the Scriptures, praying, tithing, worshipping, and investing in people (just to name a few spiritual practices). It can, but it’s also possible to engage in these good practices and still be “walking in darkness.” Exhibit A: The ancient Pharisees.
So then, how can we know if we are people who are “walking in the light” and growing in Christlikeness? For John, the answer to this begins with considering one’s heart towards Jesus and continues by considering one’s heart towards Christian community.
Here are some questions to ponder…
Do you long to learn more about the truth in God’s Word? Do you desire to live in more of Jesus’ life-giving presence? Do you seek to lovingly obey His commands even if it means going against the flow of the surrounding culture or your interpersonal community? If so, your spirit is likely “walking in the light” with a loving humility towards Jesus.
Here are a few other questions…Do you love the fellowship of Christian community more than the things of this world? Do you seek to love brothers and sisters in Christ even when it’s hard? Do you desire to share your life and resources with other Christians especially during times of need? If so, your spirit is likely “walking in the light” and leaning into the eternal significance of authentic Christian fellowship.
I hope that you have begun this New Year with a renewed desire to establish healthy habits of loving, learning and living in Jesus within the community of FMC. If not, today’s a great day to begin and 1 John is a great letter to keep us walking in the right direction! The life-giving light of Jesus is available for you even as the cold of winter continues. Let’s keep “walking in the light” together!