Walking in the light and walking in the dark
We all understand the polemic of light and darkness. We understand that they exclude each other as a concept, and yet, when it comes to our spiritual walk, we seem to suggest that you can have both at the same time. To this, John has something to say.
I want to show, from 1 John 1, 3 tests for you to take, so that you can see whether you are walking in the light “as he is in the light”, or whether you are walking in darkness.
Often we define darkness over the absence of light. In 1 John 1:5 the Apostle John gives us a, somewhat surprising, summary of the message he heard from Jesus during his time on earth: “God is light, and in Him is darkness at all”. So, if God is light and you walk in darkness you are walking without God. That is a very serious issue. My concern is that many “christians” are walking without God, some permanently, others temporarily. I hope that you will take those three tests honestly and earnestly for yourself.
Today i will bring you the first of the 3 tests:
Test #1Are you pursuing fellowship with God and other believers?
Note with me how John in verse 6-7 shows two sides of this: in verse 6 he shows the person walking in darkness and in verse 7 the one walking in light.
The darkness walker:
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
The darkness walker is lying with his life to others. If you are there, you are saying one thing (namely that you have fellowship with Jesus) but your life (your walk) disproves your words.
A recent poll revealed that about 80% of “unbelievers” (those that would term themselves as such) would summarize Christians with one word: hypocrites. A hypocrite is one that says one thing but does another. They are the “submarine Christians”, the one going under during the week just to surface again on Sunday. That’s walking in darkness. That’s lying to others about your life.
Some questions to expose such a walk:
- Is your Sunday behaviour different from that during the week?
- Do you tend to be a “lone ranger”, avoiding fellowship with unbelievers?
- Do you hate and refuse accountability (“who are you to talk to me”)?
- When speaking to other believers is your life always “fine”?
- When you sinned, are you sharing it with someone else, or are you hiding it away?
- Do you love the fellowship when the fellowship is there, but love your sin when the sin is there?
You cannot call yourself a child of God and remain walking in darkness. It is impossible, for the mere fact of verse 5, namely that God is light.
If you remain walking in this way you are like a Pharisee, and Jesus had much to say about them:
“So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (Mat 15:3-9)
Does this describe you? If it does then pull all the stops, call off your whole life, go down on your knees and beg God for forgiveness. Repent from it and turn away.
The light walker:
“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.” (1Jo 1:7)
Instead of running away from accountability and fellowship, this person is running towards it.
If you are such a person your Christianity is transparent and genuine. You are real and open, for everybody to read. You are walking your talk. Your lifestyle matches your doctrine. Your Sunday behaviour is nothing different from what the rest of the week is.
Some questions that speak of such a walk:
- Do you love the fellowship and hate your sin so much that you would do anything just to get rid of it?
- Do you love other believers and want to be around them all the time?
- Do you pursue accountability?
- Do you love the Word, the Bible, for its candor about you and it’s direction?
- Are you being “cut to the bone” by it, or has it become bland?
- Are you looking towards Christ for help and forgiveness in your sins?
The direction of the dark person was away from the light, away from accountability and fellowship. The light person has the opposite direction, namely:
“But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”
You want to be “clearly seen”, you hate the masks and hypocrisies that come so easy for us. Do don’t walk in obscurity, somewhere in between chairs.
Here are some practical ways how you can counter your darkness walking:
- Pray: pray to God for light and a new desire. Ask Him to change your heart and open it up for correction. Only God can do such an operation.
- Seek accountability: If you have strong Christian friends (or somebody you know) then ask them (or him/her) to hold you accountable. If you are a guy, choose a guy, it’s just a wiser way to do it because you will be able to share with inhibition or causing a sister to stumble. Girls should seek accountability with other girls, of course.
- Pursue God: If you don’t have a quite time during your day, in which you spend time alone with God, make time for it. Don’t just make 5 minutes either, make it a time worth spending. You need a relationship with the one you proclaim again.
- Spend much time in God’s Word, let it minister to your soul and seek Him in it.
- Pursue fellow believers: if you are not in a discipleship relationship, find the most admirable believer and ask him if you can spend time with him/her. Think about becoming the person to disciple another, how must your life change for that be light and not darkness?
If you have more suggestions please make use of the comments section, i would live to hear more (as i am still learning here myself. I am still in need of this myself!)
Next time we will have a look at the second test: “Is your life marked by repentance?”
Keep walking in the light!