“This is the message we have heard from Jesus Christ and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:5-7
Choosing to walk in the light.
On first glance, it seems such a simple choice; the very definition of a black-and-white issue. When it comes to living out this principle…well, we all know that it becomes a bit more challenging.
So, I just have a simple question for you: are you, at this moment, choosing to allow sin to remain in your heart and mind and life?
That, my friend, is what is meant by “walking in darkness”. And the truth preached to us by the apostle John and Jesus Himself is this: when we set out attention and emotions on darkness, we will not find God. He does not dwell there. His presence is entirely in the light, and it is only when we set our attention and emotions on Him that we come out of darkness.
Now, that’s a significant thought: we do not come out of darkness by focusing on light. You do not leave anger by focusing on forgiveness. You do not leave lust by focusing on chastity and marital faithfulness. You do not leave greed by focusing on contentment. Perhaps that will work for a moment, but it is infinitely less powerful than what God intends us to do.
We leave darkness and sin not by focusing on and reaching for the morally good action opposite our sin, but by focusing on and reaching for Jesus Himself. Our sinful hearts can disdain forgiveness when anger is powerful enough. In my indignation, I can look at forgiveness and scoff, saying to myself “My indignation is more significant and important and valuable than forgiveness.”
But friend, you can NEVER truly look at Jesus and think that your darkness is more significant and important and valuable. To recall the life of Jesus on earth, filled with compassion and love and power and forgiveness in the face of such cosmic rejection, it becomes impossible to hold on to my own anger at some paltry and transient offense. To hold the knowledge that Jesus Christ the crucified One is now glorified in all power and standing at the heavenly throne in the midst of the tumult of angelic praise – yes, this makes it impossible for me to desire whatever darkness seems satisfying at the moment.
Do not walk in darkness, brothers and sisters.
But do not focus on the light in order to try to walk in it. Focus your attention and emotions on Jesus Christ, and you will find yourself in the light.