Walking in the light…..
Last week, we saw very clearly that God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all, no shadow, no hidden corner…. God is purely light.
And this light is fully revealed in Jesus, God’s son, who came to earth to live among us, show us the way and then opened his arms wide, dying for us.
Our gospel passage records Jesus’ words…. ‘I am the light of the world’.
This week in no uncertain terms John says that anyone who believes and trusts In Jesus, anyone who abides in Him, anyone who has fellowship with Jesus must walk just as Jesus walked….
There is no room for compromise, or an easy complacent faith….
John’s advice encourages an active, disciplined faith… not just a belief, but a life as a follower of Christ.
A faith which is an adventure of growing and learning and walking openly in Christ’s light.
OK – that sounds good – but how, what does it look like for us to walk in the light?
Well John gives us some advice….
The first thing John says is we can walk in his light if we obey his commandments.
Now when we hear the word commandment we often think of the ten commandments that were given to Moses… a list of directives –
to honour and worship God alone…
to not make any other idols,
to not kill or steal, to honour our parents,
to keep a day of rest.
And of course, Jesus taught further still on these commandments, saying we should love God with all our hearts and mind, soul and strength and that we should love others, our neighbours as ourselves.
And Jesus fully embodied this teaching….Jesus loved his Father with all his heart, he spent time in prayer and quiet, communing with his Father,
and in his interactions with others Jesus constantly displayed love, compassion, healing, and goodness.
Jesus served others first.
Jesus washed the feet of his disciples,
Jesus healed the sick,
he spent time with those who were considered to be unworthy,
Jesus broke divides, reaching out to those in need,
Jesus challenged assumptions.
So, when John gives the advice to obey his commandments, it’s not just about following a list of laws, rather it is seeking to live as Jesus lived.
To lives in such a way, that we bring hope to others,
we serve one another, we speak out for those with no voice,
we care for the marginalised…
That day by day we make it our aim to share love in practical ways with those around us.
John’s second bit of advice reminds us that we can only walk in the light if we actually get to know the one who is the light…Jesus.
Now knowing the light isn’t just some vague, whimsical, erratic belief….
It’s not just vaguely trusting that Jesus is real…
It’s not just about attending church, or even doing the right thing….
Knowing the light, means intentionally spending time, getting to know Jesus….
John puts it this way…..he says we should abide in Christ….
Now the word abiding is used to refer to a relationship that is long lasting, enduring, life long, eternal, constant, permanent, stable, steadfast and unchanging.
And this sort of relationship takes commitment, time and energy.
This means we need to be those who are committed to growing in our relation to Christ, we should be those who are committed to reading our Bibles, praying, worshipping,
not just at church on Sunday, but daily.
Then we can really get to know Christ, and his life will fill our lives and help us to walk in his light.
John then says… we can only say that we walk in the light if we commit ourselves to loving one another, and forgiving one another when we make mistakes and hurt each other.
You see Jesus lived a life of love and forgiveness…in fact Jesus died because his love and forgiveness was so vast.
Walking in the light means choosing to forgive, even when it is difficult, even when it hurts.
Walking in the light means working for reconciliation.
And then finally walking in the light involves a rejection of the world and its ways.
John expands saying the ways of this world are full of pride and are centred on material wealth and riches.
Today we live in a society which is obsessed with material wealth, on buying things, on craving for more and more.
It is too easy, for us to become focussed on owning the latest gadget or piece of technology, to desire a better car or home….
Now these things are not wrong in and of themselves,
but when we make it our hearts desire to seek these things,
to focus on the material, to make decisions that are selfish,
then we are allowing, albeit quite subtly, darkness to slip in….
Walking in the light, says John, involves seeking God’s ways…ways of equality, justice, fairness, peace.
So walking in the light…. Is an active faith…..
choosing to follow Jesus commandments – indeed the very way he lived his life,
it’s about growing in our relationship with Christ-intentionally abiding in Christ,
it’s about forgiving one another and living in love,
it’s about rejecting all that is evil or selfish, and instead seeking God’s way of peace, truth, righteousness.
If we don’t walk in the light…. We’ll find ourselves walking in darkness….
And then we will encounter problems….
One further quick point……
Walking in the light doesn’t mean we suddenly get it right and become holy overnight…. Rather it is, what it says,
a walk, a journey, a process,
an adventure of transformation and change.
All the verbs that John uses in this passage are in a form which means they are actions that began in the past, continue now, and will continue in the future.
Walking in the light, doesn’t mean sudden exposure,
rather in means honesty, integrity and transparency, to keep walking in the light,
this is a necessary condition whereby God in his mercy and grace transforms us into something which is holy.
As we walk in the light God works through us to shine his light into others’ lives.
So, can I encourage you to keep walking in the light – Jesus….
make him your target, your centre, your vision as you journey through life.
And as you leave here today….. have a think what could you do, this week to walk in the light?
What could you change, what could you be more intentional about that would keep you walking in Christ’s light?