Close your eyes and imagine the warmth of the sun on your face; the glow of a camp fire; the brilliance of a full moon.
Light is wonderful. It illuminates our celebrations, lights our way and calms our fears. ‘Let there be light’ is one of the first things God says in the Bible. It’s one of his first gifts to us.
Here, in the opening chapters of 1 John, we learn that ‘God is light; in him there is no darkness at all’. God’s light brings us into an authentic community of believers, all relying on his grace (1 John 1:7). There’s warmth, security and blessing here.
But light shows us other things too. When the early morning sun filters though the windows, it might show up the dust on your bookshelves and the marks on your kitchen floor.
When our Life Group studied 1 John 1 this week, someone commented that when we’re living in God’s light, we notice our blemishes. When we were walking in the darkness, perhaps we could think of ourselves as pretty decent people overall. But walking in the light shows up more subtle sins like pride and greed that can hide in the darkness. It also highlights our wrong attitudes to fellow believers (1 John 2:9-11).
Few Christians would claim to truly hate another believer. We’d use softer expressions, but our heart would still be in the wrong place. Dealing with conflict is not easy and often exposes the logs in our own eyes as well as the specks in other people’s. But we can’t claim to be walking in the light while ‘hating’ a fellow believer. We need to take responsibility for our part in any conflict so that we’re living in peace, as far as it depends on us (Romans 12:18).
Thankfully, we are not left to deal with difficulties alone. God has lavished his love on us (1 John 3:1-2). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, forgiving and purifying us (1 John 1:9). He draws us into fellowship with him and into relationship with a community of fellow pilgrims.
So, let us encourage each other to continue walking in the light. Let us deepen our fellowship with one another so that we can share our true selves, our hidden sins and struggles, and help one another keep our eyes fixed on Christ.