Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walk in the Light

By Hayley Boud

I John 1:7“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, purifies us from all sins.”

It’s not a command but a choice. God doesn’t force us to walk in the light, He won’t come down from heaven and make us. We have to decide ourselves if we will walk in the light or if we won’t. It’s our decision.

This means all of us. This is not only for the person next to me, but for myself also. It’s easy to look at others but we must look at ourselves and ask, “Am I walking in the light?”

It’s a steady progress towards Christ-likeness. One step at a time; moving forward.

Walking requires both feet, each moving at its turn. This is the same for our Christian faith. Our faith must walk together with our works. As it says in James 2:17, “faith without works is dead”. When the foot of faith moves forward, it requires the foot of works to move also. If only the left foot (faith) moves and the right foot (works) doesn’t move, then you will not go anywhere. You will be stuck in the same spot. Both feet need to move in order to go forward in our Christian faith.

This is the same with prayer and the Bible. When we pray we need to use the Bible. We need to find verses to back up what we need. For example, a lawyer uses the law to convince the judge. The judge knows the law better than the lawyer but at the trial the lawyer will remind the judge, “In this Act, Section 1.2, it says...” and then the lawyer reads out the section that is applicable.

Jesus Christ is the highest judge (Rev 1:14, His hair is white like the white wigs a judge wears) and He knows the Word of God (the highest law) better than us but we should remind Him. For example, we can tell God, “it is written in Mathew 7:7...” and tell God what He wrote.

What is very helpful for the Christian life is to right down our prayer requests every day and next to those requests, write down verses that apply. Then after a few years those verses will already be written in our hearts (without even forcing ourselves to memorise them) and we will know where to find them in the Bible. That way, if we are ever without a Bible, we will have those verses ready in our minds to tell God and it will come naturally. For example, recently I had to take someone to the hospital and I didn’t have my Bible with me. I needed to pray for that person and I was able to remember many verses that I could tell God to help the situation. It wasn’t difficult; it was easy because I had been writing down verses for years and now those verses are written on my heart.

Also, reading the Bible with prayer is very important. We must pray before we read the Bible. We must make sure we have repented and are clean. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to help us and we must pray for God to remove any evil spirits that might distract us or make it difficult for us to understand.

Prayer and the Bible go together. It’s impossible to move forward in our Christian life without moving the left foot (prayer) and the right foot (the Bible).

Being in the light. If you turn on a light, the light spreads out and at the edge the light is weak but in the centre the light is strongest. Let’s be at the centre – “in” the light and not at the edge with one foot in and one foot out.

1 John 1:5, God is the light.
John 1:1, God is the Word of God
If we want to be in the light we must be in God Himself (Jesus Christ) and we must live according to the Word of God.

Let’s look at bats to help us understand more fully. Bats look like birds but they are not. There are also Christians that look like Christians but they are not Christians in their actions.

Bats hate the light. When the light is there, they close their wings over their faces and hide themselves from the light. Sometimes we do that also. When the truth is there, we don’t want to know, we prefer to pretend we can’t hear. We hide ourselves from the truth. When the message is about reading the Bible and I feel convicted because I didn’t read my Bible today, I try to shut out the light and I try to ignore my conscience.

When I am reminded of promises I made, or when I am reminded to pray, or when my character is touched, I cover myself with excuses or justifications.

Bats are asleep when there is light but when there is darkness, they wake up and are active. Some Christians are like that. During the prayer meeting or during church, they are fast asleep but when the meeting is over, they are wide awake. They can then go out from the meeting with energy. They might leave the prayer meeting where they were asleep and go to the rugby match full of life. Some Christians can even go to the pub, some even drink or smoke. Some forget they are Christians and their character becomes like a non-christian. Sometimes we can tell course jokes, get angry and swear or abuse others or speak rudely or gossip, sometimes we forget that we are not bats but we are birds.

The bird is comfortable in the light. The bird flies around completely exposing itself to the light. We as Christians need to be like that – accepting Jesus Christ, accepting the Word of God.

When I was in Tonga I saw bats for my first time. They live in trees and these trees are completely packed with bats. I thought that bats slept peacefully during the day but they don’t. They are constantly fighting with each other. If one bat accidently touches another bat, they fight and they make a lot of noise.

But birds can live peacefully in the trees together. They live quite happily together and at night they sleep peacefully (in comparison to bats). As Christians, if we live in the light, we will have this same peace. We live together peacefully because we live according to the Word of God which tells us about love, patience, joy, forgiveness etc. But when we don’t live according to the Word of God, we don’t have peace, we don’t have fellowship with one another.

Therefore, if I don’t have fellowship with other Christians, or if I am not living at peace with other Christians, I need to ask myself, “am I living according to the Word of God? Or am I impatient, unforgiving, unloving, rude, selfish, arrogant?” We can ask ourselves these questions and find the truth. If we find we are living according to the Word of God, then praise Him but if we are not, this is the right time for change.

“One another”
This means with other Christians. I used to wonder if it meant God Himself. I thought it might refer to our fellowship with God but it is talking about our fellowship with other Christians.

According to the dictionary, fellowship means “a feeling of friendship and support between people who do the same work or have the same interests.”

Fellowship is not the act of spending time together but it is the result of supporting one another and working with one another. It’s not bad to spend time together but we should have the aim of spending time together for God’s work to be accomplished and in order to support and encourage each other to do God’s work.

“the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from all sins”
We know that nothing can clean us except Jesus Christ. His blood is the only thing that can take our sin away – nothing else.

Praise God because He removes all our sin; not just the small sins but even the sins that we feel we don’t deserve to be forgiven of. We just have to confess it and admit it and ask Him to remove it. We can use this verse (I John 1:7) to remind God that when sin we are in darkness but we are now coming back into the light to receive forgiveness. It’s only by coming back into the light (Jesus Christ) that God can remove our sin.

Our sin can’t be removed if we continue to live in darkness. We can only be forgiven if we leave darkness and come into the light. We can only be forgiven if we leave satan and come into Jesus. We can only be forgiven if we leave our sin and choose to live a life of holiness.

If we sin and say, “It’s ok, I’ll ask for forgiveness later,” then we are just joking with God and Gal 6:7 says, “don’t be deceived, God cannot be mocked, a man reaps what he sows.” So if you think, ‘I’ll sin today and say sorry tomorrow’, God is not mocked and you will reap the consequence of that sin (eternal death) unless you leave darkness completely and change.

1 Peter 2:9, we were chosen and called out of darkness into God’s light. God has chosen us!! Why would we go back?

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