Jesus Teaches Light vs. Darkness
In John 3:19-21, Jesus discussed light and darkness with Nicodemus. The Pharisee came to Jesus by night—sneaking off to see this teacher who was making such a stir. As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus wasn’t supposed to be around those who followed the Lord. But he was curious.
Jesus shared truths that no doubt unsettled Nicodemus—and those truths unsettle people today. People love darkness rather than light, Jesus told the Pharisee, because their works are evil. Their hearts are darkened, so they prefer the darkness; and they will not come to the light, because they know their wickedness will be exposed. Without God’s light, walking in the night, people stumble around in sin and confusion. But those who “do the truth” will want to come to the light so people will plainly see they are doing what God wants.
With the enemy’s lies multiplying around us, Christ-followers need to speak the truth and live the truth. God might use any one of us as Christians to draw people to His life-changing light.
The light people come to is both the written and living Word of God. Someone once said, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” The Bible is light for our lives, showing us how to live. And Jesus, the living Word, said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Two Critical Steps to Walking in the Light
The natural result of our identification with the Lord of Light should be a desire to walk as children of light. Here are two important steps:
1. Put aside what hinders your walk. First, we will want to separate ourselves from sinful attitudes and habits. We won’t want to walk in the ways of the world.
What might this look like today? We won’t want to walk with wicked companions, we will purposely eliminate anything that doesn’t enhance our walk with God, and we’ll seek to bring Him glory (Psalm 1:1-3; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31). We will desire to “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
If we say we have fellowship with God but we’re walking in the darkness of sin, John says we “lie and do not live out (practice) the truth.” If we allow sin to control us, we can live a “dark life” even though we belong to the Lord (Matthew 6:22-23).
2. Ask God to sanctify you. We will want to cooperate with God in the process of sanctification—being set apart as holy. God has called us to live in holiness and to mature in our faith. As truth takes up residence in our hearts, we become more conscious of, and convicted of, sin. We agree with God about our sin. We hate it. We grieve over it. We want none of it!
Church planter Ben Sternke wrote, “Walking in the light has nothing to do with perfect behavior and everything to do with being known.” When we walk in darkness we hide or try to present an image that doesn’t align with our heart’s reality. “Darkness,” Sternke said, “helps keep reality hidden.”
Walking suggests we’re going somewhere. We’re making progress toward a destination or goal. We walk in the light one step at a time as God guides us. We determine not to be distracted by the darkness around us. Instead of taking part in evil, we expose the works of darkness.
The scriptures describe our walk with God in many terms: “walk in the Spirit,” “walk … as wise,” “walk in love,” and “walk by faith.” Walking in God’s light makes us sensitive to anything that would displease Him, such as being unequally yoked with unbelievers. Why? “What fellowship has light with darkness?”
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