Verse: 1 John 1:6-7
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 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.
John introduces a main theme of this book here: the difference between claiming to be something, and actually living like it. I don't know about you, but when I read verses like this that say if we "walk in darkness" then "we lie and do not live out the truth"—I assume this is for other people I know. Certainly it's not for me. Right? I mean, I'm a good person!
But in reality, we all have areas in our lives where we are still walking in darkness. We may claim to be followers of Jesus who are generous, but in reality we don't share with those in need, and even when we do, we do it with judgement, grumpiness, or fear. We may claim to be forgiving, but in reality we are harboring bitterness towards that person who hurt us. We may claim to believe in holiness, but in our secret lives we are filling our hearts and minds with images, words, and thoughts that are anything but holy.
John isn't letting us off the hook either. He doesn't tell us "it will all be alright." No, like a good parent, he explains the consequences of our actions if we continue down those paths. We will lose the things promised in verse 7: fellowship (deep relationship and friendship) with one another, God, and purification of sin. When we walk in darkness we distance ourselves from other believers and God.
John is writing this book long enough after Jesus rose from the dead that there is a second generation of Christians. And already he is seeing "Christianity in name only" arising. He is seeing people who claim to be Christians, but John looks at their lives, and he doesn't recognize Jesus in their lives. He doesn't see the purity, the love, the sacrifice, the generosity, and the broken heart for the lost. He sees people who want the benefits of being a Christian without the sacrifices and obedience to his Word. And he's worried. So he lays it out: if you claim to be a Christian, but don't walk in the WAY AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS, you are fooling yourself. You actually aren't in the light at all, but in the darkness.
These are hard words. But I'm glad he wrote them. Because I need to hear them. Do you? How often do I slip into going through the motions? How often do I act one way and just think, "God will forgive me." I want to truly be changed from the inside out, so the way I live my lives resembles Jesus. So people could look at my life and know that I am walking in the light: not by what I claim, but by what I do and who I am.
Will you join me? Let's invite the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and point out any darkness he sees in our lives.
I pray that you would search me God. Search my heart and motives. Expose my actions. Reveal my fears. I want to be living authentically for you, and not just claiming to do it. I know you are loving and gentle and I can trust you with my heart and life. So I invite you to speak to me, and lead me to walk in the light.