Sarah Wilson – April 19, 2021
Scripture: 1 John 1:5-9 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Imagine walking into a dark room in the middle of the night. You’re stumbling around looking for the switch trying to make sure you don’t trip over something or run into a piece of furniture. When you finally find the switch there is a sense of relief. Light fills the room and it’s comforting. You can finally see the room as it really is and walk confidently through it. This concept of light and darkness fits with our theme this week of being real, authentic, or genuine. This realness plays out in two areas:
- Real with God: In the Bible God is often described as being light. It gives us this picture of purity, holiness, truth, perfection, joy, honesty. There is no darkness in Him. This passage in 1 John says that we are to live in the light with God. Other translations call it walking in the light. Walking in the light means living life by God’s commands but it also means letting God’s light expose us for who we truly are. God wants to turn on the lights in our heart and reveal to us our brokenness. He wants us to be real with Him about our sin and our failures. Being a Christian isn’t about being sinless. 1 John says that if we say we have no sin we are fooling ourselves. Rather, walking in the light with God means being open and honest about the sin we do have and confessing it. The good news is that verse 9 says if we confess our sin he is faithful to forgive and cleanse us. As Christians, we are safe and secure in God’s certain forgiveness. We are able to admit the depth of our sin because we know that we are forgiven and loved.
- Real with others: Living in the light also means being real with the people around us. In verse 7, it says that when we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other. Our Christian community is one of God’s key tools in helping us grow. God wants to use the people around us to speak truth, keep us accountable, encourage us, support us, comfort us, love us. However, in order for people to do this they have to know us as we truly are. It can be tempting to act like we have it all together. We put up a front and act like everything is okay. We wear a mask that makes it look like we are doing great even when we’re not. The problem is that when we do this people can’t love us where we’re actually at. We pretend and hide and end up feeling lonely and like nobody cares. But how can people care if we don’t tell them what we’re struggling with? In Christ we don’t have to pretend like we have it all together because the starting point of a relationship with God is admitting that we don’t. When we acknowledge our sin to God and others, it reminds us of how great God’s grace is. James 5:16 says that confession and prayer with other believers is one of the ways God brings healing in our life.
Living and walking in the light is an ongoing journey - it isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a lifestyle of being real with God and others about sin, asking for forgiveness, and repenting. If we want to grow deeper in our relationship with God, we need to start being real with God and others.
- What is a sin struggle that you have? If you don’t know, ask God to show you.
- In what ways do you need to be real with God and others about this struggle?
- Do you have people in your life that know the real you? What steps can you take to help create these kinds of relationships?