Feeling Light Deprived?

December 8, 2020

There are many things to love about winter in Southern California – evening fires that don’t cause you to sweat, visits to the snow in Big Bear and great traditions as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Nonetheless, as the daylight hours grow shorter, this can be a tough time of year for us sun-lovers.  Days are shorter and often, by the time the work day has wrapped up, the sun has already set.  If you happen to miss the early morning sun, you can feel light-deprived as you move from darkness to darkness.  

WALKING IN THE LIGHT

When the apostle John wrote his first letter from Ephesus, churches were feeling light-deprived in a different way.  Churches in the region were experiencing division and confusion as a result of false teaching that had found its way into the church.  Heretical views were gaining traction that diminished the importance of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There was also a sense that as long as you knew the right things, your behavior didn’t matter as much.  In effect, it was easy to excuse your sin.  So, in his letter, John set the record straight:  

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  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 cleanses us from all sin.”  (1 John 1:5-7 ESV)

John goes on to say that “walking in the light” involves confession of sin (1 John 1:9), keeping Jesus’ commands (1 John 2:3) and loving one another (1 John 3:11), among other things.  This latter point is one of the big take-aways from John’s letter and it is similar in tone to the book of James.  With a mixture of deep spirituality and pragmatism John tells us, in effect, that faith leads to action, particularly in how we treat one another within the body of Christ.    

As we reflect on the Ten Commandments sermon series, we know we all have a sin problem.  Darkness grows as the light of the Gospel is diminished by sin, disobedience and division within the Body.  This is why it’s so important that we fan the flame of the Gospel in our lives.  We do this as we humble ourselves, acknowledge and confess our sins, and receive the gift of forgiveness found in Christ.  We recommit to “walk in the same way that Jesus walked” (1 John 2:6), knowing and keeping the commands of scripture.  Perhaps the most obvious way we keep those commands is by how we treat one another.  Simple acts of kindness fight against divisiveness.  Listening before responding demonstrates respect.  Proving oneself right is not always necessary or helpful.  Serve one another.  Love one another.  These are the ways that we walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  

Take a walk at lunch today and enjoy some sunshine.  Then refocus and commit to walking in the light so that you may shine brightly wherever God takes you.

REFLECTION  

1.          All of us have experienced a greater level of tension and frustration during this season.  When you’re feeling stressed, how do you act out?  Which of your behaviors aren’t healthy or Christ-like?  Take a moment to confess them to God and then ask for His forgiveness.

2.          What are some characteristics of Jesus, or fruit of the Spirit, that you would like to see increase in you?  Ask God to reveal that attribute in you today.

3.          What is one thing you can do today to reflect the love of Jesus towards a family member or friend who might need some encouragement?

About The Author

Dan Wendell

Dan joined the Cornerstone team in November 2018 as the Pastor of Missions. His focus is on empowering the church family to step beyond the boundaries of CCLB to declare the Good News, so that the Body of Christ might be established where it would not otherwise occur. In addition, Dan provides oversight for Cornerstone’s Care ministries.