The Key To A Sustainable Spirituality
The Bible is very candid about man’s natural condition. Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Lovers of darkness are of necessity haters of the Light. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” The fact something went tragically wrong is evidenced by the stark contrast between God and man.
Adam was once at home in the Light. There was not even a hint of darkness in him or Eve. Having nothing to hide, they happily basked in the immediate presence of God. But when sin came, everything changed. Two tendencies emerged immediately after the Fall — hiding and blaming. No longer at home with the Light, they tried to hide themselves among the trees of the garden. This propensity of hiding was not limited to their relationship with God; they began hiding from each other as well. The sense of shame caused them to cover themselves with fig leaves. Rest assured, it was not long after the Fall before the first domestic quarrel took place. Those two terrible tendencies, hiding and blaming, have been passed down to the lot of us. Both hiding and blaming belong to the shadowy domain of darkness.
I cannot think of a single advantage that comes from clinging to the darkness. But LIGHT WALKING carries a multitude of benefits among which are communion, cleansing, and company. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1John 1:7). Let’s look carefully at these benefits.
Superficiality is the enemy of spirituality. Walking in the light means OPENNESS. And openness means judgment day honesty, absolute transparency, and sincerity. Jesus declared Nathaniel was free of guile, or deceit. Sincerity literally means without cracks. Artisans developed a trick to disguise imperfect pottery. They would fill the cracks with wax and paint over it. It looked like a masterpiece to the naked eye. But when the piece was put in front of bright light, the flaws and cracks became obvious. No attempt to conceal, no hiding of faults, no guile, no deceit, is what it means to be sincere. And this is the prerequisite to communion.
Jesus said those who practice evil hate the light and stay away from the light out of fear their deeds will be exposed. This sentiment was echoed by T.S. Elliot who said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”
Isn’t it amazing how all seems well under the cover of darkness? But once we are placed in the Light our faults are exposed. Light makes manifest. Holy Light reveals unholy darkness. Critical spirits, ill temper, impurity, selfishness, pride, as well as countless other things inconsistent with God’s holy nature become painfully apparent in the Light.
Consider the glorious possibilities of grace that Light Walkers may enjoy. We can indeed walk in light just as He is in the light! Though contaminated so thoroughly with sin by nature, practice, and choice, we are now privileged to walk in perfect communion with God. Christ’s cross work has purchased us from the pit of sin and restored the relationship lost by Adam.
The Christian life is a walk. Walking implies continuous action, as well as an ultimate destination. A definite goal is in view. When God turned us from darkness to light (Acts 26:18), His purpose was to restore us to a lifestyle of brokenness and communion with Himself. Walking in the Light results in a progressive relation with God in Christ.
The secret of constant communion is continual cleansing. “If we walk in the light as he is in the light the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin.” The word “cleanse” denotes present, continuous action — not a one-time act, but a way of life. This cleansing is operative only in the Light.
Scientists have developed a new technique for ridding the air of allergens and contaminants. By the use of filters and ultraviolet light these airborne particles are first trapped, then liquefied by U. V. rays, and finally evaporated into the atmosphere. Airflow and filters can capture the contaminants, but it is the Light where the actual cleansing takes place. Apart from the U.V. rays, no purification would happen.
In the spiritual realm, whatever the Light reveals, the Blood can heal! There is so much in us that is so unlike God. The good news is the blood of Christ can conceal anything the Light reveals. What an incentive to make for the Light!
The fear of exposure is the thing that keeps us in the dark. Do we not shudder at the thought of being shown up for what we are? We all like to be well thought of and flattered. Like Job, we love our own righteousness and will argue to keep it. Self builds walls of darkness to hide the unseen secret things like resentment, bitterness, jealousy, and untruthfulness. What a burden it is trying to avoid being found out.
Covering sin is a game everybody has played and nobody has ever won! “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Pro. 28:13). When Achan covered his sin, he and his family were stoned. When Joseph’s brothers covered their sin, they were plagued with a guilty conscience. When David went swimming in a sea of deceit, he nearly drowned in sorrow. David suffered a depressed spirit, a diseased body, a devalued testimony, and a dishonored Lord. Whoever covers the smallest sin shall not prosper, but whoever confesses the greatest sin shall find mercy.
I John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just . . . to cleanse us.” Confess means to own up, take responsibility for, to agree with God, to literally side with God and say the same thing about your sin that He says. Confession is saying, “Lord Jesus, I’m wrong. You’re right.” When you confess your sins you are not informing the Lord, but agreeing with Him! He anticipated in advance you would do, say, think, and be like you are. Our sins were dealt with on Calvary to the Father’s full satisfaction. That’s why the gospel is good news for bad people.
For God to cover sin is an act of grace, but for man to cover sin is an act of pride.
When we cover our sin, no one wins. When God covers our sin, we begin again!
Everything exposed by the Light becomes visible (Eph. 5:13). Everything confessed is cleansed by the Blood. Roy Hession used to say, “Calvary won’t cover what you need to uncover.”
Light Walkers do not merely get cleansed from some sin: big sins, small sins, or past sins. No, they receive cleansing from ALL sin! O the bliss of this glorious thought, My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul! Every deed, thought, false motive, and sin is cleansed by the Blood as we walk in the Light.
Hallelujah! There is a social side of the God-head. Light Walkers enjoy direct fellowship with God Himself. “If we walk in the light . . . we have fellowship one with another.” Divinity has affinity for those in the Light!
God is holy, pure, transparent, always revealing things as they are. So if we are to have fellowship with Him we must be revealed for what we really are. Honesty is the basis for all meaningful relationships. Because of Christ’s atoning work, we can afford to tell the whole truth since the Blood has us covered.
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” The ground for all fellowship is commonality or similarity. God took the initiative and identified with us that we might identify with Him. God sent His Son to become like us in a human sense, not a sinful sense. He was fully human, yet without sin. The humility of God is seen by virtue of His condescension, laying aside His reputation, and taking on a human form. The Creator became like His creation when He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. God became a man. On the cross that Man became sin for us that we might be made righteous in Him. Now it is our turn to conform to Him. We must agree with Him if we are to walk with Him.
You never walk alone when you walk in the Light because you are in fellowship with everybody else who is in the Light! Our relationship with God works out in our relation to others. If I am real and repentant with God, I will be the same way with people. God knows everything there is to know about me. Once I accept all Jesus has done on my behalf I am accepted in the Beloved. It is a happy day when I stop hiding and blaming and simply take the sinner’s place. No, I don’t have to orbit around others like the moon which only shows one face while hiding the other side. Have you ever modeled a new article of clothing to a family member or friend? Didn’t you turn completely around so they could see not only the front but the sides and back as well? There is tremendous freedom in the Light which allows me to avoid two-facedness.
When the roof is off toward God, then the walls can come down between us and others. There is nothing as sweet as the fellowship between cleansed sinners walking on the highway of holiness. Openness leads to brokenness and brokenness produces oneness. This is the heart of revival.
So how does a person walk in the Light? First, he must get in the Light. The scripture says “IF” we walk in the Light. That means it boils down to a choice. Light Walkers must choose daily to forsake their native darkness.
Those deceitful traits of hiding and blaming have got to go because darkness cannot co-exist with Light. What was Adam and Eve’s initial response concerning their disobedience after God found them hiding in the garden? Was it not blame shifting? Adam blamed Eve for his sin and Eve blamed the devil for hers. In revival, it is not what they did, but how I reacted. It’s not what they said or didn’t say, but how I responded. The issue is not the other man’s wrong, but my wrong.
The only way to get in the Light is to get out of the darkness. Stop putting on a front. Stop hiding. Stop blaming. Take the sinner’s place by putting every sin beneath the Blood. The path all Light Walkers must take is reality, repentance, reconciliation, replacement, and revitalization. Rivers of grace and peace flow into every heart which humbles itself at Jesus’ feet.
The way into the Light is the way to stay in the Light. Communion, cleansing, and company await all who would join the ranks of the Light Walkers. It might be a narrow way that leads to life, but there is plenty of room on this highway for you.