I was preparing to preach on 1 John 1:1-6 for this past weekend and read dozens of commentaries on what John means by “light” and “darkness.” It seemed as if twenty-four commentators had twenty-five opinions on what John really meant by using these two terms.
The most likely seemed to be tied to authoritative teaching. After all, John repeats that he and his fellow disciples have seen, heard (and even touched) Jesus and only pass on what they learned from Him. It strikes me that John was dealing with challenges to the teachings of the disciples. This follows not only from the context but because “darkness” was often used by ancient Greek writers like Homer and Plato to designate confusion. We walk in darkness when we shape our faith to suit our prejudices rather than allow the God of the universe to define it. God’s light is the only way. It is the exclusive path for truth and meaning. So, one must submit to God’s Word to walk in the light.
But reading through other commentaries and even sermons by guys like Tim Keller, John MacArthur and Charles Spurgeon, it hit me that we can claim to believe in the exclusivity and inerrancy of Scripture and still walk in darkness.
How? By continuing to place ourselves at the center of the universe.
Even in the best of churches, there is a tendency to start with ourselves rather than God. We preach “practical messages.” Professional staff respond to complaints about the music, the decor, the temperature, etc. We say it is all about God but we make it all about ourselves.
Darkness was often defined by Greeks as not only confusion but evil and despair. They are all connected for they all come from Satan who is one crafty demon. He can let a Christian parrot all the right doctrines while living a life that is all about his or herself, which produces confusion, evil acts and despair.
To walk in the light, one must not only say we believe it is all about God, we have to live like it as well. How?
(1) Practice praying…a lot! and begin and end every prayer with praise to God, thanks to God and meditating on who He is.
(2) Don’t expect a life of ease but a life of suffering with “your best life now” coming only after Jesus returns.
(3) Worship God regardless of where you are or whether you like the music because you are singing praise to Jesus on His throne not just for recreation.
(4) Give of yourself including your time and money.
Know the doctrines of God and make Him the center of your life. After all, Your Life doesn’t get better until it is about something better than your life.