Living by Jesus’ values brings clarity to us and others
(The Bible reference links are repeated at the end as a Bible study.)
John 1:9 Amp
There it was, the true light was then coming into the world, the genuine, perfect, steadfast light that illuminates every person.
A New Year resolution that we all dwell on at this time of year is our desire to follow more closely the Way of Jesus, as those first disciples were known as Followers of the Way.
They hadn’t come up with any church politics or even the order of service they liked – at that point it was just working out how to live by the values that the Master had shown them, following what He had demonstrated, and appealing to the help of the Holy Spirit at every step.
Following the Way has to do with what John describes as “walking in the light” and we know without thinking too hard that this is about loving one another and striving for relationships of reality and truth. Light is good. If we stray into darkness, we don’t know where we’re going and we want to get back in the light again as quickly as possible.
Living in a rural county renowned for its lack of light spillage, I know what starlight dark feels like. Never go out without a torch…
At a dark end of a dark year it is good to reflect, not on how dark it is, but how light and illuminating the Saviour of the World is. We want to follow His Way; following His way is about learning to look at Him, rather than the dark shadows.
He is our Saviour to the extent that we regard Him. He is our light (and our salvation Psalm 27:1 ESV as we look into the light, where all is exposed. There’s darkness and confusion which conceals all kinds of motives away from the light (Isaiah 59:9) but in the light we find ‘transparency’, in our contemporary language, and ‘fellowship’ in the Bible’s language (1 John 1:7). Our love for one another channels the light to us, and so revelation comes. Things become clear in God’s perspective. Who wants to live without revelation?
Our failure to love as Jesus commanded (John 15:12 and 17, Romans 12:10 and of course John 13:34–35) does exactly the opposite (1 John 2:9–10). We effectively shut ourselves off from the light, fellowship is broken and we find ourselves stumbling around and getting things wrong. This is where confusion and deception gain a hold, as we saw in the Isaiah verse.
It’s our choice. We will naturally want to reflect on how dark it has become and how confusing the darkness is – and make this our conversation with others. However, we can make a choice to seek the light, talk about the light – what is God showing you? – and even be a source of light ourselves (Matt. 5:14) which impacts the darkness (Luke 8:16–17, Ephesians 5:8–13).
The person holding the torch may dazzle us for a moment, but stand alongside them and the darkness literally recedes in the beam. Where there were no contours, no colours, no perspective and no points of reference, suddenly a picture emerges around the light source.
If you are holding the torch, you are not, in a sense, able to see that light –≠ it is going away from you. So it can still feel dark. However, the light of Jesus in you is going before you, the darkness cannot withstand it, and the illumination will be evident to others. Helpful to many others; not all!
Jesus is the true light [alethinos phos], literally the light that cannot lie. His light reveals where we are and where the path is. It also shows up what is broken, what is an obstruction, what is lying in the way to trip us up and which needs to be cleared away.
We can always step a bit closer to Jesus, where all is revealed by the true light. Clarity is with Him and clarity comes around His presence – and as we are in Him, as we have His Holy Spirit in us, so truly we are little light-bearers wherever we go, before whom darkness melts away.
May you be blessed this year to walk a good walk with Jesus – and so be a blessing of the Light of Jesus to all around you, confronting the world’s darkness and confusion with His light and love wherever you are.
BIBLE STUDY AND DISCUSSION…
…or personal reflection.
More generally: Light, in Scripture, can mean various things. What, practically, does it mean for us to walk in the light, and be light ourselves?