Choosing the light

Living by Jesus’ values brings clarity to us and others

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, we know what 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, so we look at Him, not 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 can reflect on how dark it has become and how confusing the darkness is — or make a choice to seek the light 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.

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.

We often encounter injustice and see God’s way disrupted. What do is the general result of this, which may affect us? What can we do for ourselves? Isaiah 59:9; Psalm 27:1

What is our commanded priority? Does it depend on how other people are towards us? John 15:12 and 17; Romans 12:10; John 13:34–35

If we carry resentments and unforgiveness, what is the effect on us? What should we do, that benefits us first and foremost? 1 John 2:9–10; 1 John 1:7

As followers of the Way, seeking to walk in the light, what is in us which makes a difference to the world around us? Matt. 5:14; Luke 8:16–17; Ephesians 5:8–13

More generally: Light, in Scripture, can mean various things. What, practically, does it mean for us to walk in the light, and to be light ourselves?