Thoughts on Light and Dark

“What we are telling you now is the very message we heard from Him: God is purelight, undimmed by darkness of any kind. If we say we have an intimate connection with the Father but we continue stumbling around in darkness, then we are lying because we do not live according to truth. If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins” (1 John 1:5-7, The Voice).

It struck me tonight how staggering the word picture of light and dark really is. I mean, you really can’t get more polar opposites than light and dark. It is literally a night and day difference.

John speaks of believers who formerly walked in darkness  who now walk in light.

That’s not about being a little nicer and a little more patient. That’s not about being a better and more improved version of yourself.

That’s about as radical a change as you can have. That’s about the difference between being dead and being alive.

It makes me wonder why there is such little difference between the lives of some believers and the lives of the unbelievers around them. If I’m truly walking in God’s light, how can I continue to act out of dark motives and desires?

I’m not suggesting that those who follow Jesus are supposed to be perfect. I am saying that they should look and sound different.

My favorite pastor once said that the problem that an unbelieving world has with Christians is not that they are too different from everybody else; it’s that they are too much the same. They speak a good game, but they don’t live the way they speak.

I can say that because I live that way too often. Too many of us are too good at being incognito Christians.

May God continue to lead us into a place where we strive to walk in the light and reflect the radical difference that comes from what only God can do.

 

Righteous Anger?

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life” (James 1:21).

I have a question for you (and for myself, too). Why is it that we as believers get upset when nonbelievers act like . . . well, nonbelievers? Why are we so surprised?

Salvation is more than a new morality code. It’s more than a different kind of behavior.

It’s a total transformation. The Bible uses the word regeneration when speaking of someone getting saved. Paul talks about becoming a new creation. Not a better version of the old creation, but a completely new one.

The question isn’t why nonbelievers act like nonbelievers, but why believers don’t act more like the faith they profess so loudly.

I love what my pastor Mike Glenn says: the world doesn’t hate Christians because they’re too different but because they’re not different enough.

If I really believe what I profess about how Jesus can take anyone at any point and rescue him or her from who they used to be and make them into something completely new, then my life should show it. I should be different.

I should talk differently for sure, but I should act in a way that lines up with all my verbiage.

That verse in 2 Chronicles 7 about God healing our land? That’s not directed at nonbelievers getting their act right. It’s about those who are called by God’s name, i.e. Christians, who turn and repent and seek God like never before. That’s when the healing happens.

. . .[If] my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health” (2 Chronicles 7:14, The Message).

Maybe it’s time to stop the finger-pointing and blame-assessing and maybe start praying.