Today’s blog, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 6, 2014.
Devotional Thought for Today
“What It Means to Walk in the Light”
1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Since God is light (1 Jn. 5), we who are in fellowship with Him, must necessarily walk in the light. However, because the power of sin still dwells in us, the light often exposes our defective character that manifests through faulty behaviors. As we fellowship with God, we are in desperate need of being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. John Newton (writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace” and a former captain of a ship carrying slaves) put it this way, “I am not what I ought to be; but I am not what I once was. And it is by the grace of God that I am what I am.”
Moreover, we learn here that the metaphorical phrase, “Walking in the light,” really means keeping Jesus’ commandments. Among several commandments that the Lord gave us, I am reminded of the one he gave at the very end before ascending to heaven: “Make disciples of all the nations, …teaching them to obey everything.” Ultimately, this is the test that shows whether we are following Christ or not: Do we seek to obey the commandments of Jesus?
Of course, in order to obey them, we must first know what they are. It is possible that some people are blissfully ignorant, because they don’t study the Bible. So, how are you doing with, first, learning, and then second, putting into practice the commandments of Jesus? Begin with something simple today. Buy a bottle of water for someone thirsty (Matt. 12:42) or pray for an AMI missionary.
Prayer: Father, help me to fall deeper in love with You. I want to walk in the light. I want to know and keep Your commandments. By your grace, may I do so. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 20
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 7:24-27: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Questions to Consider
- What do you think Jesus means by, “These words of mine”?
- Compare and contrast the wise man and the foolish man: What is similar and what is different in the two accounts?
- Why should we “do” the words of Jesus?
- Matthew 7:24-27 closes what is traditionally known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus is most likely referring to the teachings contained in Matthew 5-7 [e.g., “Give to the one who asks”; “Do not judge” (by mere appearance)].
- For both the wise man and the foolish man, “rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat” on their homes. In other words, being wise or righteous does not mean that trials won’t happen him. The difference is how one prepares for the inevitable. The wise man had built his house on rock and so it stood, while the foolish man had built his house on sand and so it fell.
- Our lives need to be built upon the foundation of Jesus’ commands in order to last the storms of life. Many people are reluctant to do that because it doesn’t appear to pay immediate dividends. We think that way because our values are still worldly. The most important component to our existence is having a right relationship with Christ, and that is predicated upon our obedience.
How are you doing with obeying the commands of Jesus? Is there a command that God is reminding you which you need to obey? Let us pray and ask for God’s help as we resolve to obey.