This is the message we heard from Jesus
and now declare to you:
God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.
So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God
but go on living in spiritual darkness,
we are not practicing the truth.
I am walking in spiritual darkness when I pretend to have it all together. When by all appearances I am a 'good' Christian. When I pretend that I am in need of nothing, this is when I am the most desperate and groping in spiritual darkness. When I actually believe this, I am wandering in the darkest of days. Spiritual darkness is not living in gross sin by human standards. Spiritual darkness is thinking I am better than I really am.
I can't walk in the truth if I'm living a lie. The courage to be who I am amidst the church. This is what I need. And the courage to admit myself to God. Living in the church can be a slow strangulation of life. Trying to fit in, to be like all the other Christians, is a death trap in the darkest of spiritual places. When we try to hide things about ourselves because we think our Christian friends won't accept us, we are hiding in the corners of spiritual darkness. Jesus commands us to live in the light. To follow him we must walk in the light. No darkness is tolerated. This causes me to wonder, how many of us are walking with Jesus? And how many of us are hiding in our dark corners pretending to be like Jesus.
We are who we are. We are not perfect. To have true communion and unity with each other we have to be totally honest, transparent and real. Real means we have problems. Real is grimy, it's sometimes uncomfortable, but in the end, it is freedom. Jesus says that the truth will set us free. Freedom to be real, to live our lives in truth, uncovered. It is the best gift we can give someone. To love and accept them through the mess of life. Life is messy. Real people make mistakes, wrong choices and bad decisions. Real people sometimes let their minds go places they shouldn't and sometimes say things they shouldn't. Real people aren't always smiling. I want to be real. To walk unashamed, committing myself to Him who judges righteously. Walking daily in Jesus' mercy, forgiveness and grace, and extending these to my sisters and brothers.
A real Christian realizes their absolute desperation and dependence on Jesus and on other believers. We can readily admit our dependence and desperation for Jesus and his saving grace, but how often do we see our desperate need of each other. The body of Christ is not an option, it is the body of Christ himself. We are each a part of his body. There are no insignificant members in Christ's body, and we need each other to live and move and have our being, because it is in him that we live and move and have our being and without him we can do nothing. We cannot be in God's perfect will for our lives without each other. This is true.
Real Christians realize that we are all working out our salvation. We NEED each other. We need to love and accept each other. We need to be real with each other. We will only experience the unity that God intends for His children when we lay down our walls and allow God to carefully join us together into a temple, holy for the Lord. He is building his church and he desires to dwell in our midst. How good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell in unity.
Lord Jesus, please help us to be sure that the light we think we have is not actually darkness. Please give us the courage to be real, walking in the light of your presence, and in the presence of your people, with no dark corners. For you have promised that if we do this, if we are transparent and continue to follow you in the light, then our whole life will be radiant as though a floodlight were filling us with light. We ask for courage to be honest with ourselves, with you and with our sisters and brothers. Please give us grace to accept our sisters and brothers in all of their messy realness. For you accepted us when we were yet dead in our trespasses and sins and you accept us today with all of our imperfections. Help us to love and accept each other. We are desperate. Desperate for your grace to flow through us and desperate to be loved and accepted.