1 John 1 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Bo Chen, Gracepoint Davis

In what ways do people “claim to have fellowship with [God] yet walk in the darkness?”

One way that people claim to have fellowship with God and yet walk in the darkness is by serving Jesus only with their lips while living a life of hypocrisy, not living out what one claims to believe in.  It is easy to say the right words without actions to back it up.  It is also easy to do the right things before the eyes of people while continuing to walk in darkness and keeping parts of one’s life unknown, hidden and unchallenged by God’s truth.  People do this by keeping Christianity only to the level of comfort where religious involvement is only on Sundays, externally claiming to have fellowship with God, while living a different kind of life from Mondays through Saturdays.  Another way we claim to have fellowship with God is through being active in serving at church and busying ourselves with many activities while refusing to face up and deal with sins that God may have been prompting in our hearts to sit down, reflect, own up, confess and repent of.  It is easy to claim to have fellowship with God by doing a lot of things, feeling like we’re useful to God and to people, when in fact there’s no genuine connection with God because we refuse to get on the same page with God when it comes to specific sins He points out in our lives.  Or even though our time of solitude and devotion with God, we can claim to have fellowship with Him through that act, but not engaging our heart and be honest enough to let God’s word exposes ways that we are living in disobedient to him.  Or we claim to have fellowship with God by giving all the right answers and right realization, yet walk in the darkness by not doing anything about it to change, refusing to actually obey what that realization is called to do.

What does “walk in the light” look like concretely?

To walk in the light means I need to become a person of integrity in more and more areas of my life, where God’s truth is being lived out and followed not only when I’m in church setting or with people I know, but all the time.  Walking in the light means to live my life as an open book, without remaining hidden about certain areas of my life or without sharing only partial truth to reveal what I’m comfortable to make known.  Walking in the light also means being honest and saying things as they are – being honest about what’s really going on in my heart and my life, owning up to my sinful desires, emotional struggle, physical/mental laziness, worldly ambition, mistakes I make, incompetencies or inadequacies, etc. so that I can deal with them, rather than hiding and pretending that everything is okay and I’m doing okay.  Walking in the light also means allowing myself to be known by others like my spiritual leaders and peers who are able to help me, keep me accountable, pray for me and speak God’s truth in love.

How do those who “claim to be without sin” end up deceiving themselves?  Why would it be difficult for such a person to experience fellowship with others?

This is so true that those who claim to be without sin end up deceiving themselves.  When we claim to be without sin by just focusing on the external good acts without taking the honest look at all the filth inside our heart and thought, we become deceived into thinking that the good acts are who we are – we are this good, generous, caring, loving person.  Or when someone “claims to be without sin”, it doesn’t necessary mean that the person says she’s perfect and good.  We claim to be without sin when we walk in darkness (v6) and, when God’s truth exposes us, we refuse to own up by being defensive, making excuses, blaming others or circumstances, being in denial, or remaining hidden.  When we do this, we claim to be without sin because we say it’s not entirely our fault and it’s understandable why that sin happens to us. When we do this, we excuse ourselves from taking a full responsibility on our sins as if the sins are done unto us. And when we do this, we deceive ourselves into thinking that “that’s not really who I am, it’s because of ___ that I did this. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it.”  And when we claim to be without sin in these ways, we become deluded and are no longer in touch with who we really are.

This would make it difficult for such a person to experience fellowship with others, when others are walking in the light, because the presence of others will threaten to reveal the darkness that such a person doesn’t want to reveal.  There will always be hiding, deceiving, pretension or putting up a mask.  For example, I cannot be in a genuine fellowship with my friend if she’s deeply hurt by something I’ve done to her, while I refuse to talk about it or ask for her forgiveness, and wanting to pretend that everything is okay.  Or there cannot be a genuine fellowship when I’m full of jealousy and competitive spirit that I refuse to own up to or deal with.  It just won’t work.  There cannot be a genuine fellowship without truth and being in agreement about what’s going on and who I am.

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