These are my thoughts after studying 1 John during the month. They are highlights that stirred me. I want to wrestle with the text – not just debate it. To understand this book it must be read and experienced in real time. This blog is intended for discussion and prayer. Dig deep….
What are we supposed to tell them?
3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey ME fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Wow. Powerful words from the Lord! There are many words spoken today. Look further in 1 Peter 2:9 (New Testament): 9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…”
WHY? It is not to be elitist, exclude others or be a clique, but for this reason:
“That you may declare the praises of Him who called you (out of darkness} and (into His wonderful light).“ Special for a purpose, a reason. IF you are Gods chosen priests, then you will praise, worship, and proclaim Gods praises. That is the defining activity or mark that you are His, chosen and His treasured possession. We praise not because we like to sing, we praise because we are aware of where we came from, aware of our great need, aware of the much, much better life He has given us.
Darkness of sin, ignorance, circumstances, spiritual blindness, all of that can be painful. Coming out of that is praiseworthy. We are called out of that and into Gods wonderful light. We do not praise God because we are special, we praise God because we were living in sin and the coming of His light (Jesus) made things so much better. We received salvation, redemption, deliverance. We were not just saved from something, but we were saved TO something – living in Gods wonderful light. Its not enough to be saved from, we must be saved for His purpose and walk that purpose out in our daily lives.
John explains this further in his letter 1 John when he tells us that God is light:
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
In the post covid era this may be more challenging, but it is still relevant today. Fellowship is not around a doctrine or church group – fellowship is getting together with the redeemed and celebrating our collective redemption and salvation. It is not a church gathering but a redeemed soul gathering. It is a blood bought blessing that no germ or sickness can prevent. It is a drive, a need, an essential part of every believer’s life.
God is light. In His light we see our darkness. His light exposes our sin, our excuses, our relationships. We also see what is true in the light. Fakes, frauds, and replicas are hard to spot – until the light shines on them. We just moved into a new place with new carpeting. It looks great at night but when I pull up the blinds in the morning, my big, beautiful windows pour in light. That light exposes every paper clip, lint, and piece of dirt possible. Perhaps that is why some avoid the light, fellowship, other Christians, or church? It does not mean there is no dirt — it just means if you stay in the dark – you cannot see it. It is time to come out of the shadows….
The early Christians used light to remind them of God’s presence. When they had olive oil, their lamps burned brightly. When they did not -it represented a crisis of both a physical reality and absence of God. Hanukkah, which is coming in the months ahead is a reminder of this. On our own, we can not shine. We need Gods presence, the oil of His Holy Spirit to illumine. God is light. To live in light is powerful – not just a verse in 1 John.
I was shopping with my oldest son in NC a couple of months back. While standing in the men’s department while he was trying on clothes, I heard a song on the overheard speaker. The lyrics of the song basically said “you are not enough and need to buy new stuff to be accepted. ” I remember the controvery in the 80s about songs that brainwashed kids and the fury to prove songs were back maskedd. This however was not played backwards, and it was not in some shady bar where I heard this. I was shopping in a store. I was shocked. It was blatant. It was not true – the words were not true; the message did not ring true. The message blaring over the overhead speaker was opposite of the truth yet no one was listening. It was lulling them into a belief system while they shopped. The sales rep agreed with me when I pointed out the lyrics. She said she hated it, but I was the only one who said anything about it. Our minds need to fight against false messages and agendas. Truth must be in our minds and inward parts if we are to resist the world. Light in our minds (truth) illumines our dark, twisted, and incorrect thoughts.
What else is not true? Well, some would say that makeup masks the true look of women. Fragrance can mask the true scent of a man. Clothing can make older people look younger. Holes in jeans make them look old even when they are new. TRuth has become relative. Photo shopping can alter anyone. What is real ? Not all of this is bad but where we used to have “true” religion we now have syncretism, masked idolatry. Where there were true politicians, we now have paid lobbyists. Other categories can be blurred –too flammable to name here. How does this adjust our trust level, confidence? What is real, genuine true? My pastor stated recently that America is no longer a melting pot, but a boiling pot and he is correct. No longer are people blending together. They are rigid and sometimes even hostile. How can we live in the truth, in light when we do not see or even understand? Is God aware of this darkness, does He have a plan?
While studying this passage I was also reading in the Biblical book called Judges – how they had disobeyed God and were living in a wicked culture. “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountains.“
Note how they got there, it was not cultures fault or folly, but their disobedience. Yikes! In the midst of the story of Gideon we learn much about the character and nature of God. He can be known and in spite of our flaws, He will be with us. God is not surprised or caught off guard by any of this. Also note that He saw the character of Gideon – true valor in a very untrue culture.
Over forty times in 1 John, we are told to know God. How does that helps in times of darkness? God, today and in Biblical times was often mis- marketed. Then and now people who do not know Him and His character make up stuff about Him and then question Him and His treatment of His people. We expect the world to misrepresent God, but it is sad when even the church has forgotten who He really is. There are also those who have maligned Gods person – those who have studied Him at great length but have not known Him experientially. While many profess to know God, many have never experienced life in Christ or seen Him in action in their lives, churches or on the streets. They know about Him, but do not know HIM.
John 5: 39-40 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Coming to God is relational. Scripture is a bridge to God, not God.
Taking the truths of scripture and applying them to our prayer life, family life and ministry will give us insights not possible thru a mere study or research of Gods word. I want you to know today that He is light, He is love and He is true. Not just in the Bible but in our hearts, on the streets.
1 John 5:20 says, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
In a world that is vying for power, fighting for relevance, and postured towards division, we can find comfort that we know the One True God. No fight, no fury, no chaos. True. That true God can be known and, in that relationship, knowing the One True God –we can experience His light, love and fellowship. We can see Him for who He is, and He can see His children for who they are. We can know TRUE love and community. It is the litmus test, the standard by which all other loves and relationships should be measured.
We are not that light, but we can reflect and shine forth that light. We can get to know God not just by study, but by knowing from experiential relationship. We get to know God only as we walk in love and fellowship. Not thru Sunday School, research or degree. Those are starters – not the finished product. That makes our walk of the utmost importance because it leads us closer to the One who walks with and within us.
God is light – we are not light but if we remain in Him, He will illumine our lives. We are not true but if we embrace the One who is, we will see ourselves and others more clearly and have fellowship with Him. It may sound simplistic but that is what our world needs now – Light. Love. Truth. Not the kind that divides– but the kind that unifies as we walk in Him.
John kept this book sweet and short — but its the core of Christianity. He knew Jesus.
You saw the light? Go share it.
You see someone in darkness – bring love and light. ASK God to show you where He wants to bring love and light.
Do you know someone in chaos, stress, or confusion? Introduce them to the One that is true.
My husband works with solar panels. They store light during the day and then at night they give back electricity and power. The light does not come from the panels – it comes from the sun but if it is received and stored it can be useful when its dark outside. You do not wait until its night to store light – you store it in the panels while it is still day. Soak in God’s word – night is coming.
Those who have been taking in the light – are now shining in the darkness. They are purposed for that reason. Not to sell socks or take naps — they are to do one thing – take in the true light, then shine.
Dear brother, sister– we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation—not just to know the true light but “that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. “ Its not enough to know God is light, we must praise Him for it and bring that same light to others in truth and fellowship.
The sun is setting, night is only minutes away.
Know Him, praise Him and walk in His light – it is the “truest” thing we can do.
Renae Roche 2022
This great Light of Gods’ – I’m gonna let it shine, this great light of Gods’, I’m a gonna let it shine, everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine… Jesus gave me the light, I’m gonna let it shine, Jesus gave me the light….