“That which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ. And these things we write unto you that your joy may be full. This, then, is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Part 2--I John 1:3-9
Today I want to focus on experiencing the joy that comes from walking in the light. "Walking in the light” means reading God's word and choosing to obey it and the principles in it. Walking in the light also means living honestly with God, ourselves, and with others about our struggles and our doubts. Often bringing our struggles or our doubts to safe, mature Christians is all that is needed to overcome them. It is human to want to hide and cover sin, but that always leads us deeper into it. When we hide or cover sin, we hinder our growth and dull our consciences, which give Satan a foothold into our lives. It is in this state that we can get uncomfortable with other Christians and think we have problems with them when in reality it is the God who indwells them that is making us feel so uncomfortable. If we aren’t careful, sin will have soon destroyed our fellowship with God and with other believers. Sin robs us of joy and we end up not feeling close to God. Sin also causes us to wear a mask and pretend to be something we aren’t, which causes us to feel disconnected from those we perceive as close to God. Sin robs us of such rich joy.
We have got to keep in mind that God is faithful and loves us regardless of what we do, but He does ask us to show Him our love by our obedience. Are we doing what He asks us to do? Are we not doing what He asks us not to? If we choose purposely to sin we make our relationship one-sided as far as love goes. God continuously loves us, but we may not be showing Him love. That distorts our relationship with Him and we lose joy. Loss of joy affects our emotions at a lot of different levels. I have watched people begin to drink or numb their pain as they made the decisions to end their marriages. They didn’t want to face the fact they were breaking vows they had made to God or the fact that they were hurting their spouses and their children.
If we want to know God and have His joy in this life, we have to be aware of the sinful bent we have and choose to put God's will above our own. As we do that He will continue to cleanse us and mold us into His likeness. If we stumble we confess it and confidently return our focus to the loving faithful God. As we do that God and His grace will become more and more real to us and our fellowship with Him, our families and our Christian friends will become more exciting and fulfilling. We would be so in love with God and so loving and kind to each other that the non-Christians would be "knocking" at our doors asking how they can have what we have.
In closing, "fellowship" simply means what it says. Two people in such a close relationship that it is like they were in a ship going in the same direction. One summer I was in a Kayak with a girl named Lauren. I was in the back and inexperienced. Everything started out great until we got into a cave and I did the opposite of what I needed to do. As a result we ran into a wall and it hurt her. As long as I did the right thing at the right time and we paddled together we were flying! Without close communication in the tight little cave what I did worked against us. That is the same thing in a body of believers. When we are going in the same direction as God, we can enjoy His love and joy and get a lot done. Also, we will enjoy the fellowship with other people because we are all headed in the same direction – and that direction leads us toward God. However, when each of us is going in our own direction the result is always going to be chaos and pain. We would do well to remember that the church is like being in a boat. We must learn to communicate and work together to keep going in the same direction. When we blow it we need to extend grace as Lauren did. When I ran Lauren into the wall, she didn’t get angry and bail out on me. Instead she forgave me and talked me the rest of the way through the cave. She graciously instructed me and used her strength in my weakness and together we made it through the cave. I wonder, if you are “walking in the light" and enjoying fellowship with God and with others following Him?
Prayer, Father thank you for providing us a way to have a deep and intimate relationship with You. Please give us the courage to walk in the Light of Your word. Give us the courage to live transparently with others. Thank you for the body of Christ and the potential for fellowship with you and with each other. How exciting it is that we can have sweet relationships with others by moving closer and closer to You. Please bring to our minds Your truths and precepts that we might walk according to Your ways. Amen.