There is no question walking is good for you. I recently added one of these apps to my phone that tells how far I walk each day and just knowing it makes me want to walk a little further. Perhaps it has something to do with age that it is vital that I have light when I want to walk any distance. If I wake up at night and decide to get up and go to the living room, I’ve learned that I must grab for a light before taking a step. In the dark, I’m going to run into something, stumble on something or just miss a step and hit the floor.
It intrigues me that the Bible so often uses walking as a way to describe our life for God. Paul, in Ephesians 5 challenges us to walk in love, walk in the light and walk in wisdom. One of the most powerful statements about walking is in I John 1:5-7. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 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.”
Focus on the phrase “walk in the light”. The concept of walking is that we are in an on-going kind of thing rather than just a one time action. It is describing a way of living. We can either make our way of life one of walking in the darkness or one of walking in the light. To walk in the darkness is to live a lie and be outside the fellowship of God and Jesus. To walk in the light means we have fellowship with each other as fellow followers of Jesus and we have fellowship with God and Jesus. It also means that we are being constantly purified by the blood of Jesus that flows through us as part of his body. Notice that John didn’t leave us to figure out what he meant by walking in the light since he started the section with the statement, “God is light.” Remember when Moses spent time with God on the mountain he came down with his face aglow. God’s presence gives light. To walk in the light is to walk in the presence of God. To walk in darkness is to be on our own course or the course the devil sets for us, away from God’s presence.
John moved from this to talk about sin in our lives and notices that no one lives without committing acts of sin. To think we do is to lie to ourselves and God. But sin is no longer our way of life (2:1). We no longer live as a sinner. We have changed our direction and our focus in life. Later in chapter two of I John he moves back to the theme of our walk. In verses 9-11 he said, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother or sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”
Obviously, God ties living in his presence with being in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in God’s family. He also ties having hateful feelings toward our brother or sister with walking in the dark or living in the dark. He paints two pictures of the person living in the darkness. First, he said of them that they stumble. Second, he said they don’t know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. Did you ever play games as a child or youth where you blindfolded a person and then gave them some task to accomplish? It is a very helpless feeling to not be able to see what is right in front of you. Of course, you will stumble and fall multiple times if you are walking in the darkness, Have you ever been out at night and gotten lost? It may have been as a young person in the woods with friends or it may have been as an adult in your car in a strange part of the city on a rainy, stormy night when you can’t see where you are going.
What is amazing about this whole thing is that we can be in such darkness spiritually simply because we have wrong feelings about a brother or sister in Christ. Perhaps it goes back to the fact Jesus said it was by our love for each other in Christ that caused others to know we belong to him. Maybe it is tied to Peter’s command that we “Love the brotherhood.” Maybe it even goes back to the greatest commands being to love God with all our being and our neighbor as our self.
I don’t want to go walking in the dark. God, let the light of our love shine upon me always.