April 21, 2010

Don't Make Your Own Commandments

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 yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:5-10)

Day 3 of using this verse, hooray! What have we discovered so far? We've learned that the Light of God can pass through anything to see us inside and out, and that there are no shadows in which we can hide from God. We also learned that if we say that we are not sinning and yet we are, that we are big fat liars.

So today let's look at walking in the Light. What exactly does that mean? I believe it means two things. First, we must try not to sin. Really honestly try. Yes, we're going to mess up. We're going to mess up so very badly that if any human got to be God for a day they would give humanity up as a bad job in about 5 minutes. But this is what I alluded to yesterday... it's not as much about our sinning, I believe, it's about our attitude towards it.

If I sin, but I think "Meh, God will understand" or "Well, but you should have heard what she said to me" or "I'm just trying to get my due," then I don't have the right attitude about sinning. In this case I sin even more because beyond the theft/cruel words/whatever I also have the sin of pride, where I am essentially saying "I get to make the rules here and what I did does not count as sin even though God spelled out the 10 Commandments pretty well."

I believe that the correct attitude towards a sin recently committed is "Oh my goodness, I just did something wrong, what can I do to make it right?" This, this is what living in the Light means. Because we are human, we are flawed, we are messed up six ways from Sunday, and we will completely ruin each and every one of our own good intentions without a buttload of self-control and a serious dose of Jesus.

To make sure I am clear here--we will sin. We will, we will, we will. But our job really is to try not to. And we will be able to accomplish that more often than we realize when we put our mind to living like Jesus, being kind to others, not stealing from work, not gossiping, etc. But what we must also do is understand that the Light of God will look into our deepest innermost thoughts and actions and will find places of sin, sin that we may not even know as sin because it's just become ingrained in how we "do" life.

So, living in the Light first of all means that we need to do our best not to sin, but to understand and recognize that when we accept Jesus into our hearts, we open ourselves up to the Light of God, and our sins will be brought to light, because try as we may, there will always be instances of sin in our lives. Always. What we must do then, is keep a humble spirit that says "Ok God, I did my best, but I know I'm not perfect. Please let me know where I missed the mark."

And this leads to step two, which I will cover tomorrow: Confession and repentance.

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