For my “job”, one of my assignments is to put together a list of book, article, or poem ideas I would like to write about then pare them down to five top ideas. After that, pick one to do some research on and begin fleshing it out.
One of the ideas I am pursuing involves the “I AM” sayings of Jesus. I would tell you more, but then, of course, that would spoil all the fun. What I can tell you is that one particular “I AM” statement hit very close to my heart considering where I am on my journey. So I’m going to share my notes as my journal entry.
“I AM the light of the world…”
I have a love-hate relationship with scary movies. I love good ones but hate watching the scenes when you know something scary is about to happen. There is no logic to that, it is just the way I am. I remember the first real serious scary movie I saw as a teenager, Wait Until Dark. It had one scene I remember vividly. It seemed to make everyone in the theatre jump out of their seats. Of course, since then, the dark and I have never gotten along. Light is always a good thing for me.
When Jesus says, “I am the light of the world”, I am drawn to that with a certain degree of comfort. Like a ship led by the beam of the lighthouse, I have this image in my mind of what Jesus was trying to convey.
In contrast, there are times when His light is like on-coming high beam headlights and I want to shield my eyes and look away.
But, for the most part, the word light evokes a positive response. It is revealing, soothing, and often seems as life sustaining as the sun.
The problem lies in what it reveals and that is exactly the point Jesus makes with his statement. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness…” It is impossible for darkness to be present where there is light. The two cannot co-exist. If I continue to follow Jesus, I will never find myself walking in darkness, ever! Every step will be illuminated with his presence and darkness cannot stand in his presence, ever! Therefore, I “…will have the light of life”– the illumination necessary for me to see clearly, think clearly, and act clearly. That being true, then how does sin fit in for me as a Christian?
I recall a moment in my college experience when one of my professors and I got into a rather intense argument. It was over Jesus’ statement, “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He made the statement that it was not possible to be ‘perfect”, even though he understood the word meant complete. I just about came out of my chair! “What do you mean, it is not possible! Why would Jesus make the statement if it were not possible?” I challenged. Oh my, it wasn’t pretty after that! J
I don’t know the full ramification of sin once one accepts Christ. I know the effect it has had on my life. I understand things like “keep sinning”, “continue in a lifestyle of sin”, “practice sin” and such translations of the present active tense. I also know that I have an obligation, in some respect, to actively avoid sin. That is, to make sure my feet are on the path that has the light shining on it and not stepping off into the darkness. It is a hard lesson. It is even a harder practice. Similar to what Paul said, the things I know I should do, I do not do. The things I know I should not do, I find myself doing.
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus* and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (NLT)
Like a magnet, darkness draws me. Similar to the scary movie – I know something terrible is about to happen, I don’t want to watch, but I can’t help but watch.
Oh, glory, the good news…
“…if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…” (1Jn. 2:1-2)
Jesus is the one who extends his hand and says, “Here, take my hand. Get back on this path, back into the light and walk with me”.
Father, may I always choose light over darkness. Help me to walk one step at a time in the path that you illuminate, that Christ be glorified and sin find no dark corner in which to hide. May it be.