In this longer Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson asks us to consider our "walk" with the Lord. Are we truly walking in the light? What does that even look like?
It's a well-know metaphor in Christian circles: We're to "walk in the light."
But it's often misunderstood.
It doesn't just mean to live openly and honestly before people. It doesn't even mean to behave well.
To walk in the light biblically has a far deeper and more significant meaning.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Ephesians 5:8:
"for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."
Maybe it's because my name is "Dawn," but I've always been fascinated with light. This scripture awakened me to the whole concept of "light in the Lord."
Paul was admonishing Christians to live in light of the light God has provided us in the example of Jesus and in the truth of the Word of God.
This concept began in the Old Testament when saints were encouraged to walk in "the light of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:5).
Isaiah predicted that people who "walked in darkness" would see a "great light" (9:2); and in due time, Jesus came down from the "Father of Lights" (James 1:17). Those who trusted in Christ would find light for life (Isaiah 50:10).
The Father's nature is light. There is no darkness or evil in Him at all. And Jesus, His Son, is the pure Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the provider of the Father's light to us.
Jesus is the "true light, which gives light to everyone," John said (John 1:9). In Him, we don't need to walk in darkness.
So what does it mean to "walk in the light"?
Essentially, our "walk" is our lifestyle—our mindset, patterns of behavior and the choices we make. But that mindset and behavior must be holy and aligned with scripture, and our choices must be biblically wise in order for us to say we are truly "walking in the light."
In our identification with our Savior, we are holy—set apart for the Lord's use. As we walk with the Lord and learn to trust and obey Him, we grow and mature spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24). We become more like Jesus (1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 1Thessalonians 4:3).
It's a one-time transformation when God changes our hearts at salvation, but there is also a "being made holy" (sanctification) process. When we walk, we're going somewhere. We're making progress on the lighted path.
At one point in my life, I thought walking in the light was too difficult.
I rationalized that I live in a morally dark world, and choices for "light" were just too hard. So I coasted spiritually.
But with growth in Christ and through His grace and power, I've learned more about what "shining" for the Lord looks like. Just as Jesus is the Light of the World, we are called out of darkness and each one of us is commanded to be a light in our "crooked and twisted" world (1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:14-16). God does not want us to "abide" (or dwell) in darkness any longer (John 12:46).
So HOW are we to walk as children of light?
1. We're to REMEMBER we were rescued from darkness.
We can't forget what it's like to live in darkness.
- Living in darkness is lying to ourselves and lying about the reality of eternity—it's not acknowledging and practicing the truth (1 John 1:6).
- People who live in darkness don't want to come to the light because it exposes their sin (John 3:19-20).
- They reinterpret good and evil (Isaiah 5:20) because they are spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- People who choose to walk on the dark path take pleasure in doing wrong, enjoying their twisted ways of evil (Proverbs 2:13-14).
Walking in darkness is a lifestyle that promises (and sometimes gives) us so much, but it's all empty in the end.
In contrast, the Christian's walk should reflect a glorious truth: the Father has qualified us, in Christ, "to share the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness..." (Colossians 1:9-14).
To walk in the light begins with a heart transformation as we trust in what Christ did for us when we were lost in darkness, separated from God.
2. We're to BE HOLY: "blameless and innocent."
Being "righteous" has gone out of style in much of our culture, but to walk in the light is to grow in holiness. We relinquish our sin and let God's holy light shine through us (Matthew 5:16). A holy testimony is important!
We must "lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light" behaving properly (Romans 13:11-14; Ephesians 5:7-14). We are wrestling against the spiritual wickedness, the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12). We're to dress ourselves for battle in the light of Christ, and get moving for Him.
We can't straddle the fence between holiness and wickedness (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
We "walk by the Spirit." The Spirit of God enables us to walk in the light (2 Corinthians 4:6). As we walk by the Spirit, we do not "gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16, 25; Ezekiel 36:26-27).
3. We're to keep our MISSION FOCUS.
Paul quoted Isaiah 49:6b in Acts 13:47, reminding believers that God wants to use us to "bring salvation to the ends of the earth." Jesus gave us a mission, and we don't want sin to diminish our testimony and effectiveness (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 24:16; 1 Peter 3:16).
We also need to pray the Lord will lift the blindness of people, because without Christ, they cannot "see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). They may even be rebelling against the light (Job 24:13).
It is our Father alone who can shine life-transforming light into hearts.
Knowing that, we can pray He will open the eyes of our friends and loved ones.
3. We're to live for GOD'S GLORY.
We were chosen for a reason: to "proclaim the excellencies" of the Lord who called us "into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
4. We're to be CAREFUL about our RELATIONSHIPS.
Be careful about your "walking" companions. They may lead you astray.
This doesn't mean we can't ever associate with those in darkness; but we must be alert and careful in those interactions. Light and darkness are opposites.
5. We're to BE FUTURE-FOCUSED: to live in the light of Jesus' return.
We're not in darkness, but we still must be "alert and sober," remembering the Lord will return and what we're going to do for Him, we need to do now (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
Walking in the Light involves total commitment to the Lord and the Word, not just for righteous living today, but to prepare us to live with the Father of Lights for eternity.
Are you walking in the light today? Which of these five points might need some work so you can keep in step with the Spirit of God?
Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.
Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pexels at Pixabay.