John 1:1-5 (NLT)
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Word. Life. Light. Like a good novelist, John opens his Gospel with images of his main character. Jesus is the Word, the very essence of almighty God made flesh to walk the earth as one of us. Jesus is eternal life, the very breath that animates and sustains all creation. And for humans in particular, Jesus is light, the means by which we can live in fellowship with God and participate in God’s kingdom on earth.
This divine light lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit when we choose to follow Christ. The Spirit illuminates us with understanding of God’s ways and empowers us to overcome evil. Living the Christian life, then, means walking in the light that God provides, with eyes wide open to recognize and resist evil, and with mind and heart tuned in to what God desires for us. When we carry this divine light—this understanding of God’s ways and the power to resist evil—into our relationships, supernatural things can happen.
Christ’s light helps us to see people as God sees them. As we understand ourselves to be beloved children of God, we begin to recognize that every person, even our adversary, is beloved and precious to God. When God’s light exposes our sin and we feel shame and sorrow over it, we realize that we have fallen as far from God as the worst criminal and are equally dependent on God’s saving mercy. When we receive God’s forgiveness and feel the relief of having the burden of guilt lifted from our hearts, the light within us empowers us to love and forgive those who have harmed us, and to genuinely wish them well.
Walking in the light helps us to resist the darkness that seeps into relationships and drives people apart: resentment, jealousy, deception, cruelty, pride, envy, criticism, need to control. Opening our relationships to God’s light changes the way we see and treat one another. Jesus—Word, life, and light—brought God’s kingdom into our midst. When we bring Jesus into our relationships, we extend God’s reign a little deeper into our world and disable the darkness that causes conflict and pain.
FATHER, thank you for your light that shows me the difference between the path of sin and the path that leads to you. Open my eyes to the blind spots in my relationships, where selfish desires still control me and hurt others. Expose my prejudice and help me to value every person as a beloved child, precious to you. Empower me with the love and forgiveness I need to shine your light in every circumstance.
Isaiah 50:11; Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:7
What patch of darkness in your life do you need God’s power to overcome?