“This is the message we have heard from him [Jesus] 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.” 1 John 1:5-7 (NIV)
Have you ever been mesmerized by the artistic and creative stylings of a shadow hand puppeteer…someone who can use a flashlight or fixed light source and manipulate light and shadows to create controlled displays of light and darkness, generating illusions of reality. A great example of this is found in this shadow puppet genius:
The sad fact is we are all masters of light and darkness manipulation. God has called us to walk in the light, yet most followers of Jesus are sophisticated at selectively standing in the light. We create deceptive illusions of reality, in hopes of fooling others, ourselves or, even, God. We want others to focus on our good parts (the parts filled with light) and tactically hide other parts (the parts filled with darkness), creating an illusion of reality.
This tactic has two distinct flaws to it. First, we are called to be fully submitted to God, the light, and walk in it, to have Christ fully in our entire lives. We are called to be in the light (justification) and to walk in the light (sanctification). We are called to be filled with Holy Spirit, submitting full control and obedience to God in EVERY area of our lives.
Second, when we spend all our energy on “image management” and strategically standing in the light,
we are not able to walk in the freedom Christ offers under the warmth of his light. We are invited to live fully forgiven lives in the warmth of his forgiveness and freedom. Yet, when we ignore the darkness in our hearts and pretend it doesn’t exist, we end up crumpled and confined by fear. As a result, we don’t walk in the freedom of the light nor are we able to live in community with others. If we live our lives stagnantly crumpled in the light, we spend all our time and energy protecting ourselves and, thus, are not able to extend our arms in community’s embrace.
We all struggle with light and darkness manipulation. We can look at it through the innocent lens of shadow puppets but in the end, it is dark and it is disastrous. When we live as shadow puppets, it is to our own detriment as we don’t live in the freedom that we have been given in Christ nor do we live in community with others experiencing God’s gift of community.
Step fully into the light of Christ and dance in the warmth of his love, forgiveness and grace. This is the abundant life Jesus, the Light of the World, offers as we submit to his Spirit, fully abiding in Him.