Friday, 7 March 2008

Living in the Light (1 John 2:1-6)

Nearly six years ago I got married to Chrissi and we're very happy together and we have lots of fun! It probably wouldn't surprise you to know that I'm far from a perfect husband! I do plenty (and forget to do plenty) that makes Chrissi upset or cross or whatever. In short, I'm trying to be the best husband I can be, but I frequently need Chrissi's patience, forgiveness and help. Of course, it works both ways and as we work things out, we realise this is what the adventure of marriage is all about. Loving each other in relationship through all sorts of situations life brings - and bringing God glory in the process.

Today's passage speaks of the relationship we have with God if we're Christians, how our mistakes affect that relationship and how our lives are increasingly affected by that relationship...


If Chrissi wanted to divorce me every time I made a mistake, our marriage wouldn't last five minutes! It would be ridiculous if we had to be perfect in order to continue loving each other. It's a bit like this with our relationship with God, except that God is perfect and we're the ones who aren't.

When we make mistakes, the relationship isn't over and God doesn't disown us. This is because the basis of a relationship with God is forgiveness, not performance. This is something that many people don't realise and many Christians are tempted to forget! John reminds us that Jesus has paid the sacrifice that has set us free to be in relationship with God. He has paid the price for our forgiveness and this means we can love God and be loved by him without our mistakes getting in the way.

The thing is, we're still changing. We're still not perfect and we're learning, bit-by-bit to become more like Jesus. We don't have to be like Jesus in order to be friends of God, we just have to ask for forgiveness. After this, we're FREE to learn to grow to become more like the God who has forgiven us. We can make mistakes (forgiven mistakes) and we can grow without any pressure.

John speaks clearly about living as Jesus did and this should be the intention of every believer. The problem is that some people haven't joined up their faith and relationship in God to certain parts of their life. They have areas that are off-limits to God. John challenges this way of living. It's not a real relationship with God unless we have willingly surrendered our whole life to him. Sure, we're not going to become perfect overnight but we ought to be naturally heading in the right direction by opening our lives up to his grace more and more. Remember the 'light' thing from yesterday? It's like that. We may not be as light as Jesus but we should be getting brighter by spending more time with him shining on and in and through us!

Ask God to help you to accept his offer of forgiveness and then enjoy living for him in freedom!