"Walking in the light" means walking with God.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is 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
These verses contain two profound truths:
1. We are liars if we claim to love and honor God but do not live in a way that embodies Christian and godly principles. If we wantonly sin but pay lip service to God, our lives are lies. We walk in darkness, not light.
2. If we walk with God - walk in the light - we have fellowship with one another, and we are sanctified through the blood of Christ, our salvation for eternal life. This is what God wants - for us to be brothers and sisters in fellowship with God, through Christ, and thereby be in fellowship with other.
Do people in fellowship hate each other?
Do people in fellowship maliciously criticize each other?
Do people in fellowship distrust each other?
Do people in fellowship push other people away?
Of course not. People in fellowship love, support, trust, and boost each other. People in fellowship draw others to their light.
Does John mean people in fellowship at their particular church, be it First Presbyterian, First Baptist, Ebenezer Baptist, or Mount Zion AME?
Of course not. Yet we so often conveniently let such a narrow perspective guide our behavior, while patting ourselves on our backs for going to church on Sunday. It's safe this way. It's in our comfort zones. It's as if we have a thousand sub-sectors of Christianity, each its own enclave of like-minded neighbors.
But what does God see? A thousand islands, each its own little fiefdom, each with invisible moats keeping out the inhabitants of the other islands. Insular, distrustful, myopic. Is He pleased, or is He shaking His head?
God wants a thousand bridges, not a thousand islands!
Christianity is the amazing grace that should unite all believers. White, black, brown, yellow, rich, poor, in the middle, evangelical, Catholic, conservative, liberal, educated, uneducated - all those labels should take a back seat to the fact that we are all Christians.
Christianity is our common denominator, our uniting force!
There is already far too much evil, too much darkness, too much violence (verbal and physical) against Christians, for Christians to fight among themselves. We need urgently to foster true fellowship with each other. We are all in the family of God. We are all saved by the blood of the same Christ.
Let us meet at the river.
Let us be bold.
Let us make 2016 the year of the gathering of the fellowship of all believers.
Let us marvel at the difference it will make, in so many ways.
Let us imagine the smile it will bring to the face of God.