On a recent road trip, we stopped by one of my mom’s best friend’s house for the night. Doreen was a woman at our church who had adopted my mom when she was a single parent. I didn’t realize she wasn’t my aunt until I was 9 or 10.

During our visit, I poured out to Doreen my fears and struggles as a mother during our visit. I told her that I pray for my kids and I read so many parenting books, yet I still had so much fear and insecurity.

She paused and thought awhile. With adult children, nearly adult grandchildren, she had seen so many methods and fads, and she had spent hours if not years on her knees in prayer, she told me “Pray that they will be able to tell the difference between the truth and a lie. This is so foundational.”

Years later, I still ponder her advice, not only for my kids, but also for myself. 

“If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” {1 John 1:6-9}

I often have different ideas of what it means to walk in the light. I think it means to reflect Jesus’ love like a mirror, to be joyful and a delight like a little sunbeam.

But this passage confused me. It talked about walking in the light, in the context of sin, grace, and practicing truth, and not lying.

Like so many passages I have to view it through the lens of the Garden of Eden, when we as humans first hid from God. When we ran into the bushes, off the path, into the darkness, aware of our shame.

And then God called us back to the light. He called us back to His presence by saying, “Where are you?” He made us face what we had done. Then He covered us, and said He had a plan.

Walking in the light is walking exposed. It’s walking in the truth of my failings, and equally, the truth of the cross.

It’s not being perfect.
It’s not being sparkly and sunshiny.
It’s knowing the difference between the truth and the lies.

It seems the temptation to walk in lies is constant. Like when fear takes over that maybe God doesn’t have this, or what if I can’t handle something?

Worry is walking in the darkness. It’s walking and dwelling on the lie, that maybe God’s love will dry up and not be there when we need it.

Gratitude — saying out loud and writing down God’s sufficiency — is walking in the truth.

It’s putting in front of our own faces and our own souls what the truth is.

I am forgiven.
I am redeemed.

God has seen me fully exposed in my sin and not only does He love me anyway, but He covers my sins with His love, gives me a new name, a new covering, and a new identity.

The battle to not only know the truth, but to live the truth is constant. Because my knee jerk reaction to my own frailty is to run and hide for cover, or point fingers to what “made me do it.” It’s to redirect the spotlight of my home from the messy to the acceptable picture of perfection. It’s to blame, cover, justify, judge, distract, pretend.

The beautiful idea of walking in the truth, is that it means walking with Jesus.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” {John 14:6}. We need only fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. To walk in the light is to fix our eyes on Jesus — exposed and forgiven.

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  • Donna

    To tell the difference between the truth and a lie – what a prayer to pierce the darkness in our loved ones’ and our own hearts. That speaks with power. And it’s good to be exposed and forgiven. I needed your blog today. Thank you so much.

    • http://www.hesowsandshesews.com GretchenR

      It IS powerful, isn’t it? I’m so glad this encouraged you.

  • Anna Smit

    Thank you for these words. Such truth here: “Walking in the light is walking exposed. It’s walking in the truth of my failings, and equally, the truth of the cross.” ..and that it’s a returning battle too. My natural inclination is to hide as well, but He keeps calling me out into the Light.

    I’m also just starting to discover how powerful His Light shines when I choose to worship Him as myself: a broken, scared, doubting, angry child, who turns to Him to make me whole and like He did with Thomas, He then stoops down to reveal His True Self to me (from Luke 4, The Message):
    “You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.

    “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

    • http://www.hesowsandshesews.com GretchenR

      “their true selves,” That’s beautiful! I love that part. Walking into the light is being our true selves. Thank you for sharing.

  • A

    Thank you, Gretchen, to you and the Lord for this beautiful message today. I need to be exposed to forgive for things that remain in darkness cannot be healed in His light. His light “shines in the darkness and is not overcome” reminds me of this. May each of us be in His light today :)

    • http://www.hesowsandshesews.com GretchenR

      Oh, it’s so scary for me to bring my sin to the light, though! I think when I get stuck in fear, I repeat to myself “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” Just knowing that feeling doesn’t come from Him, and naming that helps. Thanks so much for stopping to comment! What an encouragement.

  • Amy Holland Dunham

    I have been seeking God for ways that I can pray for my girls, both very young still, and I absolutely love this, “pray that they can tell the difference between the truth and a lie.” I can’t begin to tell you how overcome I find myself when I think about preparing my daughters for this world, and this… this was spot on. The other half of the prayer would be to help ME know the difference too.

  • Rebecca Jones

    What beautiful post! I was touched deeply by a song, the lyrics were…why do you cover what I already see? We know we are forgiven. The enemy wants our focus on our problems or our past, but our focus should be on Jesus. If only Adam and Eve has walked out and asked forgiveness, but someone else would went wrong. The devil would keep us in the dark about God’s pure love. But He can’t. Jesus outshines us all!

  • https://www.nighthowells.wordpress.com Jenny Howell

    Its been a roller coaster week in my ministry world and these words of truth are such steady reminders of His promise to cover us. Thanks Gretchen :)

  • Beth Williams

    Great post! It is super important to pray for and with our children. We need to encourage our children to fix their eyes on Jesus and know that they are forgiven!! We, adults, also need to fix our eyes on Jesus–exposed and forgiven. Constantly praying for forgiveness for where we fail Him!
    Blessings :)

  • Rebecca Olmstead

    One of the enemy’s greatest weapons against believers is the fear of exposure. But “perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18 I pray we all will be filled with God’s love and emboldened to live as open and notorious as our blessed Savior! Thank you for your encouraging words!