I’ve recently been doing some reading and studying of 1 John. I may actually, eventually, write a Bible Study on this book. What would you think of that?
But for now, you’ll probably see blog posts on snippets of Scripture from 1 John, and what God has shown me in them and taught me from them.
In the first chapter of 1 John, there’s a lot about light and life and truth… actually, these words show up a lot throughout the whole book. As I was reading chapter one, there were a couple of other words that stood out to me: fellowship and confession. And I began to see connections between all these words, and the meaning they have for my life, here and now.
We were made for fellowship. We were created for an intimate, eternal, covenantal, love relationship with God. God began the process of creation by saying, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3); the giving of light, the giving of sight, the revelation of Him who is Light. God breathed His own breath into man, making him alive, and walked with him in the garden. Man in the Presence of God, walking in the Light. Fellowship with the Divine.
We were made for fellowship. Not only with God, but also with each other. After God created man, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” So God created woman, a suitable helper, a companion. (Genesis 2:18-22) Man and woman tended the garden together and both walked in Light.
Galatians 5 calls us to “walk in step with the Spirit” (v. 16) and to “keep in step with the Spirit.” (v. 25) Fellowship with God. His breath being our very life. The light of His presence illuminating the way we should go. By this, we do not gratify the desires of the sinful nature, but the character of God comes forth in us.
Jesus shed His blood to cleans us. To purify us from sin so may enter into fellowship with Him by His Spirit. But if we claim to be without sin, we are claiming we do not need Jesus to save and purify us, and we are living in a lie. We are living in darkness.
To say I have relationship with Jesus, to say I have fellowship with God, is to say I need Him. It is to say I have sinned and fall short of His glory. It is to say I do not have it all together or all figured out. It is to drop any pretending of perfection. It is to stop striving to be good enough and to start breathing in His breath and walking in His light.
It is confession and of all that I am not; not perfect, not good, not righteous; and acceptance of all that Jesus is; forgiving, faithful and just, and righteous; that I may be purified, and His Word may be in me and transform me, and the truth may set me free from darkness that I may walk in Jesus’ marvelous light.
Confession is not easy. This moving from darkness to light. Darkness is hiding and covering up. Light is revealing and exposing. And sometimes having the light shine on us and being exposed bare is a bit uncomfortable. A lot uncomfortable.
When Adam and Eve chose to step out of the truth of who God is and who they were in Him, taking a bite of that forbidden fruit so they could become their own gods, sin entered them and this world. And when Light once again began His walk in the garden, sin separated them from Him. And they hid. Darkness. Covering up. Shame. (Genesis 3:8) This is what the sinful nature in us wants us to do. It wants us to hide and feel ashamed and be afraid. It doesn’t want light to shine and be exposed.
And yet, that beautiful, pure Light didn’t recoil and didn’t abandon. He didn’t cease His walking in the garden. Rather, He called out, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) And He drew man and woman into confession, and set in motion the restoration of their fellowship, promising the Messiah.
Confessing brings us from darkness into light. God pursues each of us, calling us out with His love, beckoning us to Himself. Where are you? Will we say we are fallen, broken, separated, in need of Him? For if we do confess our sins, He will forgive and purify, and lift us up and mend us and unite us with Himself.
Even those of us who have entered into this relationship with Jesus, who have asked and received forgiveness for our sins, who have been made new, still need confession. It’s all to easy for us good girls to hide behind that good girl smile. To hold it together on the outside, when inside may be a tumultuous wreck. To not want to admit to faults or failures or struggles, but to constantly battle to be good enough, to truly earn that good girl title.
The passage from 1 John 1 spoke of having fellowship with one another. In James 5 we read, “If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other…” (vv. 15-16) God is the first One to whom we must confess, for He alone saves and cleanses. But this verse speaks of being open and honest with one another. This doesn’t mean we have to shout our struggles from the roof tops, or pour out our hearts and cry on the shoulder of every person who asks, “How are you?” But we need those with whom we can share, with whom we can confess, and who will pray for us and hold us accountable.
Fellowship among Jesus’ followers isn’t just happy conversation, it is honest vulnerability and compassionate accountability.
I’m not a very talkative person. I don’t open up with just anybody. But I do have a few close friends who I can be real with. Who I can share what I am going through with. And I strive to be a listener and a tear-catching-shoulder for them. So together we can walk in light, fellowshipping with Our Savior.
If you haven’t yet, find those who can be such fellowship for you. It may be hard and awkward and uncomfortable at first, but what freedom there is in being honest; in living in truth instead of hiding in shame.