It would be really easy to look at our website or our Facebook page and think to yourself, “wow, look at that…they had a rough time in their marriage and poof, now they are healed and happy as can be.” In fact, we’ve had lots of people makes comments like that directly to us. Or people have asked us “How did you do it??” and then expect a quick, simple answer.
You see what is in front of you, in the present….a couple that is running a marriage ministry based on their journey from hurt to hope. And you may assume that the journey from one to the other was fairly quick and required very little sacrifice. After all, Jesus healed people in the blink of an eye, with no real “effort” on their part.
Well, let me tell you, friends….it was not simple, easy or quick. Our healing required a HUGE amount of effort on our part and it also required a TON of sacrifice from both of us. AND God performed a miracle. It wasn’t one or the other. It was, as my counselor would profoundly state, a BOTH/AND.
We have couples seek us out for counsel regularly. And many times (though not all), they are looking for the “cure” or the “quick fix” for their marriage.
Some people are genuinely surprised that they are not going to walk out of our living room cured of their marriage ills.
It takes effort and sacrifice and wisdom, all of which are clearly defined in the Bible. As our pastor would say, “We don’t have all the answers, but we know the One who does.”
So, let’s look at what God says in His word about the part WE play in His “miracle business.” These verses, my friends, are life lines. So, let’s take a look at our first truth to help us see our role in getting on (and STAYING ON!) the path to healing:
Stay In The Light
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 1:7
I don’t even know where to begin because this verse is so rich in wisdom.
Let’s start with “but if we walk in the light, AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT.” “Walking in the light” is essentially staying close to God, following His commands, seeking His wisdom and counsel, loving Him. The second part, “as he is in the light,” is really important. It means that we need to stick to God as close as Jesus stuck to God.
And since Jesus IS God, that would mean pretty close.
Like cuddled up to your sweetheart by a fire when it’s 20 below close.
Like hugging your child before their first day of school close.
Like even squashed next to a stranger on the subway at rush hour close. (cause it’s not always comfortable staying close to God)
Is it possible to be as close to God as Jesus is? NO. Because we are not God (though sometimes we like to think we are!) He is asking us to do our absolute, very best to seek God in the same way Jesus did. Jesus “did life” always with the Father’s directions in his head. He made it clear to those around Him that God was guiding him and providing him with all he needed. And he didn’t just SAY it. He LIVED IT. When he experienced trouble, he prayed to God. When he needed counsel, he sought out the Father, not the opinions of those around him or the latest “experts.” When he was tempted, he prayed to the Father and used the Word of God as a weapon against the darkness.
Is it easy to follow God in every moment of our lives? No way! Is it especially hard to follow God when we are weak from hurt and and blinded by anger? ABSOLUTELY! But as soon as we stop seeking the light, even for a moment, WE ARE IN DARKNESS. It truly IS that simple.
When you are not in the light, you are in the dark.
Turn around and seek the light. And stay in it. Light allows us to move forward in dark situations. It shows us how to get to safety. It gives us confidence to take the next step, and the next step, and the next step. Even a slight move off the path of light can fill you with anxiety and fear.
Stay in the light.
Continuing on, the verse tells us what happens when we stay in the light. We have fellowship with one another. Ok, here’s a little secret…this word “fellowship” makes me chuckle. (It’s such a church-y word) And people use it as a noun, a verb, an adjective…in just about every way possible. The one that makes me giggle the most is “fellowshipping.” As I type, my computer doesn’t even accept that as a word, but I hear it all the time. (I mean you no offense if you use this term!)
I am not a theologian, but I believe that the term “fellowship” in this verse means we will bond, unify, strengthen, and persevere steadfastly. It’s more than having coffee together, you know what I mean?
When we stay in the light, like Jesus did, we will strengthen together.
And, continuing in the verse, “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Oh, how sweet it is! When we stay in the light, we are forgiven! We are no longer living in shame and guilt. We don’t desire to hold grudges and retaliate. Jesus has covered all of it.
See, when you stay in the light, you look back at the darkness and see it for what it is.
The darkness is the sin. In the light, your perspective has changed. When you are in the darkness, it’s all you know…you can barely see the light. But when you step out, it is exposed. This is when you repent. (another church-y word) To repent means to turn away from…make a complete change. So, when you turn away from darkness and step into the light, you repent and open yourself up to God’s grace and mercy and love. Booyaaa!
We need to stop looking to the darkness as something that just “is.” As if it’s something that is inevitable in our lives. Because it isn’t!
Does it take effort to stay out of the darkness? YES! Will you sometimes step back into it? YES! But when we persevere and strengthen our relationship with God, our life is filled with LIGHT!
Remember though, YOU have to step into the light! God is there with open arms to receive you, but you have got to “accept His invitation.”
It takes effort and sacrifice to step into the light.
God loves you and wants to guide you, but when you continue to live in the darkness, even God’s strongest floodlight will not penetrate your darkness without you turning around to see it and accept it.
In order to stay in the light, you have to give up the darkness.
It’s a tall order. There are so many things, seemingly “ok” things, that are rooted in darkness. We can’t keep those, friends. You can’t have both. When you try to, you fail. Guaranteed. I have tried. I have tried to keep dark things while seeking light and it doesn’t work. And when we are trying to heal relationships and mend brokenness, darkness will stop that healing in it’s tracks.
I pray that we all are able to find the dark spots in our lives, turn away from them, and stay in the light. Let’s fellowship…strengthen together.
Next Week: Part 2! Don’t miss it!
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