Lately I keep circling back around to this one big question: What does it mean to live as children of light, in this dark world? And it seems like the central question all of us Christ-followers should be asking, in simple everyday ways. How does a mother shine Light on the third toddler-tantrum of the day, when she is running on not-enough sleep? How does a hurting heart step into Light, bring God’s truth to bear on those wounds and find healing and forgiveness? How does Light clear out the dark corners of my heart where selfishness and anger tend to settle in? What does a Child of Light look like in an office cubicle?…In a marriage?…In differences of perspective and opinion?
You wouldn’t expect a fisherman-turned-preacher like Peter to have very profound ideas on the subject, but it turns out that he was used to asking that question, ever since he got it profoundly wrong one terrible night. Once you let your fears swing the door wide open to betrayal and anger and lies, and the darkness almost swallows you whole, you realize how powerful those small choices can be– how quickly you can find yourself lost on the wrong path. Maybe there’s a sense in which you can’t really learn to consistently walk in the light until you have looked hard into the face of your own darkness. Peter learned the hard way too, how walking in the light might look more difficult in the moment, but it is actually the most freeing thing you will ever do. So he faced his fear and his failure and found forgiveness over breakfast on the beach with Jesus, and began teaching others what he was learning: that the closer you are to Jesus, the more everything makes sense in His Light.
So Peter can say with the authority of someone who has leaned into the subject that the way to walk as a child of the light is to focus on all that God has done for you– stand on that foundation of salvation and rejoice in it, let it make you strong. And it is more than just looking forward to a happy ending someday. It’s embracing your new identity as His child, and allowing that to rewrite your story in the present. As Peter writes to the believers under siege, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3)
We may be waiting for that rich inheritance to come, but Peter says our hope is alive in Jesus, and we live in Him. We are already living in eternity, in the presence of the Spirit of God, with abundant resources for each day. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3) This is why we can trust Him, why we do what He tells us, how we can keep on walking through the hard things and the grief that overwhelms, because the Almighty King of Heaven walks with us as a Friend and we “…are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…” (1 Peter 1:8) Every experience Peter had as one of Jesus’ disciples was a lesson learned, another mile on his faith-journey. Both the good and the bad were growing him into the person God always intended him to be: someone who could walk in the Light and lead others in knowing God. When you understand the depths of your salvation and what the Savior is doing in your life, it changes the way you handle everything, including the hard times.
What does it mean to walk as children of light? Peter would probably rephrase the question for us: How would you act if you knew you were deeply loved, known, set aside for God’s purposes? Hmm…I’m guessing you would act a lot more like Jesus did.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1 Peter 1:6-7)
Thank You for the wildernessGreat Things, Elevation Worship
Where I learned to thirst for Your presence
If I’d never known that place
How could I have known You are better?
Thank You for the lonely times
When I learned to live in the silence
As the other voices fade
I can hear You calling me, Jesus
And it’s worth it all just to know You more