John 8:12 – I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.


I thought I broke my toe when I hit it on a heavy boot that was left in our dark the hallway by my son.  He came home late and just took off his work boots right where he was standing, except that where he was standing was smack in the middle of where people walk.  I wake up early in the morning, so it’s dark as I stumble to the coffeemaker. I have lived in my house for over 16 years and I could make my way though it blindfolded.  But when someone puts an obstacle that doesn’t belong there in my path (like a pair of work boots!), all of sudden I am writhing in pain hoping to God that my toe isn’t broken!

Isn’t our walk in this world like that? We think we know our way around but all of sudden something goes sideways in our life and we’re scratching our heads wondering what just happened. We hit an obstacle that we didn’t see coming and suddenly what was a routine day becomes a painful moment.

So is Jesus promising in this passage that we will never be caught off guard if we walk in the light of His presence? I believe He is.  While it seems like a radical and impossible promise, I think we can see how that is exactly the way Jesus Himself walked when He was on the earth.  There wasn’t a verbal attack, a storm or a personal trial that caught Him off guard.  He was ready and prepared for everything that came His way – even for the cross.  He predicted His own death down to the detail of how and when it would occur and He predicted the responses of His disciples in the aftermath of His death.

So why don’t many of us walk in the light as He is in the light?  Let’s unpack that a little.

When the light is on, we can see where we’re going and we can see where the obstacles are that might trip us up. However, in my experience, most of us are still getting blindsided by life’s challenges and pushed over easily into doubt and despair.  We’re like someone who has been standing on one foot – it’s much easier to tip that person over than the one who is firmly planted on two feet.

So here’s why I think we don’t walk in the light every moment the way Jesus did: effort and consistency.  It takes effort and consistency to maintain an intimacy with the Lord where we are tuned in to His voice 24/7, every minute of the day.  And I think many of us don’t think that is even a possibility so we don’t attain to it.

Further, while I believe that Jesus is talking about natural things in John 8:12, He is also talking about spiritual things.  Issues of the heart lie in darkness until the Holy Spirit shines in there and begins to illuminate them.  We can deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re alright until the Holy Spirit shines His light on some ungodly attitudes like jealousy, bitterness or unforgiveness.  At that moment of revelation, we have a choice – we can either turn the light off and try to enjoy our ignorant “bliss” or we can allow the Lord to do the work in our heart that will eradicate the sin and lawlessness that has been hiding in the shadows.

I remember a time in my life where there was an area in my thought life that the Lord persistently tried to deal with.  But I kept making excuses and downplaying the seriousness of my condition.  God in His mercy even allowed a friend to have a conversation with someone in my presence about the exact issue I was dealing with.  And guess what I did: I rationalized that I was not in the emotional or spiritually backslidden place that my friend was describing.  My deception ran deep – so deep that one day, I acted upon the thoughts I had not reined in. God’s mercy gave me another chance, but let me tell you, it’s not worth hiding and it’s not worth allowing pride to keep things in the dark. Confessing our sins one to another once they have been revealed to us brings healing and protects us from being devoured. (James 5:16)

Has the Holy Spirit ever spoken to you and revealed an area where you had ungodly motivations or sinful thoughts lying below the surface? When that happened, did you feel shame? Did you try to justify yourself? Or did you realize that the Lord only corrects those He loves, like a good Father who has His children’s best interests at heart?

Listen to the heart of a man who wanted all of himself to be in the light. David said in Psalm 26:

1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity,
And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.

I have always found this passage of Scripture to be a very gutsy approach to a holy God.  At first blink, it appears that David is justifying himself to God using all of the moral fruit in his life as evidence that his heart is pure and his motivations are godly.  But when we dig deeper we see that he is not resting on that fruit as his justification.  He wants God to examine him inside and out and not let any darkness live quietly like cancer under the surface.

I had a colleague at a former company who was healthy and beautiful and just beginning a new chapter in her life when all one day she thought she pulled a muscle in her abdomen.  When after two weeks the pain didn’t go away she went to her physician who checked her and immediately told her to call her family and get to a leading hospital in Boston by 4:00 PM that afternoon where she would meet with a world renowned oncologist.  The diagnosis – Stage 4 cancer that had spread throughout her entire abdomen and was metastasizing affecting every major organ.  She passed away 3 months after her first symptom appeared.

And while physical death is a terrible loss, eternal separation from God or not living up to the potential that He put in us is a loss far greater than even our physical death.  Many people will not know that they are eternally lost until it’s too late to make a change – all because they thought they were fine and never thought to ask God, “Am I OK? Are we OK? Can you please open my eyes to see what’s hiding in the dark corners of my soul that could hijack your purpose for me? Could you please bring all of the cancerous motivations of my heart into the light so that You and I can deal with them together?”

Let that be the cry of our hearts today.  Jesus, don’t let me harbor any hidden sin that will suddenly be my demise or cause me pain because I didn’t know it was there.  Open my eyes to everything that pulls me away from You and draws me into the wrong path.  Shine your light in my heart and give me the courage to face what is revealed knowing that it’s Your lovingkindness that reveals these things to me before it’s too late.  It’s Your mercy that brings me up short before I see You face to face and it’s too late to change the way I have lived here on earth. Let me sow seeds of righteousness in this life, allowing Your voice to teach, guide and correct me so that when I see You face-to-face, You can say to me, Well done, good and faithful servant.

Now you:

  • Do you want to walk in more light? Do you want to walk in confidence with a pure conscience and an understanding of what God has for you?
  • Do you believe that Jesus meant it when he said that whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness?
  • Do you want to help others find the light that will free them from darkness, loss and pain?

Jesus is a wonderful Savior who has paid for the sins of the world.  He made a way by His death and resurrection for everyone to be free from darkness inside and out. The light of His spirit saves us and protects us from everything that would try to steal our purpose, our joy and our strength.  But we need to invite Him in to do this work in us.  He will not bully His way into our hearts.  So ask Him today to shine the light of His Spirit into the dark corners of your heart so that you can be healed and cleansed from all unrighteousness.  As David said in Psalm 26, God’s lovingkindness is before our eyes. It’s God’s lovingkindness that has allowed His light to shine in us and lead us home!

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