For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
Today's passage is arguably the most beloved verse in the entire Bible. If you've ever watched a football game, chances are good you saw a fan holding a sign with this verse plastered on it. We all love to quote this verse because it gets to the very heart of the Gospel.
Today I want us to focus on the verses that follow it. They are a lot more challenging to hear, and that probably explains why we tend to shy away from them. But, to truly understand and appreciate the good news of God being with us, we must confront the reasons why we love the darkness. Let's allow the Bible to speak for itself:
"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." John 3:17-21
There is a point where we must stop hiding and pretending. "Receiving Christ" isn't a compartmentalized decision. It requires us to bring our whole selves into the light. It involves being exposed and vulnerable, which can only occur if we are willing to break the silence and be honest about our sin and struggles.
For a moment, reflect on the reason Jesus gives for people not coming into the light. Can you relate to this tension? Is there anything that you would prefer to remain hidden? Darkness values appearance over authenticity. It is in isolation that our unchecked desires run wild and free. When we cling to the darkness, we take on a posture of hiding, isolation, indifference, and even hostility to the truth.
The invitation is to bring all we are to Christ to be exposed and forgiven. Why? So the way you live your life will serve as an expression of God's grace and forgiveness. Rather than hiding, we lean on our community of friends who are helping us in our walk. Sharing the struggle lightens the load.
How does darkness value appearance over authenticity?
What dangers exist in keeping our struggles in the darkness? How is freedom found by coming into the light?
Lord, I confess to You that there are areas of my life that I keep hidden in the dark corners of my heart. I come to You. I step into the light asking You to expose every false motive and every way that doesn't align with You. May I display the courage to come and allow You to change me from the inside out so that the life I live is an expression of You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.