But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7, emphasis added)
If you look up the definition of the Greek word for fellowship you won’t find the word friendship. You will, however, find several words that describe what friends share — association, community, communion, joint participation, intimacy.
You can’t be a true friend to your sister in Christ without fellowship.
How do we have fellowship? By walking in the light.
Huh? Yes, I know, our Christianese can be a little vague and confusing sometimes, so let’s pause for a moment and explore what walking in the light means.
1 John 1 says this:
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
In other words, walking in the light means we we are open and transparent with God about our sins (He knows about them already anyway) and we trust that He has cleansed us of our sins. Walking in the light also means we are open and transparent about our sins with our friends.
If we are not willing to walking the light, well, then we are walking in darkness. What does this mean? That we are continually trying to hide our sin from God and from others. We are forever faking a perfect sinless life; pretending we have no sin that needs confessing and driving a huge wedge between ourselves and those we are intended to have intimate relationships with.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we keep a running list of all our sins and then share the list with every person we know. What I am saying, however, is that we are to be willing to talk openly about our sins to our close and trusted Christian friends.
This walking in the light business is probably a lot simpler than you might think. For example, if you get in a big blow up with your husband on the way to church, you shouldn’t fake a perfect glorious marriage by grabbing his hand, slapping on a huge smile, and cross your fingers that he’ll play along too. Instead, you should quietly find your bestie and ask her for prayer. You don’t need to tell her all the details, but openly confess that you are having a hard time loving and forgiving the way Christ has done for you. Ask her for prayer right then and there.
Why be so vulnerable with your friends? Why share your junk? Why be so honest when it reveals the fact that you are still a sinner? Because if we don’t we left alone in the dark, cut off from God’s people. And by the way, this is exactly where the enemy wants us. Isolated and insecure.
When we choose to be honest with our friends about our struggles and our sinful hearts, even though it is risking, frightening, and downright intimidating, it opens the door for true and intimate friendship. It lets our friends know that they can be open with us. And this dear believer, will lead to the relationships we were created for; the relationships that we can only experience with God and His people.
Only by grace,