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Daily Devotional • February 12

Michael Smith
Walk in the Light
A Reading from 1 John 2:3-11

3 Now by this we know that we have come to know him, if we obey his commandments. 4 Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we know that we are in him: 6 whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk in the same way as he walked.

7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves a brother or sister abides in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates a brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.

By this we may be sure that we know God, if we obey his commandments.

Is this another way of saying that if we are to talk the talk, we must also walk the walk? John is adamant that we must decide to walk in the light and not in the darkness, to be obedient to God rather than disobedient.

The word “commandment” for most Christians brings to mind the Ten Words or the Decalogue given by God to Moses (Ex. 20:2-17). But there is also the Great Commandment with its double injunction to love God and neighbor (Matt. 22:35-40), not to mention the New Commandment to love one another as Christ loves us (John 13:34). There is much to pay attention to in the spiritual walk of a Christian.

The penitential rites in our liturgies pass rather quickly during our common worship. Perhaps it is time for a private examination of conscience, looking for the details in our lives where we veer off the lighted path into darkness. It is good to remember that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for 15 years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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