Walking in the Light

Joshua West

In the book of 1 John, the apostle was writing to a church that had been shaken by a mass departure of people who had been lured away by false teachers. They had lost friends whom they served alongside in church to gnostic teachers who believed that there was secret knowledge that some could obtain about God. 

John was writing this letter to encourage the believers who remained but also to rebuke the false teaching that had permeated the church. Isn’t it interesting that almost every letter in the New Testament was written in response to false teaching? Both Peter and Paul wrote about false teachers, the latter noting, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you…and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30, ESV).

To combat this, John wrote, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).  

One of the greatest differences between true teachers of the Word and false teachers is that the true believers will draw people to God; false believers will draw people to themselves and their own ideas. True teachers will only point to God’s Word; they won’t invent or add anything to God’s truth. 

Walking in the light, as John talked about, is evidence that we are walking in the truth. The term ‘walking’ is referring to our manner of living. We cannot live in God’s ways without living in the truth. 

This doesn’t mean that we’re living in certain ways to prove something to other people. Hypocrites do that. No, it means that our decisions are informed by the truth revealed in scripture and that lives in us through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we will only point to the Bible as our authority, not our own ‘clever’ ideas. People who let scripture inform all their decisions will be the ones who point past themselves to God.

Joshua West serves as the Church Leadership Network Director at World Challenge helping equip and empower pastors all over the world. Joshua’s desire is to raise up ministers who will correctly and boldly preach the word with passion and integrity. The point of all his work and writings is to preach the gospel, glorify God and to teach sound doctrine.

The Joy of Repentance

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“And he said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’ So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’” (Daniel 10:19, NKJV).

Daniel’s soul was in agony. He had been mourning for sin—praying, fasting, weeping—and it left him flat on his face, totally drained. He moaned, “O my lord…my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength” (Daniel 10:16).

Jesus came to him and touched his body, and Daniel was suddenly flooded with peace and strength. Christ said to him, “‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’ So when he spoke to me I was strengthened…” (Daniel 10:19).

Jesus was essentially telling Daniel, “Daniel, I love you, and I want to give you my peace. Now, stand up and be strong.” Daniel received the word of the Lord and was filled with God’s strength. He stood up, completely free from fear.

The repentant Christian can be downcast, totally wiped out, overwhelmed by sorrow and weariness. However, the Lord always comes to touch his body, to give him renewed peace and strength.

Do you have a repentant heart? Do you want one? Fall on your knees today and cry out in confession for yourself, your family, your loved ones, your church. You will receive an incredible revelation of the Lord, and you will begin to speak from pure lips. You will know peace and strength from God’s mighty hand so that you will no longer live in fear of any kind.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving refuge of his anointed” (Psalm 28:7-8).

Best of all, each of these marvelous benefits will be “loaded” upon you daily: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah” (Psalm 68:19). That is when you will know the joy of walking in repentance.

Our Help Is the Lord

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

How do you get out of the trap of besetting sin? To whom do you cry out, “I want my freedom back”?

Picture yourself as a bird in the fowler’s trap. Stand still. Don’t flap your wings; don’t struggle. There is a secret of deliverance for you, and it is not complicated. “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8, NKJV).

What a wonderful promise! Your escape to freedom is in the incredible, glorious, all-powerful name of Jesus Christ. All you have to know is that he is on your side. He is not mad at you for falling into the trap. He is not against you. He hears your cry because not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowing about it.

Here is what the bird of freedom sings to himself, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in him I will trust.’ Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence…. Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:2-3,14-15).

Rest assured, beloved, that God will deliver you. No matter what your failure, your hardship, your trap, he is on your side. Just stand still and see his salvation. Even if you are weak, you can cry out to him because he promises to come and tear the net away. He has come to bring you out of your despair, to break everything that binds you and set you free. 

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul; then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth” (Psalm 124:2-6).

The Snare Is Broken

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped” (Psalm 124:7, NKJV). 

Imagine a little bird trapped in the fowler’s net. Lying helpless, its little heart throbs with terror, and its wings beat wildly against the net to no avail. The more it struggles, the more battered and bruised it becomes. Frightened, the bird begins to cry and screech, but escape is impossible. It is completely at the mercy of the fowler. 

Beloved, that little bird is you snared by the net of sin! The fowler is the devil, the wicked one. He laid his trap and caught you in it.

Now, consider that trapped, little bird. How he could possibly get free by his own strength and power? If he fights to break through the net, he will become even more entangled. He may even break a wing or bleed to death. He can’t deliver himself.

Isn’t this a picture of us when we’re trapped in sin? We make all kinds of promises to God. We struggle and cry, trying to break free from our bondage; but we have lost our freedom and remain trapped.

Imagine that little trapped bird again. That night, the fowler goes to bed, dreaming of this special little bird he’s been after. He can hardly sleep and is anxious to go out the next day and see if he’s caught it.

As the fowler comes near the trap, he sees it has been sprung, and he gets excited. He expects to see a worn-out, bleeding, frightened, half-dead bird in the net. Lo and behold, when he examines the trap, he sees the net is torn and broken. The bird has soared away. 

We find the little bird perched on a limb in a tree high on God’s mountain. He’s free, and his wounds are healing all because the Lord came and ripped open the net. That little bird is saying to itself, “If it had not been for the Lord, if he had not rushed to my side, I would have been swallowed up and devoured. However, God broke the snare and plucked me out of the trap.”

The snare is broken, and we have escaped!

Lift Your Hands and Worship

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Satan will resist every true worshiper who draws near to God. “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him” (Zechariah 3:1, NKJV).

James instructed believers, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God…” (James 4:7-8). James presupposed that when you draw near to God, you are going to be attacked by the enemy, so he warned, “First, fight Satan; put up all your resistance because when you worship with all your mind and soul, he will oppose and distract you!”

Satan’s chief work is to hinder prayer and corrupt pure worship, especially in those who are serious about following Jesus.

Whenever the Holy Spirit moves in Times Square Church, when all minds are focused on the Lord and he is receiving pure worship, Satan uses everything in his power to try to disrupt it. One time a man got up in the middle of our service, went outside, picked up a garbage can and smashed it into a car window. After that, he calmly walked back into church and sat down. The police had to come into the congregation and take the man out.

These distractions happen all the time. Demon-possessed street people take a seat and fall asleep. As our worship begins and the Lord begins to receive our praises, though, the devil awakens these people, and they begin to make a scene.

Satan will do anything to disrupt worship because he fears it! He will shoot subtle darts into your mind about all kinds of unfinished business, replaying every problem, every worry, every failure of the past week.

Satan wants you to be a despairing, defeated believer, so wrapped up in your problems, so distracted by the cares of life, that you cannot worship God with all your heart and mind. Are you repentant and full of godly sorrow? Have you run to Jesus for cleansing? If so, then resist the devil’s lies. Lift your hands and worship your Savior!