Walking in the light is a biblical metaphor that refers to living according to God’s commands and following the path of righteousness. Here is an in-depth look at what the Bible says about walking in the light:
Walking in Darkness vs. Walking in Light
The Bible presents two ways of life: walking in darkness or walking in the light. Walking in darkness represents living in sin and rebellion against God. The prophet Isaiah described those who walk in darkness: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). Ephesians 5:8 says, “For at one time you were darkness…”
In contrast, walking in the light represents living in holiness and obedience to God’s commands. The apostle John wrote, “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 1:7).
As children of light (Ephesians 5:8), believers are called to turn away from deeds of darkness and walk honorably as in the daytime (Romans 13:12-13). We must cast off sinful ways and reflect the light of Christ in our conduct.
Requirements for Walking in the Light
Walking in the light requires an inward transformation by the power of Christ. It is not something we can accomplish in our own strength. Jesus Christ is the true light (John 1:9) and those who follow Him will not walk in darkness (John 8:12). When we repent and believe in Christ, we are transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).
To continue walking in the light, we must have fellowship with God by reading His word, praying, and participating in the life of the church (1 John 1:3, 7). We must take care to avoid false teachings (2 John 1:7-11) and listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice (John 10:27).
Walking in the light also requires obedience to God’s commands. 1 John 2:3-6 teaches that we can be sure we know God if we obey His commands. We cannot claim to love God while walking in darkness (1 John 2:9). As we obey Christ’s teachings, we will demonstrate that we are walking in the light (1 John 1:6-7).
Guidance for Walking in the Light
To walk in the light, we must follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. By taking His yoke upon ourselves (Matthew 11:29), we learn from the One who is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). The more time we spend studying the Gospels, the more Christ-like we will become.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus provided clear ethical instruction for walking in the light. We are to be meek, merciful, pure in heart, and peachmakers. We must love our enemies, give to the needy, pray secretly, fast privately, and lay up treasure in heaven. Following Christ’s instructions will keep us on the narrow path of light.
We must also heed the ethical commands found throughout New Testament epistles. As we submit to governmental authority (Romans 13:1-7), love our neighbors (Romans 13:8-10), use our freedom for the good of others (Galatians 5:13-14), care for the needy (Ephesians 4:28), bridle our tongue (James 1:26), and practice true religion by caring for widows and orphans (James 1:27), we will walk honorably as children of light.
Blessings of Walking in the Light
There are many blessings associated with walking in the light of Christ. First, we will have intimate fellowship with God and other believers (1 John 1:3, 7). Sin breaks our connection with God, but walking in the light keeps us in close relationship with Him.
Walking in the light also results in a cleansed conscience before God (1 John 1:7, 9). While those who walk in darkness experience guilt and shame, obedient believers enjoy peace of mind, confident that the blood of Christ has washed away their sins (Hebrews 9:14).
In addition, those who walk in the light do not stumble spiritually (John 11:9-10). Just as a flashlight illuminates hazards at night, God’s word lights the path for our feet (Psalm 119:105). Walking according to Scriptural truth prevents us from stumbling into sin.
Believers who walk in the light grow in their understanding of God and His ways. We comprehend truth more clearly as we live it out in obedience (John 7:17). Submitting to Christ’s commands trains our spiritual senses to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).
Most importantly, those who walk in the light share in the hope of eternal life (John 12:35-36; 1 John 1:7). At the end of our journey, we will see the Lord face to face in the splendor of heaven’s light (Revelation 22:4-5).
Examining Our Walk
Since walking in the light leads to great spiritual blessings, we must examine our walk often. Below are some questions we can ask to assess whether we are walking in darkness or in the light:
- Do I regularly spend time reading God’s word and praying?
- Am I living in obedience to God’s moral commands?
- Am I loving others through my words, actions, and attitudes?
- Am I relying on the Holy Spirit to guide me rather than my own wisdom?
- Do I quickly repent when I sin instead of covering it up?
- Am I transparent about struggles and temptations with other believers?
- Do my entertainment choices and web browsing honor God?
- Are my thoughts and motives pure or tainted by sinful desires?
If we find ourselves walking in darkness, we can immediately return to the light by confessing our sins (1 John 1:9), asking God to renew our fellowship with Him. He will empower us to resume walking in the light if we continually yield control of our lives to Christ.
Shining the Light of Christ
As we walk in the light of Christ, our lives will shine brightly to others around us. Jesus taught that we are the light of the world and must let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:14-16). When we walk in love, joy, peace, patience, and other fruits of the light (Galatians 5:22-23), we provide light for those in darkness.
Our speech should be gracious and uplifting, providing light to listeners (Ephesians 4:29; 5:4). We must take care to live upright lives, so our light will not be obscured by sin. As we continue walking in the light each day, unbelievers will see our love and good works and glorify God (Matthew 5:16).
Walking in the light is a lifelong journey of growth in holiness. By God’s grace and strength, we can turn from darkness and embark on the narrow path illuminated by Christ. As we walk in fellowship with God, obey His commands, and emulate Christ’s example, we will experience great spiritual blessings and reflect the light of Christ to the world. Examining our walk regularly helps us stay on the path of light. While we will occasionally stumble, God provides forgiveness and the power to continue shining brightly for His glory.