“God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” [1 Jn 1:5]
Our God is a God of light. This means that He is all-good, all-truth, and all pure. There is no falsehood or evil in Him. There is nothing in Him that goes against the Truth, for He is the Truth and cannot go against Himself. A God who commands men not to lie does not lie Himself. A God who commands men not to steal does not steal Himself. A God who commands men to love their fellow men does not hate men Himself. This is what is meant when we say that God never does anything that goes against the Truth.
If we are His children, we are to imitate Him by walking in the light. This means that we are to be obedient to His truth. We are to live according to His way and not our own way. This is how we can tell the difference between those who are truly God’s children and those who are not. The ones who truly belong to God obey God.
In the center of my kitchen table I have a bowl of apples. The apples are not real; they are artificial. If you look at them, they look very delicious and very real. You aren’t able to tell that they are artificial until you pick one of them up. Because the apples are only made out of plastic, they’re much lighter than real apples. Another way that you could find out that the apples are not real is if you made the unpleasant mistake of actually biting into one.
The Church of Jesus Christ is filled with real children of God and artificial children of God. When everybody is in church, praying, singing, and listening to the readings in the missal, it’s hard to tell which ones are the real children of God and which ones are artificial. But when you watch the way people live outside of church, that’s when you will be able to see who the true children of God are. Those who truly belong to God will obey Him and do everything that He commands day after day, week after week, and year after year. This doesn’t mean that the true children of God don’t make mistakes, stumble, and fall. Because they are human, they will make mistakes. But they acknowledge their sin, confess it, and keep on trying to live for God.
The artificial ones don’t care about walking and living in the light. They only go to church because they think that this is what matters to God. Outside of church, however, they live lives that are very disobedient to the truths of God.
It is very important that we spend time every day reading the Bible and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church. By constantly reading these precious books, we are daily being reminded of how our Heavenly Father wants us to live. But if we stop reading the Bible and the Catechism, it’s very easy for us to forget what God commands and to get very sloppy in our walk with Him.
Another very important thing that we must do each and every single day is to spend time in prayer with God. Prayer is where we receive the strength and grace from God needed to live according to the things He commands in the Scriptures and the Catechism. Of course, each time we receive the Sacraments, we receive God’s grace, but we must not neglect prayer. We need both the Sacraments and prayer in order to be empowered by God to live in the light.
When it comes to living in the Light, there is one more thing that you need to remember. You must be very careful when it comes to the friends you keep, the books you read, the music you listen to, and the movies or TV shows that you watch. Satan has used all of these things in order to turn an entire world away from God. There are good friends, and there are bad friends. There are good books, and there are bad books. There is good music, and there is bad music. There are good movies, and there are bad movies. Satan isn’t interested in the good; his plan is to use all that is bad in order to entice you to follow the ways of this world instead of the ways of God.
Do you know that if you sit in a smelly room long enough, you won’t be able to smell the odor anymore? This is because your nose has grown used to the smell and has become desensitized to it. This is why, if you eat a ton of garlic every day, everybody else can smell it except you. Your nose eventually becomes desensitized to what others around you can smell.
In the same way, if you expose yourself to bad people, books, music, and movies long enough, the “bad” won’t seem bad anymore; it will seem normal. Because your soul has become desensitized to just how offensive these things are to God, it no longer seems like darkness to you. It just seems normal.
When I was 19 years old, I wasn’t yet walking in obedience to the Lord. I didn’t start to follow Jesus with all of my heart until I was 21 years old. But when I was 19 years old, I remember reading a book. Many years later, after I got married and was serving Jesus, I saw that old book in a book store. I picked it up and leafed through it. It was filled with filthy language. I said to myself, “I can’t believe I used to read this garbage.”
Because I stopped reading bad books, and started reading good books, it was easy for me to be sensitive to just how offensive and dark the bad books were. It’s the same thing with some of the movies that I used to watch. There are movies that I watched as a young woman that I could never watch today. This is because God has changed me, and I’m able to see them for the dark, offensive things that they are. But if I had continued watching the bad movies all of these years, they would just seem normal to me.
The same thing can be said about the clothing that we wear. Again, when I was young and walked according to the dark ways of this world, I didn’t see anything wrong with the clothing that I wore. In fact, there are women my age today who are still dressing in an unseemly way. And yet, to them, it’s perfectly normal. They don’t see anything wrong with it. This is because if you see sleazy clothing hanging on racks long enough, being advertised in magazines long enough, and being worn by everybody long enough, it doesn’t seem dark or wrong anymore; you’ve become desensitized to it. You’ve become used to it. Now, it just seems normal. It’s not sleazy; it’s just “the style.”
As children of God, we must take our cue from the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We should never take our cue from the world, for the world is in darkness and does not know God. But if you never spend time reading the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church, how will you know what is light and what is darkness, what is right and what is wrong, what is pleasing to God and what is displeasing to Him? How will you know what is offensive to Him and what honors Him? Without the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, what are you giving the Holy Spirit to work with in your life to steer you in the right direction? If you think Satan and the world are going to point you in the right direction when it comes to your walk with God, you have been deceived. Satan is not interested in assisting you in your walk with God; he’s out to destroy you.
Many people in the Church have not yet realized this truth. Because of their ignorance in this crucial matter, they have unknowingly given themselves over to dark things that now seem normal to them. To make matters worse, they bring this darkness with them into the Church. As more and more people sitting in church pews bring the darkness of this world into the Church with them, the light that is supposed to emanate from the Church grows dimmer and dimmer. If we are going to be the light of the world, we must completely separate ourselves from the ways and practices of this world. It’s as simple as that.
If I have time to read a book, I want it to be a book that will help me grow in my relationship with God. If I have time to listen to music, I want to listen to music that will help me to think about God. If I have friends, I want them to be people who are going to help me in my walk with God, not hinder me.
For the rest of your life you are going to have to make choices about what you are going to allow in your life and what you are going to reject. Part of walking in the light means that you have to make wise choices when it comes to friends, music, books, and movies. If they don’t help you to walk in the light, think of the light, and focus night and day on the light…
… then you can be certain that Satan will find a way to use them to distract you and keep you away from the light.
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