Walking in the Light – a Study on Vulnerability

This post is part of a series in which I explore the concept of vulnerability and its place in God’s design. Last time, I attempted to define it in my own words. Then I turned to Google for a more objective definition. Finally, I asked, “why? Why vulnerability?”

I speculated that one reason for God’s redeemed children to practise vulnerability is that such is what it means to live in the light.

Keep in mind that these were my thoughts before I took them to the Bible. As with all my ideas, this needs to be tested by God’s Word. And that’s where I would like to start today.

0100-walking-in-the-light-a-study-on-vulnerability
Walking in the light – a study on vulnerability

As I began to explore the concepts of light, darkness, and vulnerability, three passages came to my mind. As my study unfolded, God lead me to numerous other relevant passages, but these three will act as my “case studies” – and yours, too, should you choose to join me:

Case #1 – The 1-John Passage:

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. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

-1 John 1:5-10

Case #2 – The Ephesians Passage:

Therefore, do not associate  not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

-Ephesians 5:7-14

Case #3 – The John Passage (not to be confused with the 1-John Passage):

And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”

-John 3:19-21

Hopefully, whether you read these passages slowly and carefully or speed-read through them, you understood this:

light is associated with “good” and darkness with “bad”.

Even to the person who has never read these passages, this may seem intuitive. But why? Why this assumption?

In the 1-John- and Ephesians-passage, we see a theme of walking in the light/darkness. The former says, “…walk in the darkness…” and “…walk in the light…”, and the latter says, “Walk as children of light…”

In these passages, to walk in light means to live a moral life. Conversely, to walk in the darkness signifies immorality.

Again, we ask “why?”. Why is light morality and darkness immorality?

The Ephesians passage says of “the unfruitful works of darkness” (immorality) that we are to “expose them”. How can we expose anything that is “of darkness”? The same passage answers this question: “when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.”

The John passage reinforces this idea when it says that “people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil”.

Darkness is a cover; something under which we can conceal our shameful deeds and hide in our sin. Light, on the other hand, pierces that cover and lays bare our deeds.

Light, darkness, and vulnerability

Hence, the light makes us vulnerable. It exposes us to the possibility of being judged or harmed. It exposes the ugly, condemning parts of our lives that we want to hide.

So let me leave you with some questions until next time

  • How can something as condemning as light and vulnerability be good?
  • What is this light? Can it be defined or described in more concrete terms?
  • Do you prefer the protective cover of darkness or the vulnerability of light?

 

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4 thoughts on “Walking in the Light – a Study on Vulnerability

  1. That’s an interesting question! (Why is light good, and darkness evil.) The Bible’s pretty clear that it is from those passages though. It makes me think of Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” And It’s a really relevant topic because it seems like today’s society has things mixed up with good and evil. 😦 Or they say there is no absolute good and evil; it’s all relative to the person.

    As I was reading through I was wondering how you were going to link this to vulnerability! And that makes perfect sense! It’s vulnerable being in the light. “How can something as condemning as light and vulnerability be good?” I think when we understand Jesus as being the Light of the world it changes things. Because yes, it’s still uncomfortable to be exposed, but we know His character is one of love and mercy. He points things out to us so that He can help us overcome them, and become more like Him. He’s not going to put us through any pain that isn’t somehow for our greater good. Anyway, those are my thoughts on that question! What do you think?

    Also, I’m not sure if this is related at all, but thinking about light and darkness and the morality of each makes me think of creation.. The first thing God did was create light. I don’t know, I can’t see that fitting in, but I wonder if it does somehow. Can you see a link anywhere?

    Anyway, once again, I appreciated this post! And I look forward to more of your thoughts on this topic. 🙂

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    1. What a relevant verse! I’ve been amazed as I’ve “accidentally stumbled across” verses pertaining to light and darkness, especially when I’m not focusing on my vulnerability study. (Though I don’t actually think any of it is an accident, but rather that God has guided me there in His sovereignty) And now you share with me another fitting verse that I hadn’t considered or even been aware of! Have you been reading in Isaiah recently?

      And yes, I think the world’s standards are so mixed up, if not completely inverted. Perhaps it’s so that we can justify the fact that we naturally tend to prefer hiding under the cover of darkness? Praise God that, as born again believers, we have His Holy Spirit living inside us to fight that lingering natural tendency of the flesh!

      I agree with your thoughts about Jesus being the Light of the world. In fact, that’s exactly where I plan to go with the next post in this series. I think He reveals our hidden sins so that they can be dealt with rather than festering in the darkness (and I just thought of this right now, but it’s kind of like the way mould responds to sunshine and darkness, isn’t it?). The more I think about it, the more amazed I am at God’s design. It’s like He reveals to us layer after layer to our great astonishment.

      And yes, I had considered the account of creation. I saw no link, at first. Then it dawned on me that after God created light and called it good, He separated the light from the darkness. Perhaps this is reading into the passage more than it’s meant to be, or maybe it’s true that this is a picture of God’s redeeming, sanctifying work in our lives – that He is continuously separating the light from the darkness in our lives. What do you think? And when do you think we risk reading something into Scripture, and when is it simply pointing back to the fact that His Word is alive and active?

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      1. No, I haven’t been reading regularly in Isaiah recently, but it’s one of those books I often flip to and read a chapter.. There’s deep stuff in there I don’t understand, but somehow I still always come away with hope. I think it’s my favourite book of the Bible. 🙂 What’s your go-to book of the Bible?

        That is a perfect way to link it to creation, and I really, really like the concept that He’s continually separating light from darkness in our lives – performing His recreating work to bring us back to the image He has in mind for us.. That’s powerful. Wow, thanks for sharing your thoughts. As you can see, I agree with you. 🙂

        Hmm, that’s a good question. I think when it’s regarding personal applications of Scripture there’s less of a worry about reading things into it, than when discussing doctrines, standards, etc. I think it’s a balance really, which is best achieved by laying aside our own ideas (then we can’t read into it), and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts. I’m not saying that is how it is for me all the time though, and sometimes I hesitate about sharing some of my devotional thoughts online for this reason. I don’t want to mislead others, you know. Anyway, what do you think? How do you differentiate between inspiration from the Holy Spirit and our own interpretations?

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      2. Good question; my go-to book… Well, I’ve noticed that recently I’ve been going back to the gospel of John. I’ve been amazed to see how the different individual miracles and teachings of Jesus fit together into a whole. For example, we both read Hosanna’s post about how Jesus fed the five thousand, then later told them that he is the Bread of Life. I’d understood those as two separate occurrences (and didn’t know the dialogue extensive, dynamic dialogue between Jesus and those he spoke to). Now I understand just a bit better than before about how they fit on the timeline. Other chapters that I am often drawn to re-read are 1, 3, 10, and 14-16. I’m not so familiar with the book as a whole. Do you find that there are particular chapters in Isaiah that are a constant source of inspiration to you?

        It really helped me when you distinguished personal applications of Scripture and doctrines, standards, etc as two distinct cases. I can see why it would be wise to be more cautious about sharing those things that are more personal. Interestingly, those are the things I get most excited about sharing. They’re the things that I most often feel God making fresh to me. Do you tend to get excited about sharing those more personal applications?

        Hmm, well I think that the Holy Spirit’s inspiration will always be in line with all the rest of Scripture, while our interpretations may sometimes be aligned with the rest of Scripture and sometimes not. I think there’s some overlap – perhaps that’s just the reason why I find it hard to distinguish them sometimes.

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