The Seduction of the Middle

January 8, 2019
By Elaine Friedrich

In partnership with Seedbed, Mt. Bethel brings you the Seedbed Daily Text:  a study on 1 John.

1 John 1:5–7

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out 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, purifies us from all sin.

 CONSIDER THIS

John shoots straight. We need that in times like these. Light or darkness. Truth or lies. Fellowship or isolation. I appreciate the simplicity of these binary terms. We live in an age that hungers for a third option, a middle way, an in-between place.

No one wants darkness, but we will readily settle for less than pure light. It results in dimness. No one wants lies, but we will willingly accept something for less than pure truth. It results in the confusion of compromise. No one wants isolation, but we will graciously make do with less-than-real relationships. It results in crowdsourced anonymity.

Cutting to the chase: we want our relationship with God to be independent of our relationships with other people. We also want it to be defined more by the quantity of our quiet times than the quality of our relationships.

John will not have it. We want to believe a living relationship with God is possible while our relationships with other people languish. Perhaps the biggest misconception we have is that our relationship with God will determine our relationships with other people. It’s just the opposite. If you want to know what kind of fellowship I have with God, examine my relationships with other people.

If I do not have fellowship with, say, my wife, I am not walking in the light. The extent to which I am willing to ignore the problem is the extent to which I am willing to live isolated in the dimly lit shadows of half-truths. What is a shadow but a shade from darkness? What is a half-truth but a lie by another name? Something deep within the human condition doesn’t want black or white. We crave fifty shades of gray.

Thank God for John, who loves us too much to leave us in the comfortable death trap of neither here nor there, in the lukewarm water of somewhere in between.

John shoots straight. We need that in times like these.

THE PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank you for inspiring these un-minced words from John. Reveal to me the mushy, undefined middle places in my life. In particular, turn your searchlight onto my relationships. Show me where I need to make amends. Come, Holy Spirit, and show me the way to walk in the Light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTION

What relationships in your life are compromised or broken at present? What might this be telling you about your relationship with God?

P.S. The Daily Text is written by John David “J.D.” Walt, who is the Sower in Chief of Seedbed, a twenty first century publishing, media, and movement platform. Learn more at Seedbed.com