The Cycle of Love and Light


While on a long flight, I found myself reading a gardening magazine left in the seatback by a passenger before me. I was drawn to the magazine because of an interesting tease on its cover about an article entitled “Five Overlooked Plants That Can Survive the Dark.” About two paragraphs into the article, the author admitted that she was going to discuss plants that would die in total darkness but could hold their own with very little light. In today’s passage, John discusses what happens in the lives of Christians who say they are living in the light but whose actions reveal they are trying to survive in the dark.

  • What kinds of things might indicate whether a person is walking in darkness or light?


Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

12 I am writing to you, little children,

because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

13 I am writing to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,

because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, children,

because you know the Father.

14 I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Although they do not, verses 7 and 8 seem as if they contain almost opposite information about old and new commandments. Re-state those two verses in your own words.
  2. The Old Testament commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). The New Testament commandment took it to another level by telling us to love as Jesus loved (John 13:34). How are these commands similar? How are they different?
  3. What does verse 10 say will be the result of loving your brother as Jesus loved? How would this keep a person from stumbling?
  4. What does verse 11 say is the result of hating a brother? Why would this cause a person to stumble?
  5. Verses 12-14 remind all of us in various positions in the family of God that to walk in the light, we need to remember who God is and what Jesus has done. Re-read the verses and be reminded that it is God, through Jesus, who allows us to abide in the light and stay on track spiritually.


This passage reminds us that that the message of God remains the same throughout the Bible. We can love because God loved us first. Further, 1 John 2:8 tells us that we are expected to love because—through the work of the cross—what was “true in [Jesus] is true in us.” Whether an infant, child, young person, or parent, abiding in the light is about truly knowing the Father and letting his word live in us.  The more we learn about God, the more we love. The more we love, the more the light shines through.  The more the light shines through, the more we can be sure we will not stumble as we take steps to learn more about God. And the cycle begins again.

  • Thank God that he first loved you.
  • Pray that wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, you would strive to live and love in the light.