Some people reason the Christian life as — "What's the minimum I have to do and what's the maximum I can get away with?" Most of those same people would never say it that way, but they’re thinking that way from time to time. The real challenge is to think the opposite way — How can I maximize my relationship with God, and how can I minimize my sinful behavior?
A relationship with God is compared to "living in the light." This association includes knowing where you stand with God, knowing that you are forgiven, knowing that your prayers are being heard, knowing that you have the power to overcome temptation, knowing that God is with you. Simply put you must come to grips with your sin. Therein lies the problem. Many are reluctant or indifferent to see they need God to forgive them of anything. This attitude prevents them from experiencing God’s forgiveness.
God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all…If we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth…If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts…But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 5, 7-8, 10, 9). In these verses John is talking about sin, as in our sinful nature and sin, as our sinful behavior. We must come to grips with both. "Coming to grips" is called confession. Confession is pivotal to living in the light.
Confession is coming to grips with your sin and admitting it to God. Confess means "to agree." The word is homologeo — it means literally "to say the same thing." Confession is saying the same thing about your behavior that God says about it. Confession means that you stop deluding yourself, you stop excusing yourself, you stop justifying yourself — and you come clean about who you are.
Not seeking forgiveness is the obstacle to living in the light—our unwillingness to face our sinfulness. It may be one reason the entire world is falling apart because nobody will admit they are wrong. When you ask God to forgive you, you are willing to own your own part of the world’s mess.
We say to God, "I will pray certain prayers. I will sing certain songs. I'll show up Sunday and try to be good—but there's no way you're going to get me to admit that I'm not just a little bit better than everyone else. There's no way you're going to get me to admit that my wife is not responsible for most of my problems. There's no way you're going to get me to admit that maybe I short-change my boss." That attitude — I'll pay the fine but I'll admit no wrong-doing — keeps us outside a dynamic relationship with God. If you want to live in the light, take a long hard look at yourself. See yourself as God sees you. Come to grips with who you are and what you've done.