1, 2 & 3 John • Day 237 of 260 • #NTin2018
We are all wired with different personalities perfectly instilled in us by our Creator. I happen to me more on the wordy/studying/academic side and less on the emotional/carefree/feeling side (I’m as boring as I sound!). I’m not sure if it is my personality or if everyone wonders these things, but I sometimes ask myself, “How do I know if I believe what I say I believe? How do I know if I really love Jesus vs. loving to study about Jesus? How do I know if I am placing Him in the proper place of Lord of my life?” Anyone else? The academic side tends to come more easily than the heart side. But I know head knowledge means nothing if it doesn’t penetrate our hearts and then flow out through our hands and feet.
John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John) have a lot to say about what it looks like to truly be sold out for Jesus. Here are a few litmus tests courtesy of John…
If we truly know Jesus, we will obey His commandments. We will do what He says. We won’t just read about it and study it and write about it…we will DO IT.
If we are in Jesus, we will walk in the same way in which He walked. We will want to live our life like He did. In obedience, submission, humility, with peace and love, staying on task instead of arguing with every naysayer and antagonist.
If we love Jesus, we will love other people. John says if we hate a brother, we aren’t in the light...we are still in darkness.
If we love the world more than Jesus, the love of the Father is not in us. John goes on to describe what the “love of the world” is…desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, pride of life. When we want things because they look good, make us feel good, or elevate us personally, we are probably on the wrong track.
John further describes what love looks like…laying down our life for our brothers. And if we have the world’s goods and see a brother in need, but close our heart against him, God’s love does not abide in us. Those things Jesus said about loving others....He meant it! We are to love not in word or talk, but in deed and truth.
None of these things save us...only the blood of Jesus does that. But these things do demonstrate our love and commitment to follow Him while we wait for His return to take us home.
John acknowledges that it will be hard. That we shouldn’t be surprised if the world hates us and there will be many false prophets out there preaching a different way to live. He says we should test the spirits to make sure they are from God. And this is how we will know: if they confess Jesus Christ has come and is from God. Any other voice, no mater how slick and seemingly wise and sophisticated it seems…if it doesn’t confess Jesus, it is not from God.
John closes his first letter, “Little children, keep yourself from idols.” They trip is up, get us off track, and shift our focus away from God. Idols are anything that take first place over God. They can be things, people, experiences, approval seeking, etc. Kyle Idleman says, “The one thing that we are most reluctant to give up has the most potential to become a substitute for Him.” What are we chasing? Idols or God? God doesn’t settle for second place.
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