What's It All About?
Lord of all, Your Word is trustworthy and Your promises are sure. Today I reaffirm my trust in You.
Read 1 John 3:11-24
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Perform a love-check on yourself. What are you prepared to do to express your love for (a) family and friends, (b) fellow-believers, (c) people in need?
This passage has a “pulling threads together” feel about it: “this is the message …” (11) is balanced by “this is his command …” (23). What are the real core values of Christian faith and life, according to John?
Love is at the top of John’s list. It’s never been far from the surface, and now he makes it the essence of the “message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another” (11). He then unpacks this love in vs. 13-18: in its societal impact, this kind of love provokes opposition because it is countercultural (13); in its spiritual significance, it is the basis of our assurance that we truly have new life in Christ (14,15); in its radical newness, it holds nothing back, because it grows out of the self-giving of Christ (16); and in its down-to-earth practicality, it is expressed through action that reflects the heart of God himself (17).
Verses 19 and 20 look back to this exposition of love in vs. 14-18. In other words, there should be a period after v. 19. We “know that we belong to the truth” (19) when we are able to see, in ourselves, the beginnings of this kind of love. Our hearts may condemn us (20) because our love is nowhere near as strong as that of Jesus, but God knows the truth about us, even if we feel inadequate. And look at vs. 21 and 22. If we are truly getting close to the example of Jesus (as doubtless John himself was), then we have entered a relationship of wonderful intimacy with him, in which we will always pray for what he wants to give.
Return to your love check. How are you doing? If your heart “condemns” you, remember that God knows you better than you know yourself. Pray for grace, and rest in his love.
Lord, when it comes to loving, my words can far exceed my actions. I need Your grace daily to show authentic love to those whose lives intersect mine. Empower me to love today.
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