Sunday 2 December, 2018

1 John 4:7-12

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

“God is love” must be one of the most quoted bits of the Bible (22.3 million results from searching for it on Google), mostly without the rest of the verse.

It’s often used to suggest that God will have to accept me no matter what garbage and sin I fill my life with. It’s often used as a rebuke to God for not fixing the world in the ways I would like. But the emphasis here is not on what God should or shouldn’t do, but on what I should be doing. (He’s already done more than enough to show his love, and Jesus’ sacrifice is the clearest statement of all.)

It’s true that love is a fundamental defining characteristic of God, and realization of this is a key to understanding so much of what he says and does. But John’s saying here that it’s also a key to understanding myself.

If love doesn’t become a defining characteristic of my life too, then I don’t know him. If I don’t take hold of love and make it who I am, I’m not letting go of the sin that Jesus sacrifice was to take away and it remains who I am. If I refuse to love, I refuse to let God live in me.

Jesus, I choose your love for me. I choose to make it part of me. I choose to have you live your life and your love in me.

Written by David Cornell

[comments closed]

Saturday 1 December, 2018

1 John 4:1-6

4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

This passage is a call to counterculture. It shouldn’t, but always surprises me when the world does not understand Jesus and what he came to do. We are called to be true to the Holy Spirit and wise to the difference between belonging to God and belonging to the world.

Being countercultural requires us to be wise and discerning, not blindly accepting things based on popularity or trends. It is essential because the way we think will dictate our actions, and reveal our heart. It all starts and ends with Jesus. If what I believe about who he is and why he came aren’t correct then it will be easy to get drawn into false teaching. We need to acknowledge that as believers we will think differently about things to the rest of the world. I want to make sure I live lovingly but fearlessly, unafraid to believe differently to the world.

Father help me to be true to the call you have placed on my life. Give me discernment to test the way I think and beliefs of others. Thank you Jesus for all you have done for me. In Jesus name. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

[comments closed]