Our walk with the Lord is a process…a long, sometimes difficult passage, from what we once were, to what we are becoming. But what happens many times, we end up feeling stuck in the middle of our old and new self. So that’s when it’s time to take inventory. Turn around and take a critical view of your old self…not a pretty picture, right? Now, ponder where your life is today with the Lord’s help. It’s nothing short of a miracle in how you have grown in the knowledge of God…and with that knowledge, how you have been changed. None of us will every be able to say, “I’ve arrived!” when it comes to the full knowledge of God…but as long as we continually strive for more of Him in our lives…we’ll be making headway.
The world doesn’t talk about sin as such. To them, sin is an archaic word. They’d rather shape the idea of sin into a palatable and more tolerable commodity that people will just accept without question. I found an interesting quote about this. The world says, ” My right is my duty.” The Christian says, “My duty is my right.” The question here being – what is your focus…putting yourself before others… or putting others before yourself? This is where sin and truth collide…it’s where the world deceives us into thinking sin isn’t that big of a deal…but truth tells us we need to come out from under the cloud of lies and self-indulgence and repent.
The Apostle John was warning of false teachers infiltrating the early Church with their deceptive ideas…for they were denying the key fundamentals of Christianity…that Jesus Christ came to earth taking on human flesh – that He was all man and all God. He also warned of their denial of the resurrection – that Jesus was crucified, buried, but rose to life on the third day. So why should we be so surprised today when we hear preaching that just don’t sit well with us. Those same false teachers are alive and well and preaching a “type” of Jesus to the masses. But this corrupted concept of Jesus isn’t true, and doesn’t line up with the Word of God. And if we’d look at the many religions around the world, we’d see many that deny Jesus and His deity all together. But as John explains…the litmus test is simple. Test everything you hear against the Word of God… evaluate for yourself to determine the truth… Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit within.
As it tells us in Romans 8:34, at this very moment, Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. Jesus is our advocate…one who comes forward on behalf and as the representative for another. He is then also our intercessor and substitute…standing in our place before God…intervening in our defense. We have no greater advocate than Jesus…no greater champion and friend.
Today, this Scripture would be my prayer for you…no matter where you are in your walk with the Lord. I ask that God’s grace and peace…His unearned and unmerited favor, would be lavished on you, and that you would come to realize just how much He loves you. Great word lavish! It speaks of profusion, extravagance, and of showering down abundantly. It’s used in I John 3:1, where it states, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” I pray that you would experience that abundant love for yourself today.
John was so concerned about the early Church being deceived by false teachers that he repeated this warning later on in his letter…for he wrote in Chapter 3:7 of I John, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Any teaching that denies Jesus Christ is God incarnate…and any teaching that places any thing or person above Him is fraudulent. With cunning and wiliness false teachers will speak of a “type” of Jesus, but if you listen carefully, it’s a corrupt version and not the truth. So how can you know you’re not being lead down the path of destruction? Without the firm foundation of the truth of God found in the Bible, we can all be easily duped and mislead. Open the Bible…read the truth…allow it to formulate the basis of your belief system. For when you have the truth within…no one will be able to lead you astray.
To quote I John 3:13, “Don’t be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.” And we shouldn’t as evil abounds in the world and the boundaries between right and wrong become blurred. We shouldn’t be surprised when our Christian walk is met with opposition…or we are attacked for trying to do what’s right…or we are accused of not being “politically correct and inclusive” in our thinking. Those who repay evil for good will always be around, so don’t be surprised…for it’s your reaction to hatred that really counts. Jesus encountered many haters and those who disagreed with Him…but Jesus chose to never be disagreeable or nasty back.
I love nightlights! I’ll admit I have at least 8 spread throughout the house, casting their subtle radiance so I won’t trip and fall in the dark. God’s truth is like a nightlight into our darkness…showing us His way so we won’t stumble. But when we choose to not live by the light of His truth, we are easily deceived and blinded by lies that only foster hatred and distrust against our fellow-man. When we love one another, the light of God’s truth illuminates situations, obstacles, and personalities for what they really are…exposing hurting hearts and revealing with honesty how we’re more alike than different.
Without hesitation I know you’d answer a resounding “Yes!” to my question of whether you’d die for your spouse or children. But if we look closely at this verse, we’re not being asked to do that. Rather, we’re being directed to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians . OK wait, you want me to sacrifice for who? My family is one thing, but a neighbor or friend or somebody I hardly know at Church…I don’t know if I can do that. But when Jesus died on that Cross He didn’t pick and choose who He was dying for…He died for all. In John 10:11 it says, ” I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” To love one another with the Agape love that Christ first showed us is to be willing to be poured out like a drink offering for our brothers…regardless of who they are.
To move towards loving one another…we must move away from empty meaningless words and move towards words and actions that are rooted in sincerity. So, how’s your follow-through? Are you real good at promising things, but then lack the commitment to carry them out? Romans 12:9 tells us, “Love must be sincere…” When your word is your bond, your actions are dependable and genuine…and the integrity of your character will never be questioned. When your actions follow your words…the love of Christ is carried out and on display for all to see.