1 John 4:13-21

John wants us to know without a shadow of a doubt that we are in Christ, that we are saved, sealed, and will be delivered safely over to the other side. But, we must be willing to change. If not, then the love of God isn’t really in us; love of self rules supreme in our hearts.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 

Elijah heard the Voice: After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper…“What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:12-13 God has us question our motives. We are to use our minds to determine what it is that would please God the most and bring Him glory as the Spirit reveals it to us. Therefore, the more we know of His Word and His Will, the more closely we listen to His voice, the more we converse with Him throughout the day, and the more heavily we lean on Him for strength and support, knowledge and wisdom, comfort and peace, joy and love, the easier and more plain it is what would please Him. Actually, the activities described above bring Him more joy than anything we could DO FOR Him.

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 

This is John’s testimony. He was an eyewitness to the LORD and His ministry. He walked and talked with Him after His resurrection, and was a recipient of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. At this time in his life, he has walked in step with the Spirit for several decades. He KNOWS what he is talking about!!!

15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

The best test of Christianity is whether or not a person acknowledges Jesus as his LORD in his daily life. Where’s the proof? If we say we love the LORD, but do not keep his commands nor live according to His will, then, say what we want, we do NOT actually love the LORD, for He is NOT LORD of our lives. Consequently neither is He in us. Sorry. We can’t have it both ways. We must learn to RELY on His love.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 

Want to be like Jesus? Then love as He loved: With complete abandon, with no thought to Himself, with our best interest in mind, in complete unity with the Spirit and His Father. WE CAN DO IT WITH HIS SPIRIT IN US! But, we must train, and we must work. Repetition is our greatest teacher. Practice makes progress (not necessarily perfection).

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Working hand in hand with the Spirit solidifies our knowledge of His love. As we walk closely with Him, we lose our fear of the unknown, of possible pain and loss, and of death. It’s our goal, anyway.

19 We love because he first loved us. 

Jesus is the Initiator of love and our Example of love. He calls us to love as He loved. Let’s emulate Him!

20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

John steps out of the doctrinal and into the practical here. He moves from teaching to practice. The fundamental test of our love for Christ is our willingness to give up our hatred for others. Hatred shows up in many forms: Malice, arrogance, resentment, hostility, conceit, anger, hurtful words and actions, stinginess, jealousy and envy, etc. The Spirit immediately begins to help us remove these forms of hatred from our lives. Are we willing to work with Him? It’s a daily process.

Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they would sense Your presence and participation as You transform them into Christ-likeness. May they give themselves completely over to You today. May they be categorically committed to You, devoted to Your Way, and fully persuaded that You are worth following. May their lives be simply a shifting and sorting of priorities, a trading of their life, will, agenda, schedule, hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations, desires, goals, pleasures, mind, attitude, thoughts and personality for Yours. Me, too. Amen.

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