Posts Tagged 1 John 3: 16

The Word of the Day

John 1: 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It all began with the Word as all epic quests must. The Word is the power, the beginning and the end. If you are going to undertake any grand project may I recommend that you take a page from God’s playbook? Begin with the Word.     

When God initiated His immense project of creating and populating the earth, He began with the Word. The Word was with Him in the beginning and it was through that Word that everything that was created came into being. Salvation began with the Word also since Jesus is the Word. Thus the Word saved us from eternal hell. Healing begins with the Word. “He sent His Word and healed them” (Psalm 107: 20). Everything begins with the Word.

In my dialogue with God this morning He asked me what the Word means to me. “Well,” I said, “it is salvation and mercy and grace and life and ….” Even as I answered though, I could feel that I wasn’t expressing what it really means to me. You see, when I need to reach God I usually meet Him over the Word the way the priests of old used to meet Him over the mercy seat. I heard the father speak to me. “Don’t answer with your mind. Tell me what is in your heart about the Word.” I stopped and regarded my heart and it took only a moment for this one Word to well up within me. “Love. The Word is love.” Today’s verse tells us that the Word is God and we know from 1 John 4: 8 that God is love. Therefore, the Word is love. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3: 16). So it seems that love is the Word and the Word was sent to us to heal us, save us, redeem, restore and help us. Everything that God is, everything that He wants to do for us is embodied in the Word. That is why the Word is so powerful. It is the power of God in the person of Jesus, our Lord and savior.

It grieves me to see the Word given so little attention at times. Christians and even ministers are not clinging to it as we ought even though our destiny is to be wedded to the Word. How is Jesus to come for his bride when we love not His incarnation in and through the Word? We are abandoning our love and as we do we forsake the blessing and authority that is its substance. If you have not given the Word a prominent space in your life then you are depriving yourself of the victory which is the meat of the Word. Our blessed Father is sending His love to us through His Word. He transmits everything we need through the Word which is alive and came into the earth to save us all. You cannot separate Jesus from the Word. Any attempt to do so results in our disabling the power of Jesus in our lives.

Whatever you do, whatever you are given to do, whether the task be gigantic or commonplace, begin it all with the Word. It is the grace for success in your job, business, marriage, relationships with your children, and every other aspect of life. One word from God can (and will) change your life forever. Get into the book and let God speak His words of encouragement and affection to you. Open your heart and let Him speak His Word directly into your heart. It is with your heart that you first accepted the Word, Jesus, into your life unto salvation. Now let Him speak a new word into your life. Whatever you need, He is right there with the Word to bring it to pass. Be blessed; be filled, in the name of Jesus, our Lord.

Christ’s Disciple

John 13: 34 – 35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

This is a familiar bit of scripture. It is called the new commandment, the one commandment, or the love commandment. It is another thing too. It is the entire discipleship class. Or let us say it is the answer to the final exam. If you love one another, if you demonstrate the Jesus kind of love for one another, then you have passed the discipleship class. 

Much is written about discipleship and many churches even offer discipleship classes. It seems to me that Jesus offered a discipleship class too; it was the observance of his life, of course, but he sums up the whole thing with one little sentence. It all boils down to love. I sure wish he had said the evidence of a true disciple is faithfulness, diligence or perseverance in the faith, but he didn’t. The only way anyone will identify me as a disciple of Christ is if they see the love of God issuing from me. The apostle Paul said that without love, anything else, everything else is meaningless (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3). He got it. He understood Jesus’ message.

Stating it a different way would simply be to say that Christianity is: “loving one another as Jesus loves us.” That’s it. You can take every book on theology ever written and boil it down to that one sentence. There is your entire thesis in one sentence. I wish it was as easy to live it as to say it. 

The Apostle John said it this way, “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” (1 John 4: 20 NIV). In other words, if I do not love my brother, then I am not a disciple of Christ. To be more accurate though, Jesus said that we must love one another as he loves us. That is to say, if I do not love others as Jesus loves us then I am no disciple of his; not a follower of the way (Jesus); not even really a Christian which means one who follows Christ.

What kind of love is this then? “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3: 16).  It is a sacrificial love. It is others centered, putting the needs of others above my wishes. That is a tall bill to fill and I cannot do it in my own strength. In fact, it is in the surrender of my strength that I can do all things. But guess what, Jesus couldn’t do it in his own strength either. That is why he sweated blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. None of us can do what God has called us to do in our own strength that is why God empowered us through His abiding presence living inside of us. We must live through the presence of God in our hearts. Jesus allowed the father’s compassion to flow through him. We don’t have to be super heroes. We just have to allow our abiding in Christ and his dwelling in us to be expressed. We learn to let go of our desperate grasp and to let God flow out of our inner being. It is a hard thing to do when we are still wedded to our flesh but as we learn to live out of our spirits we will find it increasingly easy and joyful. When Jesus told us to live this way it was because he had a revelation from God that we could. His early disciples did and we can too. As we are transformed through the renewing of our minds we discover a radical trust of God inside of us and that trust empowers us to let go and live beyond the means of mortal man. We will soar on wings as eagles and nothing, by any means, shall be impossible to us. It is the power of love.