DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-11-18
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 4:7-8; 20-21
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)
BIBLE TEXT: 7 Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better. 8 But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love.
20 If anyone says “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen? 21 And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.
OBSERVATION: There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?
APPLICATION: In learning from the perfect Savior, our conscience is severely impacted when we choose to stray away from His teachings and practices, and follow our old habits and way of life. John teaches that the very nature of God is ‘love’. In fact the word ‘Love’ is a name that our God is known by, for the Bible teaches that God is love. So what might be wrong with the picture where a ‘Christian’ – a child of God saved thru acceptance of His precious Son, acts like the devil and hates like him too? How would that picture fit into our Scripture teaching today? It would be classified as one described by John in verse 8 – he doesn’t know God; or in verse 20 – he is a liar by claiming his sonship with Jesus Christ. So what might it look like if we were to love like Jesus? Remember, He met with sinners – people that were looked down on by his very disciples. On the contrary, don’t we tend to mix with people just like us, and often in line with our income range? Don’t we tend to stay on our side of town and away from the poor, hungry and destitute? Remember, Jesus stopped a parade where He was being honored, so that He could meet a lame man sitting along the path of the parade. On the contrary, don’t we tend to ignore the poor man begging for food or money at the very corner where we must stop for a red light? Don’t we drive speedily along, even if a poor man is limping along a lonely road? Dear friends, if we are truly going to love like Jesus, wouldn’t we imitate those noble acts like Bible writers shared with us about Jesus? John felt so strongly about this that he wanted us to question our relationship with Jesus if we are not loving others like He did. So if we know Him, and we learn from Him as we study His Word, won’t we love like Him? Won’t we act like Him? Won’t we care for others like He did – even if it’s in an area of town where we were warned to stay away from? Even if it’s the dirty old man who sits by the road and beg? Even if it’s the lady that spread lies about you to everyone at work, or to all your close friends? Surely it’s time for us to use the Word of God to speak truth into our lives. Let it wash us from the habits we developed from our time in the world, and direct our path to imitate Jesus. Oh that we would be guided by our Master to live and love just like Him!
PRAYER: Loving Jesus, You are all-knowing, so I’m sure that You must hurt when You see all that Your kids are doing here on earth. We are led way too easily by the life we used to live, and without ever minding the impact that Your life, Your love and Your perfect ways have had on us. Many are studying Your Word, so being constantly reminded of Your love and Your character, yet we hate; we despise our neighbors because they believe differently on certain aspects of life; we pass by hungry and destitute people and depend on the other person to help them; we are afraid to get our hands dirty, even if it means helping a shut-in or a helpless elderly person. Lord, we are a ’sorry’ people, and we desperately need You, the only perfect One, to embed into us righteousness and grace so that we may look more like Jesus in the eyes of the one who never met You. May You be glorified because of the difference You make in our lives precious Lord. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!