June 20 - 1 John 3:21-24. Confidence.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 20 - 1 John 3:21-24. Confidence.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Can you imagine what you relationship with God would look like if you always had a clear conscience? John is pretty clear that because (not if) we keep his commands and do what pleases him, we have that relationship.

When Jesus was asked what the great commandment was, he responded by saying that it was to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  And the second command was to love your neighbor as yourself.

Those two commands from Jesus transform the way we look at the world.

If we love God with everything we have … we won’t choose to do things that harm that relationship.  We won’t need the ‘thou shalt nots,’ because we choose to act positively.  We will love him and because of that love, we will choose to obey Him.  Right?

And if we love God with everything we have … we will also choose to love those around us – without question, without limitation.

Both of these concepts can sometimes seem much too difficult for us to accomplish.  We are human and we cannot stop our sinful behavior … even if it is something as seemingly inconsequential as gossip or feeling that we are better than another person.  We just can’t seem to set it all aside, no matter how hard we try.

And as for the second command, let me tell you, there are people out there who have made me so angry, I can not imagine ever loving them.

But, John reminds us that we don’t have to do any of this on our own. The Spirit has been given to us to guide us … to remind us … to challenge us … to convict us … and to help us love without question, without limitation.  We can have confidence because of the Spirit that is within us.