Love Defines Us

Week-2, Day-3 of Choosing God Instead Of The World, A Love God Greatly Study
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:18-24 (SOAP: 23-24)
Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment. 24 And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us. 1 John 3:23-24
Jacob’s story ….

Our focus will be on 1 John 3:18-24 and letting our love define us, but first let’s look at a few observation’s from Jacob’s continuing saga. I particularly love the opening line, “Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining …” For me these pop off the page as fingerprints of God. I often ask God, at the beginning of the day, to let me hear what He wants me to hear and to guard me from the thins I should not or do not need to hear. I believe he often allows us to hear things for a reason – which seems to be the case with Jacob, as it set in motion his return to his homeland. The passage is a tad long but I encourage you to read it. I know you won’t want to miss the drama stirred up by Rachel stealing from her father, Jacob deceiving Laban, the hot pursuit that followed, anger, and a heated argument, and the six ways God intervened, guided, and protected to ensure that all things worked together for the good of those who loved Him, those who were called according to His purpose.

Our Focus …

John writes instructions, in the first part of this particular letter, about being lights in the world. In the second portion he focuses on following the commandments of God, and here in the third part, while he continues to touch on keeping His commandments he also zeroes in on letting love define their behavior – both in “deed and truth”. The sincerity of our love can be expressed in words but it is seen and experienced through our actions. Jesus said it like this, “love each other, just as I have loved you, you should love one another.” John goes on to say that we will know that we are of the truth when we love in this way. I believe Paul said something similar that makes it even clearer when he told those in Rome to not make a pretense of love (don’t just say that you love) but truly love. He followed that with “hate what is evil, hold tightly to what is good.” When we make this choice and love is evident in us – we not only have assurance that we belong to Christ but both God and others will know that we are abiding in Christ.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”

If you love Me, you will obey my commandments.

Romans 12:9 NLT; John 13:34-35 NET; John 14:15 NET

Ok, so I chased a few ‘Scripture squirrels’ on my way to verses 23 and 24, but I think they will help us in our understanding of the His commandment to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and love one another – just as He commanded. Verse 24 is my favorite of the passage though, as it is even more reason for the confidence that we are in God and He is in us! When we hold tightly to this truth we will not be shaken, we will more likely choose God instead of the world, as the old song says – they (the world) will know that we are Christians by our love and we will bring God the glory He is due.

Application: How Then Should We Live?

Believe in (trust in) the name of Jesus tops the list here in 1 John 3:23 – and rightly so as it is the basis of our relationship with the Godhead and the only way we will truly love others – which is the second part of the commands listed by John. This part seems to be a reference to Jesus’s words in John 13:34, where He said to love others as He has loved us. The third application may be a bit obscure but I believe we are taught here to walk in confidence that we are His and have His Spirit in us.

Prayer: Response to God’s Word

Father, You have loved us in deed and in TRUTH – giving Your Son to die for us. Help us to love in this manner – as You have commanded. Help us to live by the Spirit You have given us – who enables us to love You with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength – and to love others as ourselves. When we love like this You will know that we love You, others will know that we love You, and we will know that “we are of the TRUTH”. Love truly does define us as Yours, God – even as Your love gives us confidence that You are our God! – May all the honor and glory be Yours as we display this love to the world around us in deed and in truth – AMEN!

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