WEEK THREE, DAY THREE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK THREE THEME: COMMUNITY
DAY THREE THEME: BUT THEY MIGHT BE DIFFERENT
SCRIPTURE: I JOHN 4:7-21 (CEB)
“Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how the love of God is revealed to us. God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other.
No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. We have known and have believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.
We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: This scripture couldn’t be any more clear about the behavior of Christians toward ALL people. Simply put, there is ABSOLUTELY NO ROOM for hatred toward another person as we live for God. There are no parallel states that we can abide in within the Kingdom of God – we must either aline with Christ and function as He would or we go our own way and do our own thing. If we love God, then we love all of God’s created persons – regardless. There are no qualifiers, there are no rules and regulations, there is no prerequisite. The love does not come from us, it comes from God. As God indwells our hearts, God loves and reaches and serves others through us. God does not see color or past mistakes or current controversies. God see His own children and wants to reach every one of His own and use us to do so.
As we sit around and speculate about worthiness and sin and a sinners ability to obtain worthiness…we are well entertained for a good long while and the Kingdom of God suffers. If we let go of all worldly parameters and just let God use us to reach any and all who cross our path, then we love as God loves and enhance His Kingdom. As we get lost in the efforts of reaching unity and pleasing everyone, we get distracted and the Kingdom of God suffers. We simply cannot say that we love God and then force judgment on others who do not act and do as we think they should. If God had treated us that same way, we would remain on the outside.
Because of Jesus Christ, there is no longer incompatibility. He put each person’s past mistakes and current issues were crucified on the cross with him, creating worthiness for all. We are all the same in the eyes of God – therefore, we should all be the same in the eyes of each other!
Dear God, please deliver us from our entitled ways that have us thinking that we are able to place conditions on Your love for others when we excuse ourselves from the same demands. Allow us, as Your children, the freedom to love unconditionally and not fear. Thank You that You don’t even ask or leave us to do this on our own, but that You come into our lives and do it through us. We so easily excuse our past and short comings, and welcome Your unconditional love, but then turn and disallow the same grace for others. Help us dear Father. Keep us from this horrible injustice that seperates us from You. Give us an open heart that welcomes all, allowing us to see each person as Your child and allowing that to be all that we need to know. Praise to You, Father, for helping us overcome our own selves to become Kingdom citizens who enchance your Kingdom.
Let it be so!