Week 12: Really Loving God!
(1 John 4:20-5:3)
Our twelfth week of daily devotions in the Book of First John center on the John’s discourse on resisting the world. You’re going to need your Bible and I’ve provided the Study Notes on this website that you can either bookmark, or print. Be sure to scroll down to the notes outlining and commenting on the 1 John 4:20-5:3. Or you may want to download the word document: 1jn4.20-5.3ann I hope this helps those of you who are committed to journaling this year.
Tuesday: 1 John 4:20-5:3: Love from a Distance
There is something I always want to know about Christians I’m considering trusting my life with—those I’m going to partner with in ministry or those I’m going to share my heart with. I ask a few questions up front to try to determine if this is the type of person I can trust:
Who are your lifelong friends?
Tell me about your relationship with your grown children?
What are your feelings toward Christians you have worked with before or served with in a local church?
How close are you to your neighbors?
How about the people you work with? Your boss? Your coworkers?
What am I looking for?
I’m trying to ascertain this person’s ability to love up-close and personal because distant love is always a shallow, undependable love.
This seems to be John’s point in 1 John 4:20. Christians who claim to love God while hating His children are lying. They falsely conclude that they can love God who is distant even though they have concluded that some of His children here on earth are not worthy of their love.
“No,” says John, “love for the unseen God will find expression in love for the brethren.” True love is an up-close type of love. It doesn’t abandon the relationship when intimacy reveals faults or shortcomings. These people think that they love god because they cannot see Him and are able to fool themselves into thinking that He will never disagree with them or seem to disappoint them. But His children, who they “see”, do not deserve their love.
Some “Love” Can’t Be Trusted
This is a self-centered and infantile love that can never be trusted, my friend.
When you meet that Christians who has a long history of friends, groups, and churches that “have let them down” all the warning lights of your heart should flash bright red! This is a person who thinks that love is conditional, that your role in life is to make them happy to earn and keep their love. To agree with them, to defend them, to be there for them.
Guard your heart against that person for you will be the next in line to disappoint them because you are human. Then, you will become a part of their “sad story” of how others have failed them
This is not a person to give your heart to.
Know Anyone Like That?
Are you in a relationship like this right now? I suspect that many of you reading this sentence are involved with someone who has defined the friendship by you making him or her happy. I’m not telling you not to love this person but to love them well by telling them the truth and risking loss.
One more question. Please be honest.
Does this sound like you? Are you the kind of Christian who loves to tell the story about how other Christians, pastors, family members, churches, or groups of Christians have hurt you and let you down? Could it be that the pattern has more to do with you than it does with them?
I think it does!
Ask the Lord; He will tell you if your claim to love Him is a lie because you are not loving His children.