Monday, December 10, 2012

Book of 1 John

Life Project 1st John
Candice Roberts

I was first introduced to 1st John in the 80's. There is a song I
used to sing in church that went something like this:
"Beloved, let us love one another
For love is of God and everyone that loveth
Is born of God, and knoweth God
He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love Beloved, let
us love one another
First John 4:7 and 8."
It has a really catchy tune, in the vein of Kumbaya, and is taken
right out of scripture. And yes, we did sing the location of the
verse. The version is King James of course which explains all the
"eths". But this catchy song summarized my knowledge of 1st
John. And to be honest, it is a pretty good summary.
John talks a lot, and i mean A LOT about love. John basically tells
us that in order to know God and to live in him means we must
obey, and to obey is to display Christlike love. As Gary Barge
says in his commentary on the letters of John,"Love becomes a
genuine value only when it is tested, only when we must reach
beyond ourselves and love someone we do not wish to love. This
is the caliber of love John had in mind."
Now can I just tell you that it is easy to be congenial to the
unloveable. Easy to be friendly, pleasant, sociable, kind even. But
it is another thing entirely to love someone. I know what it means
to love. I love my kids. And it is work, as cute as they are. Loving
my children requires sacrifice, giving of myself, making myself
vulnerable. It requires middle of the night, wake me from a dead
sleep comforting of a scared child. It requires listening to endless
tales of injustice and responding with empathy. It requires choir
concerts in hot crowded rooms, award ceremonies in the middle
of my day, carpools, tears wiped, boo boos kissed, spelling words
practiced. Love is full time. Sometimes love hurts. Most of the
time love is inconvenient. All of the time love costs, but they are
my children so I am willing to pay the price.
But am I willing to love the unloveable? I better be. John is
reminiscent of Jesus is that he calls us to love others as
ourselves. Our Lord himself said this was the second greatest
commandment just behind loving God. So I don't see as a have a
really big choice. If I want to please God I must love others, love
my neighbor as myself, love my enemy. Uggghhhh!! Did anyone
else just realize how unlovely they were? I don't want to love my
enemy!! I don't want to love most people. I want to love who I
want to love. But that is not a Christlike kind of love. (Again we
are talking love here, not exchanging pleasantries.)
So how do I do this thing called love that is so foreign to who I
am?? It's a simple solution. Galatians 5 "the fruit of the Spirit is
love....." it is God who produces the fruit of love in us. We are not
capable of the type of love we have been called to; which does
not excuse us from any responsibility. Good fruit can only grow in
a particular type of soil. We are responsible for our soil. Are we
keeping it soft by spending time with our Lord? Are we pulling up
the weeds of sin as quickly as they grow? Are we watering the soil
with the Word and time spent in prayer? If so, then the Spirit will
cultivate fruit in our lives. And one of those fruits will be love.
Before long we will all be loving each other, arm in arm, swaying
in the breeze, and singing Kumbaya. I can't wait!!

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