It isn’t easy being human in a broken world. Never has that felt more true for this generation than in 2020.
I was encouraged to discover a letter from the apostle John to believers in Jesus, intended to encourage us (1 John 5). In it John outlines in specific detail the benefits accorded to those who accept and live into the truth that Jesus is the Christ, born of God. This isn’t a list designed to cajole nonbelievers into belief; rather, it is intended to remind those who claim faith in Jesus of the new life they’ve been given. It’s an invitation to more abundant living.
John writes that as a follower of Jesus you will:
- Live a Good Life. When we love God we seek to keep his commands. Unlike the commands of earthly rulers, God’s commands are not burdensome; to the contrary, they are created for our benefit, to help us live more joyful, fulfilling lives.
- Overcome the World! It sounds lofty, but John says “only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” overcomes the world.
- KNOW that you have eternal life. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Do you know? Do you live into that assurance? Does your life reflect your confidence in this amazing truth?
- Have Confidence when Approaching God in Prayer. As a young believer I considered this a cop out for when prayer didn’t work: If your prayer is consistent with God’s will, he will answer. But if prayer is one of the ways we communicate with God, and if God’s will is perfect and he is indeed working all things for our good; then it follows that as we pray and seek God our hearts become more aligned with his and, as John says, we then know that whatever we ask for, we have.
- Be Free from Habitual Sin. It would be great if as believers we actually stopped sinning. Our sinfulness is one of the reasons nonbelievers reject faith in Jesus. But John makes a key distinction. When we put our faith in Jesus we are freed from the type of sin that leads to death. While we all fall prey to sin now and again, “Anyone born of God does not continue to sin.” Loving and pursuing God is the opposite of sin, so if we are living a life of faith, sin will weigh on us and God’s kindness will lead us to repentance.
- Have the Lord’s Protection from the Evil One. I love the power in this. John says God keeps us safe and the evil one cannot harm us. In John 18:9 Jesus himself asserts, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”
- Discern Truth in a Deceptive World. John affirms that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” As daunting as this is, belief in Jesus anchors us in the true north. To know Jesus is to know the One who is truth. What a comfort and rock in a topsy turvy world.
I might believe in the Redeemer if his followers looked more redeemed.Frederick Nietzsche
Which of these beautiful gifts have you claimed and do you desire to thank God for this day?
Which do you need to ask God to open your hearts and hands to more fully and joyfully receive?
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.John 14:13